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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

North America leads the way in Big Data, besting other regions when it comes to investing, according to a new market survey by Gartner. The research firm found that while Big Data experienced international growth last year, North America led with a 9.2 percent jump in the past year.

The survey also found that 73 percent of organizations have either already invested or plan to do so in the next two years. That’s another significant increase over 2013, when the number was 64 percent.

By comparison, InsideBigData quotes IDG’s 2014 Enterprise Big Data report, which showed lower numbers. IDG found that 49 percent were already in the process of implementing Big Data projects or in the process of doing so in the future.

That begs the question: Who are these Gartner respondents that are so gung-ho on Big Data? Well, if you’re familiar with Gartner, you know its clients tend to be established enterprises and larger government agencies, more so than, say, small businesses or startups. In this case, the survey responses came from 302 Gartner Research Circle members, who are “the voice of selected business decision makers,” according to this.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/big-data-is-bigger-in-north-america.html

America’s PrepareAthon! Campaign Offers Simple, Specific Actions Americans Should Know and Practice to Prepare For a Disaster in their Community

WASHINGTON – Today, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) encourages individuals, families, workplaces, schools and organizations across the nation to take part in America’s PrepareAthon!, a national day of action that will take place September 30.  America’s PrepareAthon! is a community-based campaign to increase emergency preparedness and resilience through participation in hazard-specific drills, group discussions and exercises every fall and spring.  To register, individuals and organizations can visit www.ready.gov/prepare.

According to a recent survey conducted by FEMA, 50 percent of Americans have not discussed or developed an emergency plan for family members about where to go and what to do in the event of a local disaster. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of Americans have not participated in a preparedness drill or exercise, aside from a fire drill at their workplace, school or home in the past two years.

 “Disasters can strike anytime and anywhere,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “America’s PrepareAthon! is about practicing what to do in an emergency with enough regularity so that it becomes second nature when the real disaster actually happens.”

To encourage more Americans to prepare and practice, the campaign offers easy-to-implement preparedness guides, checklists and resources.  These tools help individuals, organizations and entire communities practice the simple, specific actions they can take for the emergencies disasters relevant to their area. Examples include:

  1. Sign up for local text alerts and warnings and download weather apps to your smartphone. Stay aware of worsening weather conditions. Visit www.ready.gov/prepare and download Be Smart: Know Your Alerts and Warnings to learn how to search for local alerts and weather apps relevant for hazards that affect your area.
  2. Gather important documents and keep them in a safe place. Have all of your personal, medical, and legal papers in one place, so you can evacuate without worrying about gathering your family’s critical documents at the last minute. Visit www.ready.gov/prepare and download Be Smart: Protect Your Critical Documents and Valuables for a helpful checklist.
  3. Create an emergency supply kit. Bad weather can become dangerous very quickly. Be prepared by creating an emergency supply kit for each member of your family. Visit www.ready.gov/kit for more ideas of what to include in your kit.
  4. Develop an emergency communication plan for your family. It’s possible that your family will be in different locations when a disaster strikes. Come up with a plan so everyone knows how to reach each other and get back together if separated. Visit http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan for communication plan resources.

Managed and sponsored by the Ready Campaign each September, National Preparedness Month is designed to raise awareness and encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, organizations, businesses and places of worship, culminating with the National Day of Action.  America’s PrepareAthon! was established to provide a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness as directed in Presidential Policy Directive-8.  The campaign is coordinated by FEMA in collaboration with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations.

More information about America’s PrepareAthon!, including how to register, is available at ready.gov/prepare.

EATONTOWN, NJ -- Nearly two years after Hurricane Sandy, communities around New Jersey are still recovering from the damages inflicted by that historic storm.

The cost of cleaning up debris, clearing waterways and roads, repairing damaged sewer systems and other critical infrastructure, and rebuilding homes and businesses assaulted by wind and water is well into the tens of billions of dollars.

The idea that a storm like Sandy could happen again isn’t one we want to contemplate. But the fact is, not only could it happen again, chances are good that it will.

It’s just a matter of time.

The good news is that it’s possible to take steps now to reduce your community’s vulnerability to flooding and strengthen its resilience before another Sandy comes to town.

One way to accomplish that is to participate in the Community Rating System, a hazard mitigation program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The goals of the CRS program are to reduce losses caused by flooding, facilitate accurate insurance ratings and promote awareness about flood insurance.

Residents of towns that participate in CRS pay reduced flood insurance premiums. The premiums are discounted in five percent increments based on the level of flood protection each community has achieved.

Communities raise their CRS rating via their achievements in four categories: Information, Mapping and Regulations, Flood Damage Reduction, and Flood Preparedness.

Sixty-one communities and the Meadowlands area in New Jersey are presently enrolled in the CRS program, saving more than $17 million combined on their flood insurance premiums.

Joining the CRS program is free, but it does require the commitment of the community. Mayors of towns that want to participate must send a letter of interest to the regional office of FEMA, which for New Jersey is:

 Federal Emergency Management Agency
 Region II office
 26 Federal Plaza, 13th Floor
 New York, N.Y.10278
 (212) 680-8594

FEMA representatives will then arrange a visit to review the community’s floodplain management status and ensure that it meets federal regulations.

Once the community is granted a “letter of good standing,” it receives a verification visit from the Insurance Services Office, a FEMA contract agency, to verify the community’s eligibility for the program and to determine its rating.

Once accepted into the program, towns must file annual reports showing the measures they have taken to reduce their flood risks. Every five years, each town must undergo a complete audit to ensure that they remain in compliance with the CRS program.

Most communities enter the CRS at Level 9, which immediately entitles residents to a five percent reduction in their flood insurance bills. Communities achieve the maximum premium discount of 45 percent when they reach level one.

More importantly, they will have strengthened their ability to withstand the whims of Mother Nature when storm clouds gather and waters rise.

As of May 1, 2014, 11 communities in New Jersey had achieved a Level 5 in the CRS, earning property owners a 25 percent reduction in their flood insurance premiums. Those communities are: Avalon, Beach Haven, Long Beach Township, Longport, Mantoloking, Margate, Pompton Lakes, Sea Isle City, Stafford Township, Stone Harbor and Surf City.

With another hurricane season on the horizon, now is the perfect time to increase your town’s ability to weather a future storm. Learn more about NFIP’s CRS program online at http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-community-rating-system

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.

Follow FEMA online at www.twitter.com/FEMASandywww.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/FEMASandy, www.facebook.com/fema, www.fema.gov/blog, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.”

Drought continues to make the headlines, with the latest U.S. Drought Monitor showing moderate to exceptional drought covers 30.6 percent of the contiguous United States.

Its weekly update also shows that 82 percent of the state of California is in a state of extreme or exceptional drought. Reservoir levels in the state continued to decline, and groundwater wells continued to go dry, the U.S. Drought Monitor says.

20140923_usdm_home

The LA Times reports that California’s historic drought has 14 communities on the brink of waterlessness. It quotes Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, saying that communities that have made the list are often small and isolated and have relied on a single source of water without backup sources.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3797

(MCT) — President Obama and other leaders delivered a sobering message at the United Nations on Thursday, saying the world was not doing enough to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and avert a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

“This is more than a health crisis,” Obama told leaders at a special gathering convened while the U.N. General Assembly was meeting in New York. “This is a growing threat to regional and global security.”

Faced with a caseload that is doubling every three weeks, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a “twentyfold surge in care, tracking, transport and equipment” to get in front of the epidemic, which is believed to have killed more than 2,900 people.

Obama said last week that he would send as many as 3,000 military personnel to establish a coordination center in Liberia and work with partners to set up Ebola treatment facilities, train health workers and distribute medical supplies and prevention information.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/health/Ebola-Threat-Global-Security-Says-Obama.html

Exams can be hard enough without having to sit them in a foreign language. Our Good Practice Guidelines are already available in several languages so why not the CBCI exam also? Good question! The Business Continuity Institute is pleased to say that you can now sit your exam in Spanish, French, Italian or Japanese at computer-based testing centres, or alternatively you can sit paper and pencil exams through our global network of training providers, currently in Arabic, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Our long term aim is to have many other languages available.

To book your computer-based exam simply purchase it from the BCI shop. Once payment is complete you will receive an email containing an individual ID number and link to the Prometric website. You will then be able to choose the location of the exam and the language you wish to sit the exam in.

Yet another example of the BCI improving accessibility! For further information on this please email the BCI Learning and Development Team.

I’ve recently written about my journey of taking a business through to ISO22301 certification and how I achieved it with virtually no prior experience while creating a management system completely from scratch. It was quite the adventure and I naively assumed the journey would end there…

The truth is there is no end point to this journey (unless you’re a consultant) as you begin to evidence the system’s continuing improvement and maturity over time. You will have to continually work with whatever you create during these audits and keep it alive long enough to pass those surveillance visits!

At this point in the system’s development I decided it would be worthwhile in undertaking some additional training to prepare myself. A close colleague and mentor of mine suggested:

“The ISO 22301 Lead Auditor training is definitely the way forward for people at your stage, it’s quickly becoming a pre-requisite for most BC jobs”

...

http://blueyedbc.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-iso-22301-lead-auditor-course.html

STOCKHOLM – 4C Strategies are thrilled to announce a new contract signed with the New Zealand Army for their ExonautTM  software suite. The contract includes the ExonautTM Observer (OBS), ExonautTM Compliance & Performance Manager (CPM), ExonautTM Training & Exercise Manager (TEM) and ExonautTM Tactical Data Editor (TDE) with the option to extend the support beyond the one-year trial period.

“The ExonautTM software suite provides state of the art support in scheduling, planning and evaluating the performance of training exercises across the organization, and will meet the complex requirements of the user.” says Mikael Grape, Senior Business Developer at 4C Strategies. The latest version of ExonautTM Observer will also enable users to track their positions in real-time and monitor where and when observations are made, therefore enhancing the audit trail throughout their training program. 

“Working with a partner with such a strong local presence has been very positive and we are delighted to work with Cubic in Australia and New Zealand. We have seen a strong growth in demand for our services since the partnership began last year, and we hope to see this continued growth in the market benefit both of our companies.” says Mikael Edqvist, VP Global Business Development.

 

About 4C Strategies

4C Strategies provides consultancy services and software solutions for improved risk, business
continuity, crisis management and training management. The company already has a large international client base, including organisations such as the British Army, Swedish Armed Forces, London Gatwick Airport and the Swiss Armed Forces. 4C Strategies launched in 2000, quickly establishing itself as a successful global brand, and is now recognised as one of the most innovative providers of solutions within the areas 4C operate.

 

About Cubic Corporation

Cubic Corporation is the parent company of three major business segments. Cubic Transportation Systems is a leading integrator of payment and information technology and services for intelligent travel solutions. Cubic Defense Systems is a leading provider of realistic combat training systems and secure communications. Mission Support Services is a leading provider of training, operations, maintenance, technical and other support services for the U.S. and allied nations. Cubic, a market
leader in Australia and New Zealand, specializes in high-end collective training systems and services across the services. 

September 26, 2014

Bash vulnerability views

‘Bash’ or ‘Shellshock’, a major new security vulnerability that could have greater impacts than Heartbleed, has been uncovered. In this article Continuity Central summarises the views of a number of information security professionals concerning this vulnerability.

Toyin Adelakun, VP of Products at Sestus:

Bash is a command interpreter (or ‘shell’) present on many Unix-based systems — such as Apple’s OS X, various flavours of Linux (such as Red Hat and Ubuntu), and other operating systems such as IBM’s AIX and HP’s HP-UX.

A command interpreter allows users to interact with the operating system, for the purposes of issuing low-level instructions and manipulating data.
On many Unix systems, users might be human, or software applications (apps).

Direct access to data and instructions potentially offers a means for attackers (malevolent users) to circumvent the protections built into a legitimate app in respect of the app’s data.

Therefore, the fact that many apps use Bash to invoke other apps or operating-system commands makes this vulnerability particularly potent.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1228.html

Continuity Central is currently conducting a brief survey into whether there is a change in business terminology taking place: from business continuity management to organizational resilience. The survey is a follow up to an article in which Lyndon Bird, the technical director of the Business Continuity Institute, claims that such a development is under way.

The results of the survey so far show that just over half of respondents (56.76 percent) agree that a terminology change from business continuity management to organizational resilience is taking place. 33.76 percent of respondents disagree and 9.46 percent don't know.

Interestingly, when respondents were asked about their own organization, the situation was somewhat different, with only 29.73 percent of respondents stating that their organization was starting to use 'organizational resilience' rather than 'business continuity management' terminology. 68.92 percent said that their organization was still using business continuity management terminology; and 1.35 percent didn't know.

Finally the survey asked respondents whether 'organizational resilience' and 'business continuity management' are simply two names for the same process. A third (32.43 percent) think that they are two names for the same thing, while 67.57 percent believe that they are different processes. The implication being that if there is in fact a move in place away from business continuity management towards organizational resilience, this could have fundamental implications for organizations.

The survey will remain open for a further week: click here to take part.