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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Almost two years after it tore a deadly and costly path through the Northeast, Superstorm Sandy still stands as one of the most important events in the history of disaster preparedness. The desire to be more resilient in the face of these big and increasing storms kicked into high gear planning efforts by states and localities across the country. But it takes money to take action. And as governments are finding out, it’s hard to find money in today’s tight budgets.

If one of the biggest stumbling blocks to increasing a community’s sustainability and resilience is financing, then New Jersey’s in good shape. This summer, the Garden State created an energy resilience bank to “fund projects that will help prevent a reoccurrence of the energy disruptions and build energy resilience,” according to the state’s proposal for the bank. The idea essentially is to set up a dedicated source of funding for projects that will provide clean, more reliable energy at critical infrastructure such as water and wastewater treatment plants, hospitals, shelters, emergency response centers, schools, and transit systems.

Through revolving loans and grants, the bank will support projects that include installing microgrids, distributed generation (where electricity is generated from multiple small energy sources such as fuel cells or solar panels), smart grid technology and energy storage. Initially, the bank will be funded using $200 million from New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). When that runs out, says Greg Reinert, director of communications for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the state will allocate funds. The ultimate goal, though, is to bring in private capital.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/New-Jersey-Energy-Resiliency-Top-Priority.html

Yet another set of ominous projections about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was released Tuesday, in a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that gave worst- and best-case estimates for Liberia and Sierra Leone based on computer modeling.

In the worst-case scenario, the two countries could have a total of 21,000 cases of Ebola by Sept. 30 and 1.4 million cases by Jan. 20 if the disease keeps spreading without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported.

In the best-case model, the epidemic in both countries would be “almost ended” by Jan. 20, the report said. Success would require conducting safe funerals at which no one touches the bodies, and treating 70 percent of patients in settings that reduce the risk of transmission. The report said the proportion of patients now in such settings was about 18 percent in Liberia and 40 percent in Sierra Leone.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/health/ebola-cases-could-reach-14-million-in-4-months-cdc-estimates.html

CROSBY, TX — Abletek, an industry leader in unified communications, announced today that the company is educating its customers on a breakthrough development in high-speed wireless Internet, which can increase the number of customers that many small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) attract. The breakthrough is called Hosted Wi-Fi, which is essentially a private Internet hotspot for SMBs to offer to their customers. By offering customers free WiFi, a business can regulate and optimize Internet data usage and even create a private network for them to use. The overarching benefits of this technology is that it attracts new people to your location, it gets people to stay longer and gives them a reason to come back next time.  
       With the overwhelming majority of people simply expecting free Wi-Fi everywhere they go, it’s no wonder that this technology has taken off. Most business owners simply use the standard Internet provided to them by ISPs, and they’re missing out on the high performing Internet connectivity that customers have come to expect. Furthermore, standard Internet lacks safety controls, which can be very dangerous for business owners. For example, if even one customer visits a dangerous site and contracts a virus, it could spread quickly to the rest of the network. By utilizing Hosted Wi-Fi safeguards like firewalls and blacklisted sites, businesses can eliminate these risks before they become a problem. 
       The central reason to offer Hosted Wi-Fi to customers is that it increases profitability. The longer that a business has a customer at its location, the greater the likelihood of purchases, brand education and return visits. The value of having a customer at your location is incredible, because businesses have so much time to engage customers and opportunity to influence their purchasing decisions. For example, a café that has Hosted Wi-Fi can provide secure, high-speed Internet for the growing remote worker population. The longer a patron remains at the shop, the more likely they are to buy additional goods and refer friends.  Another example, are hotels and motels who simply need to offer Hosted Wi-Fi in order to attract guests in the first place. For many business people this is a “deal breaker” and acts as one of the key factors in their decision to stay at one hotel versus another. This easily overlooked addition to nearly any business can increase revenue and bottom line profitability. 
        Businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars on building extravagant websites, which only retain customers for an approximate 10-20 seconds, according to research by Chao Liu and colleagues. When someone visits a physical location, business owners can captivate their attention for hours at a time. Meanwhile, business owners can influence their customers’ purchasing decisions the entire time. For its minimal cost, this investment makes sense and it’s no wonder businesses are working with Abletek to deploy this powerful technology. 
       
ABOUT ABLETEK
       Abletek is not your typical IT & communications company. We are a TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION PROVIDER and we care deeply about helping you maximize your productivity through effective Managed Services (MSP), IT, communications and related business technology solutions, and while a lot of companies may talk about increasing your productivity, Abletek actually delivers. 
       ABLETEK will remove the burden of managing your network and communications infrastructures by providing everything needed to  maintain your servers, workstations, laptops, Pocket PCs/PDA/Treo, Switches, Routers, Email, Printers, VoIP, SIP, Digital & Analog Communications systems and more.  Leverage our team of dedicated professionals and proven  technology  management  resources  to:  CONTROL & REDUCE YOUR COSTS. 
       For more information on Abletek, call (713) 455.1888 or visit www.abletek.com.

SAN FRANCISCO – A staggering 43% of companies have experienced a data breach in the past year, an annual study on data breach preparedness finds.

The report, released Wednesday, was conducted by the Ponemon Institute, which does independent research on privacy, data protection and information security policy.

That's up up 10% from the year before.

The absolute size of the breaches is increasing, said Michael Bruemmer, vice president of the credit information company Experian's data breach resolution group, which sponsored the report.

"Particularly beginning with last quarter in 2013, and now with all the retail breaches this year, the size had gone exponentially up," Bruemmer said.

He cited one large international breach few Americans have even heard about. In January, 40% of South Koreans—a total of 20 million people—had their personal data stolen and credit cards compromised.

...

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/09/24/data-breach-companies-60/16106197/

WAYNE, Pa. – Sungard® Availability Services™ (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, today announced it is partnering with Kahua, Inc. to support Kahua's global collaborative Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering by providing expert management of infrastructure, network and application security.

In search of robust data and security support, Kahua turned to Sungard AS for managed hosting services in a colocation environment. Sungard AS acts as an extension of Kahua's IT team, delivering security services, disaster recovery, firewall, and Log and Threat Manager by Alert Logic.

"The value Sungard AS brings us for availability and security best practices is unrivaled," said Scott Unger, co-founder and CEO of Kahua, Inc.  "With a small IT team, we turn to Sungard AS for their professional and seasoned security expertise, the ability to scale operations up and down as needed, and their international reach to support our global expansion," he added.  "This is a true partnership – we leverage Sungard AS for their security and network consultative experience to assist us with our highly complex environment."

Kahua is one of the first cloud-based platforms to deliver on the full promise of B2B collaboration, allowing individual stakeholders in a construction project to own, control and seamlessly share project workflows, data and applications between stakeholders. Kahua's technology enables each business entity to independently maintain and own their Kahua system, apps and data related to a project.

"Like many companies today with a smaller IT staff, Kahua trusts Sungard AS to manage its complex IT infrastructure," said Jack Dziak, executive vice president, global products, Sungard AS. "Sungard AS enables companies like Kahua to focus on their own business so they can grow and scale exponentially, while we focus on their availability and security needs."

The Kahua project management and collaboration platform serves customers in the commercial construction, EPCM (Engineering/Procurement/Construction/Management), government and transportation fields. By seamlessly connecting multiple stakeholders, Kahua's platform removes a tremendous amount of redundancy and cost.

Sungard AS leverages its scale and global reach to address its approximately 7,000 customers' cloud, managed hosting and recovery-services needs.  For additional information on Sungard AS, please visit www.sungardas.com.

About Kahua
Kahua is the first cloud-based platform to deliver on the full promise of business-to-business collaboration. This next generation project management and collaboration platform manages all of the documents, communications and costs associated with a project. By enabling each project stakeholder to create, manage and control its own independent applications and data, organizations can connect worldwide in a collaborative environment. For more information, visit www.kahua.com.

About Sungard Availability Services
Sungard® Availability Services™ (Sungard AS) has more than 30 years of experience providing flexible availability services that help ensure organizations keep applications always on, always available. The company leverages its proven expertise to provide managed IT services, information availability consulting services, business continuity management software and disaster recovery services to clients in North America, Europe and India. Sungard AS helps customers improve the resiliency of their mission critical systems by designing, implementing and managing cost-effective solutions using people, process and technology to address enterprise IT availability needs.

 To learn more, visit www.sungardas.com or call 1-800-468-7483. Connect with us on Twitter @Sungardas, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Sungard Availability Services is a trademark of SunGard Data Systems or its affiliate, used under license.   The Sungard Availability Services logo by itself and Recover2Cloud are trademarks of Sungard Availability Services Capital, Inc. or its affiliate. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective companies with which they are associated.

Research conducted by Databarracks has revealed a significant disparity between organizations’ attitudes and approaches to business continuity and disaster recovery. The findings indicate that while medium and large organizations are confidently implementing business continuity plans, small organizations are putting themselves at risk by failing to follow suit.

The findings are part of Databarracks’ fifth annual Data Health Check report, which surveys over 400 IT professionals in the UK on the changing ways in which technology is used by businesses today.

The results revealed that only 30 percent of small organizations had a business continuity plan in place, compared with 54 percent of medium and 73 percent of large businesses. Perhaps even more concerning is that when asked if the organization intended to implement a BCP in the next 12 months, over 40 percent of small organizations had no intention to do so.

Other key findings included:

  • Hardware failure (21 percent), software failure (19 percent) and human error (18 percent) were reported as the top causes of data loss;
  • Large organizations are more than twice as likely to have tested their disaster recovery plans in the last year compared to small organizations;
  • ‘Lack of time’ was deemed to be the biggest factor for all organizations not testing their disaster recovery plans (35 percent), this was closely followed by ‘cost’ (18 percent) and ‘lack of skilled staff to carry out testing’ (18 percent).

www.databarracks.com

IBM has announced the opening of its new Cloud Resiliency Center in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina. The new facility provides state-of-the-art business continuity capabilities in the cloud to protect companies from potential costly disruptions.

IBM’s new Resiliency Center integrates cloud and traditional disaster recovery capabilities with innovative physical security features. With cloud resiliency services, the recovery time of 24 to 48 hours that was once deemed the industry standard has shrunk dramatically to a matter of minutes.

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Resiliency Center team will monitor developing disaster events and then mobilize as needed to ensure that the infrastructure for all customers is configured to handle the latest threats to keep data, applications, people and transactions secure.

IBM has also announced that it will be opening two new cloud based resiliency centers in Mumbai, India and Izmir, Turkey.

ibm.com/services/continuity

Technology helps organisations to get more done in less time. However, technology alone cannot guarantee business continuity. Solid business processes also contribute to resilience, but there’s another kind of ‘glue’ that can make the difference between enterprises that stand or fall when the going gets tough. It’s organisational culture, or “the way we do things round here”. This is an element that business continuity managers must factor into their planning, for at least two reasons. Firstly, and as we’ve just said, it’s because it’s important – in fact, essential – to BC. Secondly, because someone whose support the BC manager must get is also likely to make organisational culture a top priority.

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/is-culture-the-real-reason-why-organisations-survive/

I was hardly surprised to see Home Depot-related emails showing up in my inbox over the weekend. After all, it may be the largest breach ever, with at least 56 million credit cards compromised.

It also now appears that Home Depot is the new poster child for what happens to a company, both in terms of data loss and of its reputation, when it ignores the warnings that it is at a high threat level.

According to a number of reports, Home Depot management had been warned for years – years – that its network was vulnerable to a serious cybersecurity attack. But it appears that upper management refused to take these warnings seriously. The New York Times reported:

In recent years, Home Depot relied on outdated software to protect its network and scanned systems that handled customer information irregularly, those people said. Some members of its security team left as managers dismissed their concerns. Others wondered how Home Depot met industry standards for protecting customer data. One went so far as to warn friends to use cash, rather than credit cards, at the company’s stores.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/you-should-never-ignore-it-security-warnings.html

It’s referred to as the Big One, the cataclysmic earthquake that will devastate Los Angeles when the ground around the San Andreas Fault gives a dramatic heave.

Seismologists agree that it’s a matter of when, not if, it happens, and that the resulting damage will be incalculable in the city of more than 4 million residents and 400,000 businesses.

Emergency response will have to come on multiple fronts at once. Beyond the immediate imperative of saving lives, the emergency community will need to coordinate activities in the realms of transportation, health, finances and diverse other sectors to stabilize the city. Water will be a particular concern in an area that relies largely on outside sources for its supply.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/LA-Prepares-for-the-Big-Quake.html