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Spring Journal

Volume 28, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

Applications accepted for ocean, fisheries programs through July
Resilience means bouncing back. (Credit: NOAA)

(Credit: NOAA)

Two new NOAA grant programs will help coastal communities and their managers create on-the-ground projects to make them more resilient to the effects of extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions.

This builds on NOAA’s commitment to provide information, tools, and services to help coastal communities reduce risk and plan for future severe events.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service is supporting the effort with $5 million in competitive grant awards through the 2015 Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Program and NOAA Fisheries is administering the companion $4 million Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants Program.

“Coastal communities around the country are becoming more vulnerable to natural disasters and long-term environmental changes,” said Holly Bamford, Ph.D., assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service performing the duties of the assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management. “These new grant opportunities will help support local efforts to build resilience of U.S. coastal ecosystems and communities, while finding new and innovative ways to mitigate the threats of severe weather, climate change and changing ocean conditions.”

The National Ocean Service 2015 Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Program will help coastal communities and organizations prepare for and recover from adverse events while adapting to changing environmental, economic, and social conditions. The grants will be awarded to  organizations to plan and implement resilience strategies regionally to reduce current and potential future risks. Proposals are due by July 24.

The NOAA Fisheries’ Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants Program will focus on developing  healthy and sustainable coastal ecosystems through habitat restoration and conservation. The winning proposals will demonstrate socioeconomic benefits associated with restoration of healthy and resilient coastal ecosystems, support healthy fish populations, and demonstrate collaboration among multiple stakeholders. Proposals are due by July 2.   

Each grant proposal may request between $500,000 to $1 million in federal funds for the Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Program and $200,000 to $2 million for the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants Program. Eligible funding applicants include nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, regional organizations, private (for profit) entities, and local, state, and tribal government.

Details on the grant programs can be found at the NOAA Fisheries Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants webpage (http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/funding/coastalresiliency.html) and the NOAA Ocean Service Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Program webpage (http://www.coast.noaa.gov/resilience-grant/). To apply visit http://www.grants.gov/

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.

There’s been a lot in the news recently about the vulnerability of the electric power grid in the United States. Last month’s incident in which a severed transmission line in Maryland cut power to much of Washington came on the heels of a March USA Today reportabout “bracing for a big power grid attack.” That report spotlighted a coordinated attack in April 2013 on Pacific Gas & Electric's Metcalf substation in California, which resulted in $15 million in damage to its fiber-optic lines and transformers.

“The country’s aging power grid leaves millions vulnerable and could have devastating consequences for not only everyday Americans, but some of the nation’s largest enterprises,” said Robert DiLossi, director of crisis management at Sungard Availability Services, a cloud computing, disaster recovery, and managed hosting services provider in Wayne, Pa. In a recent email interview, DiLossi shared some enlightening tips for CIOs and other IT leaders on how to prepare for an attack on the power grid.

“Increasingly, chief information officers and security leaders at enterprises are turning to resiliency plans to mitigate the impact of any attempt or success at hacking into their IT systems,” DiLossi said. “They are considering or employing several defenses in the event an attack strikes the nation’s power grid.”



Fraud is an increasingly serious threat for businesses around the world, eroding data integrity and security, consumer confidence and brand integrity. Based on the latest ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners) study, organizations lose 5 percent of revenue each year to insider fraud.

According to the study, the majority of insider fraud losses — as high as 80 percent — are caused by collusion of two or more employees, even though only 45 percent of the incidents are attributed to collusion. One reason why the losses are higher is that when more people are involved, there are more opportunities to commit fraud and it becomes easier to circumvent anti-fraud controls and conceal the fraud for longer.

Companies invest in implementing controls such as requiring that transactions above certain thresholds be authorized by a second employee and preventing the same person from re-activating an account and transferring funds. But just by coordinating their efforts, employees can work together to circumvent these measures.



University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) recently informed patients that some of their personal information may have been compromised.

And as a result, UPMC topped this week's list of IT security newsmakers, followed by BakerHostetler, Juniper Research and The MetroHealth System.

What can managed service providers (MSPs) and their customers learn from these IT security newsmakers? Check out this week's list of IT security stories to watch to find out:



No enterprise is immune to bad ideas. Some of them can be spectacularly bad, like deserting loyal customers in order to chase new markets that never materialise, or betting the company on a technology that never actually works. A company can have everything going for it and still get it wrong. The case of Webvan with its e-tailing advantages of lower costs and better services targeting the wrong customer group is just one example. However, this kind of failure is not caused by one bad idea alone, but by one bad idea being accepted and pursued by the organisation overall. In other words, it’s groupthink, a frequent enemy of business continuity.



It’s been clear for some time that the traditional storage area network (SAN) has been under siege in the data center. With server infrastructure becoming increasingly distributed, both at home and in the cloud, a centralized array supported by advanced storage-optimized networking is increasingly seen as a hindrance to data productivity.

But if storage is to be distributed along with processing, how do you overcome the obvious difficulties of aggregating resources and establishing effective tiering capabilities? And how can you effectively scale storage independently from increasingly virtualized server and networking infrastructure in order to satisfy diverse requirements of emerging data loads?

One solution is the server SAN, says TechRepublic’s Keith Townsend. By leveraging server and storage convergence, systems like EMC’s ScaleIO and Nutanix can run traditional workloads on virtualized cloud architectures while still providing the SAN functionality that the enterprise has come to rely on.  Indeed, performance of more than 1 million IOPS is already being reported across several dozen to several hundred nodes, and free or community-based distributions are reducing start-up costs to near zero.



Once a month I use my blog to highlight some of S&R’s most recent and trending research. When I first became research director of the S&R team more than five years ago, I was amazed to discover that 30% to 35% of the thousands of client questions the team fielded each year were related to IAM. And it’s still true today. Even though no individual technology within IAM has reached the dizzying heights of other buzz inducing trends (e.g. DLP circa 2010 and actionable threat intelligence circa 2014), IAM has remained a consistent problem/opportunity within security. Why? I think it’s because:



(TNS) — The more scientists learn, the more they are fine-tuning who is ordered to leave when a hurricane threatens and where and when officials open evacuation shelters.

And the result very likely will be that fewer, not more, people can expect to leave their homes, and still fewer will feel the need to use a hurricane shelter, officials said at last week's Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference.

The American Red Cross is doing a full review of its shelter guidelines, set to be finished in 2017. That's the same year the National Hurricane Center will start issuing a public watch and warning format that combines the traditional wind threats with storm surge. The timing is no coincidence.



(TNS) — When Mount St. Helens erupted 35 years ago Monday, killing 57 people and blanketing much of Central Washington in ash, officials were ill-prepared for the magnitude of the emergency.

“When the mountain blew, everyone was kind of out there on their own,” said Charles Erwin, emergency management specialist for the city of Yakima. “That’s what got the county started on doing disaster planning and coordinating with all the local jurisdictions.”

The explosion caused two different disasters on either side of the mountains. While the west side was dealing with mud and debris flows taking out bridges and roads, the prevailing winds pushed an estimated 520 million tons of ash eastward, turning Sunday morning in Yakima into midnight.



(TNS) — Under a new state law signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday, May 14, large railroads will be required to plan with the state for “worst-case spills” from crude oil unit trains, but exactly what that worst-case scenario looks like is not yet clear.

The law requires railroads to plan for the “largest foreseeable spill in adverse weather conditions,” but doesn’t define “largest foreseeable spill.”

In April, BNSF railway employees told Washington emergency responders that the company currently considers 150,000 gallons of crude oil – enough to fill five rail tank cars – its worst-case scenario when planning for spills into waterways. Crude oil trains usually carry about 100 rail tank cars.