Natural and manmade disasters underscore the challenges of seamless disaster recovery in the real world. Having a comprehensive business continuity plan isn't just an IT concern; though. Nothing less than the survival of your company is at stake.
CIO — We rarely get a head's up that a disaster is ready to strike. Even with some lead time, though, multiple things can go wrong; every incident is unique and unfolds in unexpected ways.
This is where a business continuity plan comes into play. To give your organization the best shot at success during a disaster, you need to put a current, tested plan in the hands of all personnel responsible for carrying out any part of that plan. The lack of a plan doesn't just mean your organization will take longer than necessary to recover from an event or incident. You could go out of business for good.
Cloud services whether PaaS (platform), SaaS (software), DraaS (disaster recovery) or another ‘as a service’ option are part of the business landscape now. However, in the vast majority of cases, using them means that your data is stored outside your organisation. No matter what the cloud vendor’s reputation, security must be evaluated, confirmed and applied. Here’s a list of ten security questions to help you safeguard your data, your confidentiality and quite possibly your business.
PHILADELPHIA – The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency will evaluate a Biennial Emergency Preparedness Exercise at the Limerick Generating Station. The exercise will take place during the week of November 18, 2013 to test the ability of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility.
“These drills are held every other year to assess government’s ability to protect public health and safety,” said MaryAnn Tierney, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region III. “We will evaluate state and local emergency response capabilities within the 10-mile emergency-planning zone of the nuclear facility.”
Within 90 days, FEMA will send their evaluation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for use in licensing decisions. The final report will be available to the public approximately 120 days after the exercise.
FEMA will present preliminary findings of the exercise in a public meeting at 11:30 a.m. on November 22, 2013 at the Hilton Garden Inn Valley Forge/Oaks, 500 Cresson Blvd, Phoenixville, PA 19460. Scheduled speakers include representatives from FEMA, NRC, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
At the public meeting, FEMA may request that questions or comments be submitted in writing for review and response. Written comments may also be submitted after the meeting by emailing FEMAR3NewsDesk@fema.dhs.gov or by mail to:
FEMA created the Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Program to (1) ensure the health and safety of citizens living around commercial nuclear power plants would be adequately protected in the event of a nuclear power plant accident and (2) inform and educate the public about radiological emergency preparedness.
REP Program responsibilities cover only “offsite” activities, that is, state and local government emergency planning and preparedness activities that take place beyond the nuclear power plant boundaries. Onsite activities continue to be the responsibility of the NRC.
Additional information on FEMA’s REP Program is available online at fema.gov/radiological-emergency-preparedness-program.
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. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.
By Ali S. Khan
Seeing images of the devastation in the Philippines reminded me of my own experiences with Hurricane Katrina and the Asian Tsunami. During both of those events, I had the honor to join CDC (and WHO in the case of Indonesia) teams to help re-establish crucial public health services and support the impacted communities. Disaster recovery isn’t just about rebuilding damaged homes and businesses; it has everything to do with health.
When something as devastating as Typhoon Haiyan occurs, it can be daunting to consider what a recovery effort might look like. Providing for basic needs and preventing potential injuries and outbreaks are usually at the forefront of any recovery plan. Despite the widespread devastation and lack of infrastructure people still need access to food and water. Groups with special needs, such as pregnant women or the elderly, still need care. These basic needs can present a host of health problems in the face of disaster. And as people begin to get their lives back in order, injuries from cleanup efforts and potential outbreaks due to contaminated food or water sources are a constant concern.
Stabilizing and Surveillance
The initial health response usually centers on setting up field hospitals, to take care of those who need immediate medical attention. We then turn our attention to disease monitoring efforts to understand the needs within the community and provide critical public health services. These services initially focus on environmental health concerns such as food and (especially) water safety, worker safety, and injury prevention.
Following an event such as a hurricane or typhoon – where you have excess flood waters – communities must be vigilant about preventing the spread of water borne illness (think E. coli or cholera), which often cause diarrhea and severe dehydration. Although these are two seemingly treatable symptoms, they can be difficult to manage when infrastructure is down and basic supplies (such as clean water) are hard to come by. Crowded and unsanitary conditions can also lead to the spread of disease. Following Hurricane Sandy, several recovery centers had to act quickly to halt the spread of norovirus, a common “stomach bug” that can spread quickly in close quarters. We’ve also learned about the risk of spread of communicable diseases within shelters and the need to provide select immunizations.
Cleanup can be a mess
Aside from possible disease outbreaks, one of the most common health problems we saw post-Katrina were injuries related to cleanup, people falling from ladders, carbon monoxide poisoning from generators, and cuts and lacerations people got moving through the rubble. Following a disaster health officials are often on the lookout for cases of tetanus or other wound infections. In 2011, after the F5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, a deadly fungal outbreak was discovered among those who had sustained wounds from the cleanup effort. Public health officials work around the clock after a disaster to warn the public of these dangers and track potential disease outbreaks before they get out of hand.
As the Philippines grapple with the mammoth effort of rebuilding their homes, roadways, and towns, they will first have the task of addressing the health needs inherent to a major disaster. Disease pathogens and hazards are opportunistic and strike when we are at our most vulnerable. My thoughts are with the people of the Philippines and the aid workers helping to get the country back on their feet.
If you would like more information about recovery efforts or how you can help, please visit: http://www.usaid.gov/haiyan/.
What if organizations don’t need a chief data officer so much as they need an executive team that understands and relies on data?
I stumbled backwards into this idea by misreading a shortened UK CIO headline: “Bank of England doesn't need a CDO, claims CIO.” As happens too often with tech, it turns out CDO is short for chief digital officer, not chief data officer.
Chief digital officers have more to do with transforming paper tasks to digital. If you want to read more about their job duties, ZDNet published a good trends piece about the role.
Damage in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan is widespread, with new information emerging daily. Insured losses, however, are expected to be low, with the greatest impact on smaller reinsurers, according to insurance industry reports.
A.M. Best said in a briefing that it expects insured losses to be minimal, as non-life insurance is less than 1% of the country’s gross domestic product.
“Insured losses in the Philippines will be spread across many segments, including personal lines, fire and property, and marine hull. Fire/property and marine hull will be well reinsured through the major global reinsurers and through Lloyd’s, which will also absorb some marine losses on a primary basis. Net losses to primary insurers will be limited, and some commercial losses also may be covered through captives or other forms of self-insurance,” the report said.