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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

(MCT) — Firefighters in the Houston region soon will have more information about certain buildings before they arrive to contain the blazes that threaten them.

Using a federal anti-terrorism grant, fire departments in the five-county area have developed a digital database of high-risk structures — those critical to the nation's daily operations, high-rises and some large commercial buildings. The database, accessible by tablet computer while en route to a scene, will replace binders full of papers tucked in the back of engines or command vehicles. Fire officials admit the binders often were not used, or at least not right away, because they were difficult to reach as an engine raced to a scene or as crews geared up for the fire.

"Those had really good information, but you only had time to access them about an hour into an incident," said Richard Mann, assistant chief for Houston Fire Department. "(The new database) will tell you what you need to know in the first two minutes at the scene.'"

Although the initiative to create the digital system started before last May's deadly Southwest Inn fire that killed four HFD firefighters, the effort mirrors internal department recommendations to improve the quality of planning before a fire even starts.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/New-Digital-Tool-Houston-Firefighters-Battle-Building-Blazes.html

(MCT) — Nigeria was declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday after recording no new confirmed cases for 42 days, which is twice the incubation period for the deadly Ebola virus.

"This is a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained," WHO said in a statement. "The story of how Nigeria ended what many believed to be potentially the most explosive Ebola outbreak imaginable is worth telling in detail."

The UN organization attributed Nigeria's success to the country's rapid adaptation of a polio eradication plan to fight the Ebola virus, including information campaigns and international support.

Nigeria confirmed 19 Ebola cases, seven of whom died, giving the country a fatality rate of 40 per cent — much lower than the approximate 70 percent seen elsewhere, WHO said.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/health/WHO-Declares-Nigeria-Ebola-Free.html

Are companies prepared for skyrocketing energy costs to combat extreme heat? Can farmers handle average crop losses of up to 73%? Should businesses invest in oceanfront property that is virtually guaranteed to flood? Because of climate change, these are just some of the crucial questions the United States will face before the end of the century, according to “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States,” a report co-chaired by business experts Michael R. Bloomberg, Henry Paulson and Tom Steyer. The report quantifies and publicizes the economic risks posed by a changing climate. While climate change can be a politicized topic, there is little controversy that the phenomenon presents a great deal of risk to everyone, from individuals to institutions.

Decision-makers already use risk analysis to address uncertain situations, routinely evaluating potential threats and challenges such as bad investments or schedule delays. The report adds climate change to the risks that all decision-makers should account for. Robert E. Rubin, co-chair of the Council on Foreign Relations and member of the report’s risk committee, said, “Companies should disclose both their potential exposure to climate risk, and the potential costs they may someday be required to absorb to address carbon emissions.”

The report uses risk analysis, Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) and models to illustrate how different regions are likely to be affected by climate change. The project’s simulation also analyzes efforts to mitigate climate change, showing a changed distribution of probabilities if those efforts are made in the coming years. “As there a very high number of permutations and combinations of weather events, it would be very difficult to analyze these meaningfully using an averaged or deterministic approach,” said Robert Kinghorn, associate director at the consulting firm KPMG Australia. “MCS overcomes this by allowing thousands of possible combinations of extreme weather events to be analyzed.”

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/analyzing-the-real-costs-of-climate-change/

BIPs combines DRaaS and managed availability into a complete business continuity solution


DALLAS, Texas – Capital Continuity, a U.K. provider of replication, recovery and migration software for managed service providers (MSPs), announced it will offer its IT service continuity management solution to the U.S. MSP market.

Capital Continuity is unique among most Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) providers in that it also functions as a solution for managed availability. The company has proven success delivering solutions to international partners including Sungard and HP.  Capital Continuity’s BIPs software also powers IBM’s SmartCloud Virtualized Server Recovery offering in North America and worldwide.

BIPs software was specifically developed for MSPs looking to offer complete continuity management to their clients through enterprise level replication, recovery and migration services for customers’ uniform or diverse environments.

The September 2014 Garter report Hype Cycle for IT Service Continuity Management describes IT service continuity management as “the consolidation of IT disaster recovery and high-availability management into a single cohesive management discipline.” As the report points out “despite its significant potential, however, many supporting technologies are still at a very early implementation maturity stage.”

“There’s a sharp increase in the need for near instant IT service resiliency in addition to traditional disaster recovery solutions,” said Lee Exall, Managing Director of Capital Continuity. “Today’s ‘always on’ service expectations mean that businesses need a solution that keeps critical systems and applications running at all times as well as a way to recover in the event of a catastrophe.”  


BIPs gives MSPs the flexibility to support:

  • On-premise, cloud or hybrid deployments
  • Physical or Virtual Machines
  • Any hypervisor
  • Any storage vendor
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Enterprise operating system coverage
  • Real-time 'cross system/hypervisor/storage consistent' replication
  • Near instant system recoveries
  • Full automation for protection, recovery and non-disruptive testing of systems
  • Simple, nonintrusive DR testing facilities

Using BIPs software, MSPs are able to deliver:

Capital Continuity offers two versions of its BIPs software: BIPs-POD and BIPs Migrate

BIPs-POD is a DRaaS software solution that integrates a service provider’s infrastructure for fully automated protection, recovery and testing for customer environments. The BIPs-POD solution is agnostic to the customer’s current or future, storage, server and hypervisor choices.

BIPs Migrate addresses the challenges for Cloud providers to consume their infrastructure seamlessly for a smooth and fast customer on-boarding experience. BIPs removes the risks of migrating physical and virtual systems to new technology platforms or Cloud environments. BIPs manages migration of Linux, mid-range UNIX and Windows environments, replicating complete operating system application and databases in a seamless and non-intrusive manner to any new environment.

BIPs does not use any Cloud compute resources during business-as-usual protection. Resources are only consumed when a customer would like to 'spin-up' a test or recover system. This reduces MSPs’ licensing costs and allows a buy-it-once-sell-it-many approach to cloud compute resources. In addition, MSPs are provided with a white-labeled portal to manage their client’s resiliency.

About Capital Continuity

Capital Continuity provides Business Interruption Protection software (BIPs) specifically developed for Managed Service Providers (MSPs). BIPs is a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and cloud migration software solution that delivers enterprise level replication, recovery and migration services for clients with uniform or diverse environments.

Ubidata already boasts of an extensive European client-base and now adds to this portfolio with new clients Samskip of the Netherlands, Ancotrans in Denmark and the internationally renowned rail freight company VoestAlpine Railpro. It also announced today a 3 Mio Eur capital increase to extend this international growth.

BRUSSELS – These recent projects reflect a new phase in Ubidata’s growth strategy with a rollout of a new Android app and improved functionality of its telematic device to strengthen its position in the rail infrastructure supplier market. Of course this builds on all the well-known attributes of Ubidata telematics systems in rendering useful information to streamline business and save clients time and money.
 
With Ancotrans’ large and sophisticated fleet came the need to develop an information delivery approach which will help the client save money and resources helping not only the bottom line but also the environment. Ubidata’s redesigned and easy-to-use Android app has been launched to ensure the right communication gets to key stakeholders to help them make the right decisions.
 
Our work with Samskip in the Netherlands has showed how Ubidata can add flexibility and give power to a client system which is reliant on third party subcontractors. We help Samskip in empowering them take control by converting data into key performance indicators. This way Samskip can make decisions independently of other railways undertakings backlogs and can then consolidate their work accordingly.
 
VoestAlpine Railpro found Ubidata’s solution effective over their large fleet by reducing redundancy by up to 15%. Ubidata’s telematics product helps flag up where redundancies in the system can and do occur which helps focus the client’s resources and time.
 
These new client projects illustrate how Ubidata’s international client base is growing and underline an exciting new capital increase that has now begun. This investment phase will fund key areas of growth in product development and client relationship management. Ubidata’s aim is to grow the client base while continuing to serve current customers well through delivering the right information at the right time in the right place.
 
Ubidata is a Brussels based company specialising in Mobile Logistics Systems. On top of developing and commercializing fast evolving high-end software and hardware for the fleet and logistic industry, it offers a full range of services to assist clients in every step of the process: from analyzing their unique fleet situation and offering advice on the most optimal approach for improving their productivity to the seamless integration into their backoffices.

Solution Supports Growing Need To Expand Business-critical Apps Into The Cloud

SAN JOSE, Calif. Talari, a leading innovator in intelligent network solutions that transform the capabilities and reliability of the WAN by adding real-time intelligence to the network, today announced, a solution that transforms public cloud access links into secure, reliable and manageable points on any wide area network (WAN). This new solution gives businesses the control and oversight they need to trust business-critical applications to the cloud.

Talari’s latest solution addresses the ongoing market concern over reliability and predictability when connecting to the cloud over public access broadband links, removing one of the barriers to the wide-spread adoption of business-critical applications in the cloud. Businesses deploying Talari can treat the cloud like any other location on their WAN, which means access to public applications, such as salesforce.com and Dropbox and private cloud applications running in Amazon Web Services (AWS) is over a secure and reliable connection the IT team can manage.

With Talari, access to applications in the cloud isn’t interrupted by network quality issues or failures, bandwidth becomes predictable and data is secure. It is Talari’s packet-by-packet adaptive private networking intelligence that facilitates the aggregation of multiple broadband and/or Amazon Direct Connect links, the continuous measurement and monitoring of the quality of each possible path in each direction and the adaptation of traffic flows in real time to route around failures and poor quality links that makes moving business-critical applications up into the cloud worry-free for the IT team. The results of the measurements are centrally stored to give IT managers a comprehensive and detailed view of the quality of each network path to the cloud and the quality received by applications across that network, allowing them to separate issues on the cloud access network from issues on the cloud applications themselves.

“Talari was the first to aggregate IP links with the ability to route and reroute real-time traffic to the best performing link on a per-packet basis to ensure always on uptime of business-critical applications, essentially revolutionizing the traditional WAN,” said Chris Ward, GreenPages’ CTO. “Now Talari is taking innovation to the next level and bringing the cloud down to the WAN. This new offering from Talari is a great solution for GreenPages because it allows us to offer our customers greater reliability and security when migrating apps to the cloud.”

Thousands of business sites around the world are using Talari’s intelligent solution to increase capacity, improve reliability and lower costs across their wide area network. In conjunction with the release of the cloud solution, the company has added enhanced security features, such as 256 bit AES encryption and application level quality scoring over the WAN and up to the cloud. These new features apply to physical sites, as well as the cloud access network. 

“Whether cloud computing is the future in enterprise IT networking is an area of strategic debate within IT organizations worldwide. Concerns over security, reliability, visibility and end-to-end service level guarantees are some of the factors contributing to this debate,” said John Dickey, Talari’s co-founder & CTO. “We’re proud to be among the first to eliminate these concerns by pulling the cloud down into the wide area network. With Talari, issues are isolated and service disruptions are minimized for the end users, giving IT managers the assurance, control and visibility they need to trust the cloud for business-critical applications.”

Dickey continued, “With enterprise cloud adoption in its early stage and hybrid WAN models emerging, the market is ready for an intelligent network that delivers service-level assurance. Using our adaptive private network technology, Talari will help to seamlessly ease the migration of key applications to the cloud, providing greater peace of mind for service sustainability.”  

Talari’s cloud solution for Amazon Web Services (AWS) is available immediately. To learn more, visit www.talari.com

About Talari Networks, Inc.

Talari offers businesses a better way to WAN by bringing intelligence to the network that results in increased capacity, improved reliability and lower costs. Talari’s patented packet-by-packet adaptive private networking (APN) technology enables networks to support the growing demands of mission-critical applications without compromising quality or increasing MPLS spend. By aggregating multiple diverse links into a virtual WAN and continuously steering traffic based on the availability and real-time quality of the network paths, Talari ensures applications are not impacted by underlying network issues, user productivity is unencumbered and the business can run at full speed. Talari has received numerous industry awards, including Best of Interop; Techworld Award; Comms Business Award; Gold Silver Stevie Award; and named Gartner Cool Vendor, CRN 2013 Emerging Vendors and CRN Data Center 100 List, among others. For more information, visit www.talari.com.

Study exposes a lack of readiness for EU data laws, shows organisations are struggling to enforce acceptable usage policies and reveals the activity of Europe's most ‘dangerous' cloud user

LONDON – Skyhigh Networks, the Cloud Visibility and Enablement company, today released its latest quarterly European Cloud Adoption and Risk Report. The report analyses real-life usage data from 1.6 million European users.

In Europe, the number of cloud services in use by the average company increased 23 percent, rising from 588 in Q1 to 724 in Q3. However, not all of these services are ready for the enterprise. Developed in conjunction with the Cloud Security Alliance, Skyhigh's Cloud Trust Program tracks the attributes of cloud services and ranks them according to risk. The report found that only 9.5 percent of all services meet the most stringent security requirements including strong password policies and data encryption.

The report also reveals a worrying lack of conformance to the EU Data Protection Directive, particularly with regards to the transfer of personally identifiable information outside Europe. Skyhigh found that nearly three quarters (74.3 percent) of the cloud services used by European organisations do not meet the requirements of the current privacy regulations, with data being sent to countries without adequate levels of data protection.  With stricter policies and harsher penalties set to come into force soon, organisations have just a short window to address these issues.

"The growth in cloud services being used in Europe is testament to the benefits users see in the services on offer," said Rajiv Gupta, CEO, Skyhigh Networks. "On the other hand, the IT department needs to make sure that these services don't put the organisation's intellectual property at risk.  This report analyses real-world cloud usage data to shine a light on the extent of Shadow IT."

Echoing the last report, much of the adoption of cloud services still remains under the radar of IT departments with 76 percent of IT professionals not knowing the scope of Shadow IT at their companies but wanting to know.  As such, a key problem that IT teams face is the enforcement of an acceptable use policy.  The report found that IT personnel are often surprised when it is discovered that cloud services that they believe to have been blocked are actually being used by employees. As part of the study, Skyhigh surveyed IT professionals to understand their expected block rates for certain cloud services, and then compared this to actual block rates measured in the wild. The resulting ‘cloud enforcement gap' was surprising, for example 44 percent of IT professionals intended to block YouTube, but only 1 percent of organisations blocked the service comprehensively.

In terms of trends, the report found that 80 percent of all corporate data uploaded to the cloud is sent to just 15 percent of cloud services, which makes it easier for IT teams to prioritise security and risk analysis. The top destination for corporate data in Europe is Microsoft Office 365, followed by Salesforce. However, there's a long tail of services below these top 15 and this is where 73 percent of the compromised accounts, insider threats and malware originate.

"The gap between perception and reality uncovered by this study is worrying, as so much corporate data is being uploaded to cloud services that IT teams believe they have blocked," continued Gupta. "It only takes one misstep to cause a serious security or compliance threat to an organisation. As such, mechanisms should be in place not only to discover which cloud services are being used, but also to analyse the risk profile of these services and understand the true implications for enterprise data security."

Finally, by digging deeper into the statistics, the report has for the first time revealed the behaviour of the most ‘dangerous' cloud user in Europe. This person uploaded greater than 17.5GB of data to 71 high-risk cloud services in a three month period, the equivalent of 8,750 copies of War and Peace. Some of these high-risk services are also used to distribute malware into organisations. This highlights the threat a single user could pose to an organisation and its data.

The full report is available here: www.skyhighnetworks.com/cloud-report

The idea of data as philanthropy received a Silicon Valley boost this week when Informatica and Cloudera announced plans to support the non-profit, DataKind. Both Informatica, which specializes in data integration, and Cloudera, a Hadoop analytics company, will jointly sponsor DataKind programs and projects.

DataKind applies data science to world problems by making data scientists available to work with governments and other mission-organizations that are working on issues such as education, vaccine delivery and poverty eradication. For example, Bayes Impact created a model that would help reduce fraud while maximizing loans to honest people for micro-financier, Zidisha.

Big Data has a long track-record of social justice work. For instance, last year, ITBE’s Don Tennant wrote about Big Data’s use in the fight against human trafficking. Earlier this year, civic technologist Matt Stempeck proposed businesses make data donations to non-profits, which prompted my earlier post about the business value of data philanthropy.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/emerging-trend-data-scientist-as-humanitarian-worker.html

As people increasingly turn to social media after a disaster — both to get information and check to see if their friends and family have been affected — the platforms are creating disaster-specific tools. Twitter Alerts, for example, was launched in September 2013 as a way to highlight emergency information from vetted agencies across the social networking platform. And now Facebook has joined the movement with a new tool, called Safety Check, that’s designed to be an easy way for users to let their friends and family members know if they’re OK after a disaster.

Introduced via a blog post on Oct. 15, the company says that in addition to helping users let others know if they’re safe, Safety Check also allows users to check on people in the affected area and mark friends as safe. The feature works on Facebook’s desktop and mobile applications, including Android and iOS.

When users are within the vicinity of an area affected by a disaster, they will receive a notification from Facebook asking if they’re safe. Selecting “I’m Safe” will post an update on that user’s Facebook page.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Facebook-Safety-Check-Feature-Disasters.html

(MCT) — California is on track to deliver, within two years, an earthquake early warning system that can give 10 seconds to a minute or more warning that a major earthquake is about to hit, officials said Thursday.

The development of such a system would enable gas and electric utilities, railroad operators, crane operators and people time to take evasive action, said Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima. His Senate Bill 135 mandated that an early-warning system be developed.

The bill, which went into effect in January, required the state Office of Emergency Services to develop a statewide earthquake early warning system to alert Californians in advance of dangerous shaking.

The initial cost to build and operate the system for five years is $80 million.

On Thursday, Padilla said that state Office of Emergency Services officials have told him the system is on track to be operational by January 2016.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/California-Officials-Target-2016-Earthquake-Early-Warning.html