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Summer Journal

Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

The world around us is constantly changing. Some say we now live and work in a VUCA environment, characterised by:

  • volatility
  • uncertainty
  • complexity
  • ambiguity


So how do businesses survive (and thrive) when nothing ever stands still? Perhaps part of the answer is in continuous learning and development, which can enable individuals to be agile and responsive to each and every challenge.

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2014/08/are-you-equipped-for-future-of-work.html

GALVESTON — Nearly six years after Hurricane Ike, one of the nation’s deadliest hurricanes, struck this city, boarded-up and dilapidated houses and empty lots still punctuate the streets. Many houses that remain are decorated with “for sale” signs.

“This was a thriving neighborhood,” Tina Kolunga said as she drove down a street lined with abandoned houses. On another street, she pointed out large patches of grass where homes and public housing used to sit. Kolunga still lives in Galveston, though she struggled for years after Ike to rebuild her home.  

“This used to be one of the busiest restaurants in town,” Kolunga said, pointing out a rundown white building still worn from water damage. 

As Kolunga toured the damage that remains years after Ike, recounting the ongoing recovery struggles of her neighbors, state lawmakers across town worried about the future of this coastal town and the surrounding region. At a hearing of the Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System, held just a few miles from Kolunga's neighborhood, on Texas A&M University's Galveston campus Monday, experts told legislators that the coast is still not adequately prepared for a hurricane like Ike, which in September 2008 left billions of dollars of damage and at least 100 people dead in its wake.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Texas-Gulf-Coast-Still-Battered-From-Ike.html

Over the past several years, most (but not all) states made strides in reducing their inventory of bridges in poor condition.

Friday marked the seven-year anniversary of the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis. The tragedy and subsequent bridge failures have helped focus public attention on the issue, leading some lawmakers to support additional investment in infrastructure.

A Governing story published in June examined how some states managed to significantly cut their tallies of structurally deficient bridges.

In the six years following the Minneapolis collapse, the number of structurally deficient bridges declined 14 percent nationwide.

To view trends for a particular state, select it in the menu below. Charts illustrate changes for structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges for the past 20 years.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Bridge-Conditions-Changed-in-Your-State.html

Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness, requires an annual National Preparedness Report (NPR) that summarizes national progress in building, sustaining and delivering the 31 core capabilities outlined in the National Preparedness Goal (the Goal). The intent of the NPR is to provide the Nation—not just the federal government—with practical insights on core capabilities that can inform decisions about program priorities, resource allocation, and community actions. This report marks the third annual NPR, updating and expanding upon findings from the previous two years. The 2014 NPR highlights accomplishments achieved or reported during 2013.

In 2014 the Nation faced a range of incidents that challenged our collective security and resilience and confirmed the need to enhance preparedness across the whole community. Incidents like the Boston Marathon bombings, wildfires, drought, mass shootings, and ongoing management of several long-term recovery efforts, required activating capabilities across the five  mission areas outlined in the Goal—Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery. 

Overarching Findings on National Issues

 In addition to key findings for each of the 31 core capabilities, the 2014 NPR outlines cross-cutting findings that involve multiple mission areas:

  • Embracing a new approach to disaster recovery: Major events, such as Hurricane Sandy and the severe 2012-2013 drought, have served as catalysts for change in national preparedness programs, drawing clearer links between post-disaster recovery and pre-disaster mitigation activities.
  • Launching major national initiatives: The Federal Government has initiated several national-level policy and planning initiatives that bring unity of effort to preparedness areas, including critical infrastructure security and resilience, cybersecurity, recovery capabilities, and climate change.
  • Managing resource uncertainties: Budget uncertainties have created preparedness challenges at state and local levels of government, resulting in increased ingenuity, emphasis on preparedness innovations, and whole community engagement.
  • Partnering with tribal nations: Tribal partners are now more systematically integrated into preparedness activities. However, opportunities remain for Federal agencies and tribal nations to increase engagement and expand training opportunities on relevant policies.

The Nation Continues to Make Progress

The 2014 NPR identifies five core capabilities that require ongoing sustainment to meet expected future needs: Interdiction and Disruption, On-scene Security and Protection, Operational Communications, Public and Private Services and Resources, and Public Health and Medical Services.

Opportunities for Improvement

The 2014 NPR identifies the following core capabilities as national areas for improvement: Cybersecurity, Health and Social Services, Housing, Infrastructure Systems, and Long-term Vulnerability Reduction. Cybersecurity, Health and Social Services, and Housing have been areas for improvement for three consecutive years. Several ongoing initiatives, including implementation of Executive Order 13636 on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, Presidential Policy Directive 21 on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, and the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy will enable continued progress in these areas.

Key Factors for Future Progress

The 2014 NPR represents the third opportunity for the Nation to reflect on progress in strengthening national preparedness and to identify where preparedness gaps remain. Looking across all 31 core capabilities outlined in the Goal, the NPR provides a national perspective on critical preparedness trends for whole community partners to use to inform program priorities, to allocate resources, and to communicate with stakeholders about issues of shared concern.

Resources

Ebola is the big news story of the moment, all the media are covering it and they seem to be competing with each other to raise the fear level. ‘Out of control’, ‘deadly’, ‘terror’, all those words appear in even the more restrained media publications.

Many of us in the business continuity field will have had someone ask what planning we should do; hopefully this article will help you with that and also give you ammunition to combat some of the media excesses!

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2014/08/helpful-advice-on-ebola-for-business_6.html

The ‘not invented here’ syndrome was something that forward-looking corporations set out to beat about 20 years ago. If a different product or service could be more cost-effectively bought in rather than being designed and manufactured in-house, then it was bought in. The challenge was to overcome misplaced pride and internal turf wars, where being asked to give up control over development could be construed as an attack on credibility, status or both. Some departments resisted by refusing to work with something that was ‘not invented here’. Now, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) may be plagued with a similar issue, where companies cannot look outside what they already have – but for a different reason.

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/disaster-recovery-as-a-service-and-the-new-not-invented-here-syndrome/

Master data management (MDM) solutions are used for much more than customer and product master data. According to a recent Information Difference report, MDM is also used for asset, location, supplier, finance and personnel data.

“Indeed it has become quite common for MDM efforts to begin in a relatively low-key area such as maintaining relatively stable reference data (country codes, etc.) as a toe in the water before broadening the initiative out to deal with more volatile master data domains,” the “MDM Landscape Q2 2014” report states. You can read the full report on The Information Difference’s site.

That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to broadly apply MDM technology. As both Forrester and Gartner analysts as well as several IT Business Edge readers have pointed out, MDM is often misunderstood and misapplied within organizations.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/master-data-management-its-not-just-used-for-master-data-anymore.html

Hawaii Residents and Visitors Urged to Follow Direction of Local Officials

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its National Watch Center in Washington and its Pacific Area Office in Oahu, is continuing to monitor Hurricanes Iselle and Julio in the Pacific Ocean. FEMA is in close contact with emergency management partners in Hawaii.

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Iselle is about 900 miles east southeast of Honolulu with sustained winds of 85 MPH, and Hurricane Julio is about 1,650 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii, with sustained winds of 75 MPH. Tropical storm conditions are possible on the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday. These adverse weather conditions may spread to Maui County and Oahu Thursday night or Friday. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Hawaii County, and tropical storm watches are in effect for Maui County and Oahu.

“I urge residents and visitors to follow the direction of state and local officials,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “Be prepared and stay tuned to local media – weather conditions can change quickly as these storms approach.”

When disasters occur, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and numerous private interest groups who provide emergency assistance required to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.

Although there have been no requests for federal disaster assistance at this time, FEMA has personnel on the ground who are positioned in the Pacific Area Office year round. An Incident Management Assistance Team has also been deployed to Hawaii to coordinate with state and local officials, should support be requested, or needed.

At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories.

Safety and Preparedness Tips

  • Residents and visitors in potentially affected areas should be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan for their pets.
  • Storm surge can be the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical storm or hurricane. It poses a significant threat for drowning and can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area. Storm surge can sometimes cut off evacuation routes, so do not delay leaving if an evacuation is ordered for your area.
  • Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.
  • Get to know the terms that are used to identify severe weather and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued.

For a Tropical Storm:

  • A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 39 MPH or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
  • A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less.

For Flash Flooding:

  • A Flash Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding.
  • A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring.
  • A Flash Flood Emergency is issued when severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is imminent or ongoing.

More safety tips on hurricanes and tropical storms can be found at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

Everyone likes to get new stuff. Heck, that’s what Christmas is all about, and why it has emerged as a primary driver of the world economy.

In the data center, new stuff comes in the form of hardware and/or software, which lately have formed the underpinnings of entirely new data architectures. But while capital spending decisions almost always focus on improving performance, reducing costs or both, how successful has the IT industry been in achieving these goals over the years?

According to infrastructure consulting firm Bigstep, the answer is not very. The group recently released an admittedly controversial study that claims most organizations would see a 60 percent performance boost by running their data centers on bare metal infrastructure. Using common benchmarks like Linpack, SysBench and TPC-DC, the group contends that multiple layers of hardware and software actually hamper system performance and diminish the investment that enterprises make in raw server, storage and network resources. Even such basic choices as the operating system and dual-core vs. single-core processing can affect performance by as much as 20 percent, and then the problem is compounded through advanced techniques like hyperthreading and shared memory access.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/performance-degradation-is-your-data-center-over-engineered.html

Everyone likes to get new stuff. Heck, that’s what Christmas is all about, and why it has emerged as a primary driver of the world economy.

In the data center, new stuff comes in the form of hardware and/or software, which lately have formed the underpinnings of entirely new data architectures. But while capital spending decisions almost always focus on improving performance, reducing costs or both, how successful has the IT industry been in achieving these goals over the years?

According to infrastructure consulting firm Bigstep, the answer is not very. The group recently released an admittedly controversial study that claims most organizations would see a 60 percent performance boost by running their data centers on bare metal infrastructure. Using common benchmarks like Linpack, SysBench and TPC-DC, the group contends that multiple layers of hardware and software actually hamper system performance and diminish the investment that enterprises make in raw server, storage and network resources. Even such basic choices as the operating system and dual-core vs. single-core processing can affect performance by as much as 20 percent, and then the problem is compounded through advanced techniques like hyperthreading and shared memory access.

(MCT) — While Anniston, Ala., schools have not been the scene of the sort of firearm violence that has struck other schools around the country in recent years, district officials and others across the state are taking steps to permit a safer outcome if such a situation develops.

The tactic: To let all first responders know the layout of the school before an emergency arises. 

During the summer, detailed 3-D virtual maps were created revealing the nooks and crannies inside each of Anniston City Schools’ seven school buildings, at a cost to the district of between $2,000 and $3,000 per school, said Superintendent Darren Douthitt.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Virtual-Alabama-Grows-Schools-Map-Safety-Program.html