By Paul Kirvan.
The Ebola outbreak shows how esoteric threats shelved in the ‘it will never happen’ folder can erupt to cause major disruption. Two other such threats spring to mind and it may be a good time for a reminder of these:
Solar flares traveling from the sun to the earth contain massive amounts of energy that have been known to disrupt electronic systems. Such an event could potentially cripple the world’s electrical grids for years, causing billions (trillions?) in damages.
Back in 2010, the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously to approve a bill allocating $100 million to protect the US energy grid from this rare but potentially devastating occurrence. The Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act, or H.R. 5026, aimed "to amend the Federal Power Act to protect the bulk-power system and electric infrastructure critical to the defense of the United States against cybersecurity and other threats and vulnerabilities."
Risk management is developing into a strategic function within European organizations. At the same time, risk management can contribute much more as its strategic role grows. Currently, risk managers are not satisfied with the level of mitigation for six of the top 10 risks ‘that keep their CEO awake at night’.
These are the key findings from the 2014 Risk Management Benchmarking Survey conducted earlier this year by the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA). Now its 7th edition, the FERMA Benchmarking Survey this year received a record number of 850 responses from 21 European countries.
Using the results of the survey, FERMA has published its first European Risk and Insurance Report. FERMA President Julia Graham says, "FERMA has said that risk managers are becoming risk leaders - the European Risk and Insurance Report provides evidence to support that view. It, therefore, also endorses FERMA's objective to shape and support risk management as a profession."
Would a football player take to the field without attending training? Would an actor take to the stage without going to rehearsals? Would a pilot take to the skies without having practiced how to fly a plane? I’m sure any sensible person would answer ‘no’ to these questions. Before you know you're good enough to take on a role, you need to have practiced it first. Similarly, before you know your business continuity plan is fit for purpose, you need to have practiced it too.
We all know that every organization should have a business continuity plan – common sense dictates that when disaster strikes you would want to continue functioning as normal as possible. But how many organizations actually test their plans? They can be time consuming, they can be expensive, it can be difficult to get management buy-in and you can often be frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm from the general workforce who just want to get on with their jobs without your disruption. According to a recent study by Databarracks, less than a third of respondents to a survey (29%) claimed they had tested their plan in the last twelve months.
When was the last time you saw a survey on Information security in enterprises? It’s a topic that often means different things to different people. For some it’s antivirus software to stop malware getting in, while for others it’s strict secrecy to stop marketing strategies from getting out. Yet data breaches can happen anywhere in a company and in a multitude of ways. Here are a few aspects that may help broaden your perception of some of the risks.
In a previous post, I discussed ways that small to midsize businesses (SMBs) can take their offices paperless. One of the biggest issues that companies face is finding a better way to store all those files than a clunky file cabinet full of papers.
Many companies rely on servers and cloud services to store their vast collections of files. One up-and-coming company, eFileCabinet, provides software and web services for SMBs to create, organize and store their important documents.
In an email interview with Matt Peterson, president and CEO of eFileCabinet, I discussed why many SMBs haven’t gone paper-free, the future of digital document management and how the eFileCabinet service works.
I asked Peterson why he felt more SMBs haven’t embraced a completely paperless office. In his opinion, people are afraid of change and find conversion of current paper files to be overwhelming:
(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.
(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.
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.”
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.
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.