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Summer Journal

Volume 28, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Too few businesses testing their business continuity plans

Most midsize businesses have business continuity plans but few have tested them, according to The Hartford’s survey of midsize business owners and C-level executives in the US. This shortcoming presents potential risk for businesses, which may be unable to meet client needs due to an interruption in their operation or lose revenue due to a supplier issue.

The Midsize Business Monitor showed that the majority of midsize businesses surveyed (59%) had a formal, documented business continuity plan, one-third (33%) had an informal, verbal plan, and 8% reported having no plan at all. While this may be considered encouraging, what was damning was that only 19% of businesses had actually tested their plan.

The theme for Business Continuity Awareness Week 2015, run by the Business Continuity Institute was testing and exercising and one of the key themes that came out of the week was that a plan that has not been exercised is simply not a plan. You can only tell if a plan works when it is put to the test and it is far better to find out that it doesn’t work during an exercise rather than when the very existence of your business depends on it.

Weather-related events, fires, thefts and supplier interruptions are just a few of the issues that can impact a business,” said Eric Cannon, assistant vice president of property underwriting at The Hartford. “While many midsize businesses have taken the important step of developing a formal continuity plan, testing and updating that plan on a regular basis can mean the difference between a business’s ability to recover quickly versus being unable to meet client needs.

The Hartford survey found that more than one-third (36%) of midsize businesses had been unable to meet a client need due to an interruption in their operation, putting their relationship with that client at risk. While the majority managed to find an alternative supplier, nearly half (48%) lost business to other suppliers and 9% stated this loss was permanent.

Most midsize businesses surveyed (84%) rely on suppliers, vendors or consultants, yet four in 10 had suffered a supplier interruption and almost one-third (32%) had lost revenue due to a supplier problem.

Even the smallest vendor or that vendor’s supplier can impact a business’s ability to meet its customers’ needs. The savvy business owner must take the time to understand the continuity plans of its suppliers and their suppliers in order to fully know who is at the table and who can step in when back-ups are needed,” said Cannon. 

Is this what cyber war will look like?

Reports are saying that several major breaches, including Anthem, the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and United Airlines, which was just recently revealed, were all most likely conducted by the same Chinese cyberespionage group. All of the breaches involved the compromise of personally identifiable information (PII) of customers, employees and/or contractors, but as an eWeek article pointed out this could be a way for one government to spy or gain advantage over another government or country. Paul Kurtz, CEO of TruSTAR Technologies and a former White House cybersecurity advisor, told the publication:

We know that adversaries typically use a common command-and-control infrastructure to attack multiple companies across many sectors of the economy. Given what we've seen, it's not too shocking to learn about other breaches involving the same adversaries.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/have-cyberattacks-become-nation-state-attacks.html

Kansas City, Mo. –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII office announced today there will be a routine biennial exercise conducted with Omaha Public Power District for the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station in Nebraska on Aug. 4, 2015, followed by a public meeting.

Exercise participants will include: the states of Nebraska and Iowa; Washington County in Nebraska; Pottawattamie and Harrison counties in Iowa; and the Omaha Public Power District.

The routine exercise will test the abilities of the states of Nebraska and Iowa, the utility and the participating counties to protect the health and safety of the public living and working in the vicinity of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.

The exercise is a biennial requirement to determine the adequacy of the state and local radiological emergency preparedness and response plans. It will require the activation of emergency facilities by the participating state and local officials. The activities of the state, county and local units of government will be observed and evaluated by the FEMA Region VII Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Program. Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station on-site performance will be observed and evaluated by officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

On Thursday, August 6, 2015, a public meeting will be held to describe and explain the full-scale response exercise process. Since the process of evaluating the full-scale response exercise will take months, the preliminary findings and meeting discussion will be very limited in scope.

Members of the public and the media are invited to attend the meeting, starting at 11 a.m. (CDT) in the Fort Calhoun Volunteer Fire Station, located at 600 N. 14th Street, Fort Calhoun, Neb.

Representatives from FEMA Region VII will chair the meeting and explain the exercise process. A representative from the NRC Region IV office, located in Arlington, Texas, will discuss activities conducted on-site at the power plant during the exercise.

Follow FEMA online at www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Find regional updates from FEMA Region VII at www.twitter.com/femaregion7. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.  The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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.

OKLAHOMA CITY – To date, Oklahomans have received more than $40.7 million in grants, low-interest loans and insurance settlements from the federal government, helping to rebuild the lives of families and help out businesses affected by the severe weather and subsequent flooding during the period of May 5 through June 22.

Nearly 10,000 families have registered for assistance with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The disaster assistance, which totals more than $40.7 million, includes more than $15.5 million approved for homeowners and renters, more than $13.2 million in grants for housing, including home repairs and rental assistance, and more than $2.1 million for Other Needs, such as repair or replacement of personal property essential to the home. It also includes more than $8.6 million in payments to survivors through the National Flood Insurance Program and more than $16.7 million in SBA loans.

SBA has issued 1,342 applications for low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and businesses. More than $15.5 million has been approved for homeowners, and more than $1.2 million in loans has been approved for business owners rebuilding after the storms.

Low-interest SBA disaster loans may be available to businesses of all sizes as well as certain private nonprofit organizations. Homeowners and renters are also eligible for SBA loans for uninsured loss. These loans cannot duplicate benefits from other agencies or compensation from other organizations.

FEMA deployed 88 Disaster Survivor Assistance specialists going door to door in the affected 45 counties. To date, they have visited 18,878 homes and 889 community-based organizations delivering recovery information and guidance. These specialists have also registered 647 survivors for disaster assistance. A total of 4,206 people have visited DRCs.

Survivors may apply for state and federal assistance online with any computer, smartphone, or tablet at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 800-621-3362 to register. Hours to register by phone: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, click http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4222 or visit OEM at www.oem.ok.gov.

Depending on who you talk or listen to, hyper-converged storage is either the future of storage, or it is a hype niche market that is not for everybody, particular not larger environments.

Admittedly, there is a lot of hype in and around convergence, including hyper-convergence. On the other hand, there is also a lot of reality in various converged infrastructure (CI), hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), cluster in a box (CiB) and other solution bundle approaches.

Not every data center is the same; your data center will be different depending on whether you are a small office home office (SOHO), remote office branch office (ROBO) with a few servers, a departmental workgroup, small medium business (SMB), small medium enterprise (SME), large enterprise, web-scale or cloud services provider.

...

http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/storage-management/is-future-storage-converging-around-hyper-converged-1.html

(TNS) - Nearly three years after Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey, its effects linger in the form of heightened anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, a report released Wednesday found.

More attention should be paid to the emotional consequences of housing damage, including mold, the report stated. Surprisingly, children who lived in homes with minor damage were even more likely than those in homes with major damage to feel sad or depressed or have trouble sleeping.

"We're definitely still hearing about the issues and the problems," said David Abramson, a New York University researcher who led the Sandy Child and Family Health Study.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Report-Health-effects-of-Hurricane-Sandy-still-linger.html

SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS, France – At their 18th Technical Plenary meeting held in Philadelphia, PA, on 20-24 July, oneM2M's members agreed on plans for the second release of oneM2M specifications and appointed new chairmen and vice-chairmen to advance the agenda of several key working groups.

 

Advancing oneM2M Specifications; New Deployment Capabilities

Release 1 of the oneM2M specifications was delivered in January 2015 (see www.onem2m.org/release1). This set of 10 specifications covered requirements, architecture, APIs, mappings to common industry protocols, security and management, abstraction and semantics.

 

Work on Release 2 began immediately on delivery of Release 1. Ten new specifications have been identified for Release 2, in addition to updates of the existing Release 1 specifications, driving deployment of the following features:

  • Enablement of Industrial Domain (“Smart Factories”) and of Home Domain (“Smart Home”)
  • Dynamic authorization and end to end security
  • Semantic interoperability
  • Application developer APIs and guidelines

Release 2 of oneM2M is planned for delivery in autumn 2016. In parallel with the development of Release 2, a revised set of Release 1 specifications is in preparation to take account of early implementation experience. These will be released in autumn 2015.

 

The latest draft oneM2M specifications for Release 2 and the revised Release 1 are available at: http://www.onem2m.org/technical/latest-drafts

 

New Leadership Announced for Working Groups on Protocols; Management, Abstraction and Semantics; and Testing

Peter Niblett of IBM was appointed as chairman of the Protocols Working Group, which develops and specifies APIs, protocols and message formats used across oneM2M interfaces, including mapping to commonly used M2M protocols. As IBM Senior Technical Staff Member responsible for the architecture and design of IBM Internet of Things and Mobile Messaging offerings, Mr. Niblett served as vice-chairman of the oneM2M Protocols Working group, as well as in other IoT standardization groups. Shingo Fujimoto of Fujitsu was appointed as vice-chairman of the Protocols Working Group for a second term.

 

Mr. Niblett replaces Dr. Ray Forbes of Ericsson, who has stepped down from his position. Dr. Forbes had led this group from the creation of oneM2M and has successfully driven the production of the four core specifications of oneM2M's first release. Dr. Omar Elloumi, Chairman of the oneM2M Technical Plenary, thanked Dr. Forbes at this meeting for his dedication, service and hard work in leading this group to achieve its targets for Release 1 specifications and continuing with the development of Release 2.

 

In addition, new vice-chairmen were appointed to other working groups. Ms. Jieun Keum of Samsung Electronics was appointed vice-chairman of the Management, Abstraction and Semantics Working Group and Mr. Mahdi Ben Alaya of the LAAS-CNRS research institute was appointed as vice-chairman of the Testing Working Group.

 

About oneM2M

oneM2M is the global standards initiative that covers requirements, architecture, API specifications, security solutions and interoperability for Machine-to-Machine and IoT technologies. oneM2M was formed in 2012 and consists of eight of the world's preeminent standards development organizations: ARIB (Japan), ATIS (U.S.), CCSA (China), ETSI (Europe), TIA (U.S.), TSDSI (India), TTA (Korea), and TTC (Japan), together with six industry fora or consortia (Broadband Forum, Continua Alliance, GlobalPlatform, HGI, Next Generation M2M Consortium and OMA) and over 200 member organizations. oneM2M specifications provide a framework to support applications and services such as the smart grid, connected car, home automation, public safety, and health. oneM2M actively encourages industry associations and forums with specific application requirements to participate in oneM2M, in order to ensure that the solutions developed support their specific needs. For more information, including how to join and participate in oneM2M, see: www.onem2m.org.

CORSHAM, Wiltshire – BT has selected Ark Data Centres Limited as a new UK data centre supplier and is adding Ark’s sites in the south of England to its BT Compute portfolio to meet the growing demand for sustainable and compliant cloud-based services. Under the multi-year contract, BT will use Ark’s state-of-the-art data centres to develop new managed cloud services for organisations where enhanced security is paramount; such as central and local government, defence and security, police and health.

 

Following a detailed and full analysis of the UK data centre market, BT chose Ark Data Centres’ campuses for their high security, outstanding efficiency and low total cost of ownership, and for Ark’s extensive industry and public sector experience. Thanks to unique cooling technology, Ark’s data centres are the most environmentally efficient in the UK. They save Ark’s customers on average around £1.1 million per megawatt and 6,000 tonnes of taxable carbon annually compared with an average data centre facility.

 

“We were, quite simply, looking for the best data centre site in the UK and Ark stood out with its unique data centre design,” said Neil Lock, Vice President, BT Compute, BT Global Services. “Ark’s commitment to delivering secure and sustainable services with the lowest possible environmental impact complements our efforts to help our cloud customers reduce their carbon emissions too. Ark also impressed us with their ability to work as a partner in delivering current and future innovative cloud and hosting products to our customers.”

 

Ark’s flexible data centre design uses highly energy efficient modular data centre systems, allowing BT to deploy new services quickly, and expand the data centres at the rapid rate their business growth demands. The IT ready solution allows new racks to be added as needed, with a go-live of just 48 hours – saving weeks compared to standard data centre deployments.

 

As well as providing best-in-class data centre facilities, Ark also adheres to strict facilities management and operations practices to maintain the highest service levels. In May, Ark Data Centres received Uptime Institute’s Management & Operations (M&O) Stamp of Approval for operational excellence for both its sites.

 

“We are delighted to support BT as its new data centre partners. We not only provide world leading data centres, we also pride ourselves in running and managing all our data centres to the highest standards,” said Huw Owen, CEO, Ark. “Our customers know they can rely on maximum data centre performance and uptime, as well as the highest security levels and the highest efficiency in the industry. We are looking forward to delivering those benefits to BT and its customers.”

 

About Ark Data Centres

Ark Data Centres designs, constructs and operates the UK's most efficient data centres. It has pioneered the use of free air-cooling, a unique monitoring system, real time dynamic cooling and load matching technology that gives its clients the lowest TCO along with the greatest operational flexibility. Dedicated to innovation, Ark’s modular, state-of-the-art sites in Hampshire and Wiltshire will be the largest in Europe and were the first to contractually guarantee power usage efficiency (PUE) for clients.

An independent company that prides itself on being easy to do business with, Ark Data Centres boasts the lowest total cost of ownership in the world and has saved both millions of pounds and millions of tonnes of carbon for organisations in the defence, telecommunications, government and financial services sectors. Capable of operating at the highest levels of security, Ark’s incremental approach to building out its data centre campuses means it is constantly innovating, building to the latest operational requirements of its clients and minimising the operational legacy. Through an optimised logistics support chain it has and will continue to deliver operational data centres in just 3-4 months.

www.arkdatacentres.co.uk, Tel: 0845 389 3355, Twitter.com/arkdatacentres

The cloud environment you know today will be very different from the cloud environment you’ll see in a couple of years – just as it’s different from the one you saw a couple of years ago. As the cloud evolves, cloud security compliance protocols will evolve, too. As a managed service provider (MSP), it’s important to always be mindful of the latest codes of compliance for cloud data storage and cloud-based file sharing across any and all industries.

As lawmakers and governing bodies continue to gain an understanding of the impact that cloud computing has on the modern business community, the rules being put in place will become more stringent. They’ll also be revised and amended in an attempt to evolve with the cloud space.

The list of compliance regulations already in place includes PCI DSS (The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), SOX (The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002), GLBA (The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), and HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) – and that’s just to name a few. As noted by Paul Korzeniowski for CIO.com, this list will only grow longer.

...

http://mspmentor.net/infocenter-cloud-based-file-sharing/073015/ensuring-compliance-evolving-cloud-security-protocols

After West Africa's 2014 Ebola epidemic magnified awareness about the deadly virus' effects -- and local response tactics -- Onslow County Health Department revisited its methods for prevention and management of communicable diseases.

"Ebola, it really took America by storm," said Pamela Brown, health department spokeswoman. "It really captured the public's imagination. It also gave us the opportunity to highlight the importance of public health. We are constantly preparing with our partners for just such a thing."

Ebola is a rare viral hemorrhagic fever that can spur severe headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or "unexplained hemorrhage," according to information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history. "Two imported cases, including one death, and two locally acquired cases in health care workers were reported in the United States."

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/health/North-Carolina-County-Receives-Grant-to-Strengthen-Ebola-Response.html

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