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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Jon Seals

Computers today use the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware to initialize the hardware process and then turn over control to the operating system. Therefore, any malware that affects the BIOS is a serious threat to the entire computer system.

To protect computers from malicious software, IT organizations must also attempt to secure the BIOS firmware.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a free document that details computer BIOS security. You can obtain a free copy in our IT Downloads area under the title, “BIOS Protection Guidelines for Servers.”

In the PDF, author Andrew Regenscheid of the Computer Security Division Information Technology Laboratory at NIST breaks the topic into several sections including:

  • BIOS Security Principles
  • Security Guidelines by Update Mechanism
  • Guidelines for Service Processors

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-tools/bios-protection-guide-helps-it-secure-server-firmware.html

The Dollar Shave Club had a bottleneck problem, and his name was Juan. It’s not so much that Juan was the problem, but somehow, any web performance report — no matter how unusual, no matter how frequent — waited on Juan, according to a recent Cite World article. So if Juan was busy, the business user waited…and so did new site features.

Almost every company has a Juan. Often, Juan may be the most efficient, effective developer on staff, but it doesn’t matter. Inevitably, as businesses become more data-driven, there are two many tasks and not enough Juans.

The lesson here: If one developer is holding up your reports, maybe it’s time you looked at a simpler analytics solution. That’s what Todd Lehr, senior vice president of engineering at Dollar Shave Club, learned.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/a-tale-of-two-data-analytics-success-stories.html

WARREN, MICH. – Winter is on its way, and the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division and FEMA remind homeowners to make sure their heating systems and water heaters are in good working condition, especially those damaged by the August flooding. 

“Michigan homeowners and their families may be at risk with flood-damaged furnaces, water heaters and electrical appliances,” warns Michigan State Police Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, State Coordinating Officer and Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.  “If the flood waters reached your heating system or water heater, have them checked for operating safety by experienced repair personnel.”

Dolph A. Diemont, the disaster’s lead federal official, reminded Michigan homeowners that FEMA grants may be available to help repair damaged furnaces and water heaters and replace those destroyed by flood waters.

“Michigan residents with flood damage to their furnaces and water heaters must register with FEMA by the Nov. 24 deadline to be eligible for grants,” Diemont added. 

“If flood damage is found after the November date and the homeowner has failed to register, no FEMA assistance will be available.”

Homeowners who receive a FEMA grant for repairs and who later discover their furnace needs replacing must use the FEMA appeal process for additional grant funds. The homeowner has 60 days to appeal and must submit an estimate for replacement of the furnace on contractor company letterhead. 

Disaster survivors may register online at disasterassistance.gov or by smart phone or tablet at m.fema.gov.  Applicants may call 800-621-3362 or TTY users 800-462-7585.  The toll-free telephone numbers are available 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EDT seven days a week until further notice.

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. Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

English: http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4195

Spanish: http://www.fema.gov/es/disaster/4195

Ever since fusion centers were created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to improve information-sharing between governments, they've often been criticized for their ineffectiveness. But if recent state investment in the centers is any indication, faith in the work they do may be on the rise.

Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Government Technology that as public-safety grant funding from the federal government has slowed, states are dedicating more of their own money to finance fusion centers. He believes that is a solid indicator that the centers “have found their sweet spot” when it comes to intelligence-gathering and communications activities.

“If a governor is looking for money to free up, you can close your fusion center and take that money and use it for some other public-safety endeavor,” Nelson said. “But that’s not what we’re seeing in the data. What we’re seeing is people are investing in the fusion centers.”

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Fusion-Centers-Increased-State-Investment.html

According to a new study from Protiviti, engagement by a company’s board of directors is a critical factor in best managing information security risks.

Overall, engagement and understanding of IT risks at the board level has increased, yet one in five boards still have a low level of comprehension. As the report states, this suggests “their organizations are not doing enough to manage these critical risks or engage the board of directors in a regular and meaningful way.” Further, while large companies do exhibit stronger board-level engagement, it is not a dramatic distinction.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/engaged-boards-lead-to-better-information-security-practices/

NEW YORK — Since Hurricane Sandy made landfall Oct. 29, 2012, FEMA, in partnership with the federal family and state and local governments, has been on the scene helping individuals, government entities and eligible non-profits as New York recovers from the storm’s devastation.

FEMA has funded more than 3,500 Public Assistance projects including repairing and restoring hospitals, schools, transit venues, waterways, parks, beaches, marinas, water treatment plants and public buildings. A roster of services has been restored, including utilities critical to everyday life. Billions of federal dollars have been expended during the past two years. The numbers below tell the story.

2

It has been two years since Hurricane Sandy struck New York.

$13.6 billion

Total FEMA has already provided to New York.

$1 billion

The dollars given to help survivors get back on their feet with temporary housing assistance, disaster unemployment and other needs assistance.

    $3.9 billion

Amount paid by FEMA to 53,288 policyholders for flood claims through its National Flood Insurance Program.

$5.5 billion

Total Public Assistance obligated to communities and certain non-profit organizations to help recover from Hurricane Sandy and includes:

  • $620.6 million for debris removal
  • $1.22 billion for emergency work
  • $3.68 billion for permanent work

    $1.7 billion

Added to permanent repair projects to protect against future damage.        

    $84.7 million

Through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to projects throughout the state to protect against future damage.

$1.5 billion

Small Business Administration loans for homeowners and businesses affected by the storm.

To learn more about FEMA Public Assistance in New York, visit: fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit and dhses.ny.gov/oem/recovery.

For more information, visit http://www.fema.gov/sandy-recovery-office

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.

The two health-care workers from Dallas who were infected with the Ebola virus are now in stable condition, and the NBC reporter who was quarantined has been released from the hospital. That was among the news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which tried to ease concerns and provided informational updates on the Ebola outbreaks during a conference call Oct. 23.

The two Dallas nurses were infected when attending to an Ebola-infected patient who eventually died. NBC reporter Nancy Snyderman had been in quarantine since returning from assignment in Liberia.

The 48 people who had been in contact with the now deceased Eric Duncan have cleared the 21-day incubation period, according to Kashef Ijaz, the principal deputy director for the Division of Global Health Protection in the CDC’s Center for Global Health.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/health/6-States-Monitor-Travelers-West-Africa-for-Ebola.html

With the winter season approaching, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reminds individuals to be prepared for winter storms and extreme cold. While the danger of severe winter weather varies across the country, everyone can benefit by taking a few easy steps now to prepare for emergencies. A first step, regardless of where you live, is to visit the Ready.gov website to find preparedness ideas you can use all year long.

“In our part of the country we make the most of winter,” said FEMA Region VIII Acting Administrator Tony Russell. “However, severe storms and blizzards can create major problems and residents need to take winter weather seriously by taking appropriate steps to prepare.”

Severe winter weather can include snow or subfreezing temperatures, strong winds and ice or heavy rain storms. An emergency supply kit both at home and in the car will help prepare you and your family for winter power outages and icy or impassable roads.

Both kits should include a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. In addition, your home kit should include a three day supply of food and water. Thoroughly check and update your family’s emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:

  • Rock salt to melt ice on walkways,
  • Sand to improve traction on driveways and sidewalks,
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment,
  • And adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm.

When traveling in winter weather conditions, be sure to contact someone both before your departure and when you safely arrive.  Always travel with a cell phone and ensure the battery is charged so you can contact someone in the case of a road emergency.  If dangerous conditions are forecast, it’s often best to delay travel plans.

Finally, make sure to familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a winter storm hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe a winter storm hazard include the following:

  • Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
  • Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
  • Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
  • Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.

For more information and winter preparedness tips, please visit: www.ready.gov/winter-weather or www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/ or www.fema.gov/about-region-viii/winter-weather-readiness.

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.

SYDNEY – NetComm Wireless Limited (ASX: NTC) today announced a wireless Machine-to-Machine (M2M) distribution agreement with Arrow Electronics, Inc., a leading electronic components and enterprise computing solutions provider. Under the agreement, Arrow will distribute NetComm Wireless' cellular M2M products to diverse markets spanning telecommunications, medical, transportation and industrial in North America.

The collaboration combines NetComm Wireless' innovative M2M products with Arrow's expansive market reach to deliver advanced remote management benefits to customers throughout North America. Designed for flexible use across all industry sectors, NetComm Wireless' open platform cellular M2M routers integrate a Software Development Kit (SDK) to enable custom M2M application development for any business function.

"This agreement with NetComm Wireless enhances our M2M portfolio and delivers unique advantages to diverse market segments. NetComm Wireless is globally renowned for its market-leading M2M innovations, and we are pleased to extend these benefits to customers throughout North America," said Joseph Zaloker, director of technical marketing for Arrow’s North American global components segment.

"We look forward to working with Arrow to further strengthen our distribution channel in North America, and add substantially to our global growth objectives. This collaboration provides the scope needed to meet surging demand for flexible M2M products designed to enable diverse applications in a highly fragmented environment," said David Stewart, CEO and Managing Director, NetComm Wireless.

A Fortune 150 company with a global network covering 58 countries, Arrow is an industry-leading supply channel partner that delivers technological solutions to diverse markets. 
 
Enquiries to: Yumi Bondy - NetComm Wireless
Phone: +61 2 9424 2542 or email: yumi.bondy@netcommwireless.com     

 
About NetComm Wireless Limited
NetComm Wireless Limited (ASX: NTC) is a leading developer of innovative broadband products sold globally to telecommunications carriers, core network providers and system integrators. For 32 years NetComm has developed a portfolio of world first data communication products, and is a respected global provider of 3G and 4G wireless devices servicing the major telecommunications carrier, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Rural Broadband markets. NetComm’s products are designed to meet the growing needs of today’s diverse home, business and industrial broadband applications and designed to optimise the performance of global network advancements. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, NetComm has offices in the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, the Middle East and Japan. For more information about NetComm visit: www.netcommwireless.com.

CHICAGO – Today CNA Warranty announced a strategic alliance with Remi®, a leading equipment maintenance and asset management program service provider. CNA plans to expand their broad portfolio of insurance products and coverages to now offer a program to manage the risk of equipment maintenance and repair.   

The new program, CNA Equipment Maintenance Program (EMP) with client service powered by Remi, provides a unique alternative to traditional equipment maintenance agreements offered by original equipment manufacturers (OEM). The program consolidates all extended equipment maintenance agreements under one agreement, offering one renewal and billing date, consistent terms and conditions, and an online portal to manage maintenance histories. Clients are expected to save an average of 10-20% over purchasing individual agreements from the OEM. 

The program is ideal for organizations that purchase high-value equipment and incur significant expenses on maintenance to extend the life of this equipment. Eligible equipment types range from general office equipment to sophisticated laboratory and medical equipment typically only covered by extended OEM service agreements.

"We are very excited to expand our product offerings to include this new program," said Brian Loebach, Senior Vice President, Warranty, CNA. "Remi has been an established provider of equipment maintenance programs for over 15 years. Their reputation compliments our deep expertise in the warranty business, and we are confident this alliance will bring a best-in-class product to our customers."

Dan Schuster, CEO, Remi, said, "We recognize CNA is one of the largest warranty and service contract insurers in the U.S. Together, the strengths of our two companies will make this product a win for all our clients."

For more information on this new product offering, please contact Becky Alfieri at (913)832-6258 or rebecca.alfieri@cna.com

Remi has successfully delivered equipment maintenance programs since 1998 and currently manages 20 statewide programs. In 2014, Remi received the Inc. 5000 Award for the third year in a row for being one of the country's fastest growing privately-held companies. In 2014, Remi was presented with a Bronze Stevie® Award for Business of the Year for the second year in a row during the 12th Annual American Business Awards in Chicago, IL. "Remi" is a service mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. www.theremigroup.com

Serving businesses and professionals since 1897, CNA is the country's eighth largest commercial insurance writer and the 13th largest property and casualty company.  CNA's insurance products include standard commercial lines, specialty lines, surety, marine and other property and casualty coverages. CNA's services include risk management, information services, underwriting, risk control and claims administration. The products and/or services described above are provided by CNA Warranty Services, Inc, and/or CNA Warranty Services of Florida, Inc. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. It is not intended to constitute a binding contract. Please remember that only the equipment contract can provide the actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for a contract holder. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. Use of the term "partnership" and/or "partner" should not be construed to represent a legally binding partnership. CNA is a registered trademark of CNA Financial Corporation. Copyright © 2014 CNA. All rights reserved. For more information, please visit CNA at www.cna.com. "CNA" is a service mark registered by CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE: CNA) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the "CNA" service mark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities.

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