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Summer Journal

Volume 28, Issue 3

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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.

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Portlight Strategies (Portlight) announced an agreement that will increase preparedness awareness for people with disabilities in the event of natural or man-made disasters. The agreement aligns with FEMA’s commitment to inclusive emergency management by partnering with disability organizations and community leaders who serve the whole community at the local level.

“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are also reinforcing our commitment to serving the whole community before, during and after disasters,” said Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator. “By having preparedness plans and thinking ahead, individuals, families and communities will be ready to respond to these events when they occur.”

The new partnership will bolster working relationships with state, local, tribal and territorial emergency managers to encourage including people with disabilities in planning.  It will also provide information so people understand the disaster risks in their area. By evaluating their own individual needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, people can be better prepared.

Some key highlights from the agreement show that FEMA and Portlight will:

  • Participate in training events and natural and simulation exercises, drills, and discussions focused on emergency preparedness and lessening the impact of disasters;
  • Share operational practices that work well and that may be adapted to make improvements in service delivery and support community resilience and accessibility for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs; and
  • Share research-based emergency management data and information and training experience and expertise before, during, and after disasters.

"We're excited about this next important step in our relationship with FEMA and the ways it will enhance our ability to serve the disability community in times of disaster,” said Paul Timmons Jr., Portlight Co-founder and Board Chair. “It embodies our philosophy that there must be nothing about us without us.”

The primary mission of Portlight Strategies, Inc. (Portlight) is to provide disaster relief and recovery services specifically for people with disabilities and to facilitate accessible services—compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)—from all providers, whether governmental or non-governmental.

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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 www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  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.

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

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