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The American Red Cross is one of the key partners working with emergency managers at all levels of government. When disasters strike Red Cross staff and volunteers play key roles in humanitarian assistance. As we moved into the 21st Century the Red Cross has been criticized for the manner in which it has provided services.

There are always two sides to every story. To get the Red Cross’ perspective, we submitted questions to the Red Cross. Harvey Johnson, senior vice president for Disaster Cycle Services provided responses to those questions below. Johnson’s career path included service in the in the United States Coast Guard where he served for 30 years, and also previously as FEMA’s deputy administrator and chief operating officer.

Q: Over the last few years the American Red Cross has regionalized its services and changed some aspects of its service delivery model. How would you describe those changes?

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/The-Red-Cross-Responds-to-Disastersand-the-Critics.html

AUSTIN, Texas—FEMA announced today more than $12.5 million is being awarded to support state and local efforts that reduce the impact of future disasters.

The fundingthrough FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Programis provided in addition to the federal aid that supports the recovery following a major disaster declaration.  This year, disasters were declared following severe storms and flooding in March, April and June; the $12.5 million in grants is the total HMGP assistance for all three.

HMGP grants to the state are typically 15 percent of the total FEMA assistance provided for recovery. While funding for disaster recovery is provided only for the affected counties, HGMP funds are available for communities throughout the state.

Some recent examples of HMGP projects around the state:

  • Cooke County’s safe room rebate program, which provided up to $3,000 to homeowners who built tornado shelters or safe rooms.
  • Bastrop County’s hazardous fuels mitigation program, which thinned 4,000 acres of woodland and vegetative debris, effectively limiting the source of fuel for wildfires.
  • The ongoing, multi-year home buyout program in Harris County, where since 1995, more than 2,000 homes have been removed from the high-risk flood zone.
  • The City of San Marcos’ early-warning system of 14 sirens placed on poles at strategic locations around the community.

The federal share of each approved project is 75 percent. FEMA provides the funding to the state, which sets project priorities and administers the program.  Eligible projects may be funded for or through:

  • State agencies;
  • Federally-recognized tribes;
  • Local governments, and
  • Private nonprofit organizations.

Individuals do not apply directly to the state, but their local government may apply on their behalf.

“Studies have shown that every $1 spent on mitigation avoids $4 that might have been spent for disaster recovery,” said Federal Coordinating Officer William J. Doran III, who is in charge of FEMA’s current operations in Texas.

For additional information on the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, go to www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance.  For examples of successful mitigation projects, visit www.fema.gov/mitigation-best-practices-portfolio.

# # #

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.

Download fema.gov/mobile-app to locate open shelters and disaster recovery centers, receive severe weather alerts, safety tips and much more.

The Business Continuity Institute - Oct 13, 2016 16:36 BST

Natural disasters may be killing fewer people, but they are becoming more frequent and costing more money to recover from, according to a new report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The World Disasters Report 2016 noted that forced migration is at its highest level since the Second World War; the number and scale of disasters triggered by natural hazards are increasing; globalization and urbanization means outbreaks and other health crises are harder to contain; and the impact of climate change is taking its toll – 2015 was the hottest year on record with 32 major droughts, double the ten-year average.

Investing in resilience can yield a wide range of benefits, but the central rationale and common focus for disaster risk management and climate-change adaptation is associated with saving lives, reducing losses and supporting both individuals and communities to bounce back from disasters quickly and effectively.

Despite broad recognition that investing in resilience before a disaster can save lives and money, only 40 cents in every US$100 spent on international aid is invested in preparedness and measures to reduce disaster risk. A lack of global investment in strengthening community resilience is leaving tens of millions of people exposed to predictable, preventable and catastrophic disaster risks with expensive consequences.

Between 1991 and 2010, the impact of recorded disaster events in poor countries resulted in over US$840 billion of financial losses. Yet, over the same period, only 0.4% of the US$3.3 trillion spent on aid was dedicated to prevention or risk reduction. Economic losses from extreme weather events are now in the range of US$150 - US$200 billion annually,

Investing in resilience is the best method we have for protecting the lives, livelihoods and dignity of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy. “Business as usual is no longer acceptable. It will only lead to more silent suffering and deeper poverty. We must work along a continuum – of preparedness, early response, recovery and resilience building.

It is clear that something must change,” said co-editors David Sanderson and Anshu Sharma. “But responding to today’s humanitarian challenges is not just a question of finance. We must invest in solutions and partnerships that produce future resilience – livelihoods and social cohesion, health and psychosocial well-being, supporting communities to withstand future shocks and adversity.

Building on the report, the IFRC is also calling on partners to support and join the One Billion Coalition for Resilience – a global initiative to support communities around the world to take action to strengthen their safety, health and well-being. Launched in late 2015, the initiative seeks to build a broad coalition of partners from across all sectors to support 1 billion people by 2025.

The Business Continuity Institute - Oct 13, 2016 11:57 BST

On the morning of 22nd March 2016, Brussels airport was hit by a deadly terrorist attack that killed 32 people and left more than 300 injured. Around 25 million people travel through Brussels airport annually and more than half of those passengers will be on business trips.

The chances of being involved in a terrorist attack are still incredibly remote, but for those travelling through the airport that morning it would not have felt that way. Nor would it have in Paris in November 2015, or more recently in September in New York. The increasing regularity of critical events worldwide means more organizations need to be able to instantly locate and alert employees of any nearby risks and keep them safe from harm.

According to a report by Strategy Analytics, almost half of the world’s employees will work away from a single office by 2020. The effect of globalisation on business means employees are regularly travelling between locations, often to different cities and countries. Keeping mobile workers safe from harm is rising up the corporate agenda.

Travelling employees, and the wider mobile workforce, face a range of risks that could impact on their safety and security. These threats are not just limited to acts of terror, but include everything from fires and natural disasters to flooding and building closures. Organizations have a duty of care to protect their employees, yet according to Ernst & Young’s most recent Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey, only 30% of companies have a system in place to track business travellers.

When an incident takes place companies need to respond effectively to gain clear visibility of the crisis, and deploy resources to ensure employee safety. But how can organizations achieve this? One solution is to implement a critical communications platform to manage all emergency notifications, help ensure employees are located, and resources are deployed quickly and effectively during an emergency.

In a crisis, every minute matters. Organizations no longer have time to work through manual call lists to send out an emergency cascade. A secure, independent communications platform ensures that the right message gets through to the right people at the right time; even when traditional routes of communication are unavailable.

The Everbridge platform has the ability to send emergency notifications out via more than 100 different communication channels and devices, including SMS, email, voice-to-text, social media alerts and app notifications, ensuring the lines of communication between an organization and its employees can remain open in any situation.

Critical communication platforms that facilitate effective two-way communication have proved invaluable during emergency situations. For example, during the terrorist attacks in Brussels in March 2016 the GSM network went offline, making standard mobile communication impossible. The citizens of the Belgian capital were unable to send messages to family, friends and work colleagues to let them know they were safe or in need of assistance. The team at Brussels Airport made its public Wi-Fi discoverable and free to join, allowing anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled device to connect, send and receive messages.

Organizations that used critical communications technology to send out an emergency notification were safe in the knowledge that the message would be able get through to the right people, despite the obstacles. For an organization’s crisis management and business continuity practices, the flexibility that a multi-modal platform such as Everbridge provides is essential to ensuring that a high level of responses are received quickly when emergency notifications are sent.

These responses allow organizations to rapidly build a clear picture of an incident, and understand what impact it is having on its employees. To automate this process, templates can be built into communications platforms so employees can respond quickly in an emergency - facilitating a much higher response rate. A simple “I am safe” / “I need help” template means companies know within minutes which employees are at risk, which are in danger and where best to focus their efforts.

The most advanced critical communications platforms offer organizations more than just static location data. Everbridge’s ‘Safety Connection’ application has the capability to provide dynamic location insight, enabling an organization to know where its employees plan to be and responding automatically if they do not check in and update their status to ‘safe’. The safe corridor function means employees travelling to a location deemed unsafe can check in regularly with the organization, and if they do not check in, the platform automatically sends an emergency alert notifying management of the change in status and making communicating with that person a priority.

Should an employee inadvertently stray into an unfamiliar or dangerous area, they can also use the Everbridge smartphone application to trigger an SOS alert. Once this panic button has been pressed, the platform immediately sends an alert to the organization detailing the employee’s location and any relevant audio or visual data, enabling them to alert the emergency services.

By enabling employers to be aware of when their employees are travelling and where to, the organization is better prepared to handle a crisis. The company will know which airport employees are travelling to, which hotel they are staying at, where their meetings are taking place and when. This information can then be cross-referenced with a global real-time feed of international incidents, making it possible to inform employees when their travel might be disrupted or to avoid specific danger zones. For example, if a port or airport is being blockaded by protesters the company can warn the employee in advance. If riots are taking place in a suburb of a city where an employee is staying, the employer can warn them to remain in the hotel.

Employers have to accept three truths: in the future employees will travel more; the world will continue to become more uncertain; employees will expect more from their employers when they are travelling for work. Combined, this could be considered as a HR headache but in reality it is an opportunity. It can help engage employees, protect their safety and increase their loyalty to a company. A fully functional critical communications platform provides the reassurance and immediacy to support employees if and when the unexpected happens.

As part of Everbridge’s commitment to helping improve business continuity and emergency response practices for organizations around the world, we will be exhibiting at the BCI World Conference 2016 in London. Here, Imad Mouline, Chief Technology Officer at Everbridge and other members of our team will be discussing the importance of effective crisis communication and how communications technology can help organizations of all sizes better protect their infrastructure and people.

Everbridge are Gold Sponsors of the BCI World Conference where you can visit them on Stand 11 to find out more about their unique offer. The BCI World Conference and Exhibition takes place on the 8th and 9th November at the Novotel London West Hotel. The largest business continuity conference and exhibition in the UK, BCI World has a packed programme as well as an exhibition hall promoting all the BC products and services you need. Don't miss out, book your place today.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:00

Why Improve Risk Management?

Over the years in 30 countries, I have had many discussions with directors and executives about enterprise risk management (ERM). The discussions have ranged from what it is and why it matters to how it should be implemented. With respect to the “what is it” question, I have always believed that a fundamental purpose of ERM is to provide the discipline and control to ensure that risk management capabilities are improved continuously in a constantly changing business environment. This underlying purpose frames the question, “why improve risk management?”

We believe there are six fundamental reasons for improving risk management. Each serves to help elevate risk management to a higher level and drive improvement of risk management capabilities in a changing business environment. We discuss them below.

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http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/improve-risk-management/

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:00

If I Were Launching an MSP Now | Nancy Sabino

Nancy Sabino, co-founder and CEO of Katy, Texas-based SabinoCompTech, shares three suggestions she'd apply if she were launching an MSP from scratch today.

1. Standardize as much as possible – Create repeatable processes surrounding those standards. What that means is, have certain kinds of computers that you use, certain servers, routers, switches. Stay within certain families that you can create processes around for installing, for setting up, for upgrading, essentially for every piece of what we do, just to make everything easier. It helps when you're a one-man show. If you're super swamped, this allows you to work a little bit faster because you're working off of muscle memory, following the processes that you've created for your standardized services or hardware. And then as you grow, it helps to already know or have in place certain processes that you can train your team on, which then ensures quality by following the same processes.

...

http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/if-i-were-launching-msp-now-nancy-sabino

We recently published our Forrester Wave™: Digital Risk Monitoring, Q3 2016 report. We evaluate nine of the top vendors in this emerging market that offer solutions to continuously monitor “digital” -- i.e., social, mobile, web, and dark web -- channels to detect, prevent, and mitigate any type of risk event posing a threat to organizations today.

Why now

It’s almost 2017 and yet companies are more exposed and less equipped to handle the slew of risks that run rampant across countless digital channels today. Digital risk monitoring (DRM) solutions are increasingly valuable for organizations because:

...

http://blogs.forrester.com/nick_hayes/16-10-11-introducing_the_forrester_wave_digital_risk_monitoring_q3_2016

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:00

Recovering from Hurricane Matthew

Many organizations in the southeastern United States recovering from Hurricane Matthew are still dealing with downed power lines, swollen rivers and blocked roads. As soon as they are able to, business owners should start assessing damage to their property and begin their insurance recovery process. They will need to assess not only physical damage to their property but also any income losses that may have occurred as a result of flooded and blocked roads and bridges, interrupted shipping and air transport, evacuations, and closures by civil authority.

They need to gather the information they’ll need for their insurer, and also be familiar with their policy and policy language. “In the runup to a storm, we always hear insurance executives on the news assuring the public that they will take care of things—that policyholders can rest assured,” Marshall Gilinsky, a shareholder in the insurance recovery group at Anderson Kill P.C., said in a statement. “But it’s vital for businesses not to assume everything’s going to be taken care of automatically. Storm-related claims can run into a snarl of unclear policy provisions, sublimits and exclusions, and occasionally obstreperous insurance company adjusters. A false sense of security leads easily to lost insurance proceeds.”

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/recovering-from-hurricane-matthew/

Early estimates put the insured property loss to U.S. residential and commercial properties from Hurricane Matthew at up to $6 billion.

While this figure covers wind and storm surge damage to about 1.5 million properties in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, CoreLogic’s estimate does not include insured losses related to additional flooding, business interruption or contents.

Parts of North Carolina are expected to remain under dangerous flood risk for at least the next three days, according to the state’s governor Pat McCrory in a report by the Capital Weather Gang blog.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=4617

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:00

Point-of-Sale Security Still a Big Problem

Point-of-sale (POS) systems seem to be a growing target for hackers. In early August, security expert Brian Krebs reported on his Krebs on Security site that Oracle's MICROS POS division had suffered a breach in its customer support portal for companies using its point-of-sale card payment systems.

Attacks like this and a recent data breach involving Eddie Bauer Stores in the U.S. and Canada are just a few examples of hackers targeting POS systems.

Hackers always look for low-hanging fruit, security experts point out, and POS systems are relatively easy targets because they tend to have older, easily hacked security protocols.

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http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/point-of-sale-security-still-a-big-problem.html

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:00

The Rising Demand for On-Demand Resources

Enterprise workloads are becoming increasingly erratic, in terms of volume and data dependency, which is making it difficult to plan even medium-term infrastructure needs with any degree of accuracy.

This is putting a damper on the deployment of traditional data center infrastructure, which can often take years to plan and construct, by which time the assumptions used to guide its development are usually way off the mark. Instead, the industry is witnessing a distinct upsurge in data center on-demand (DCoD) strategies that rely on a mixed bag of hyperconverged infrastructure, abstract data architectures and cloud computing.

According to Wise Guy Reports, the DCoD market is growing at nearly a 20 percent compound annual rate, which will likely produce close to $2 billion in revenue by 2022. The field is set to experience a dramatic jump over the next year or so as container technologies make it easier to encapsulate full data ecosystems in a portable, abstract environment capable of relocating to remote central or, increasingly, edge processing facilities. This gives the enterprise unprecedented ability to shift resources and applications to regions where activity is heaviest and then just as easily pull them back on the downturn.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-rising-demand-for-on-demand-resources.html

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:00

FEMA to Evaluate Readiness of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will evaluate a biennial emergency preparedness exercise at the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Berwick, PA. The exercise will occur during the week of October 17th, 2016 to assess the ability of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility.

“These drills are held every other year to evaluate government’s ability to protect public health and safety,” said MaryAnn Tierney, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region III. “We will assess state and local emergency response capabilities within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone as well as the adjacent support jurisdictions within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Within 90 days post-exercise, FEMA will send a report of their evaluation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for use in licensing decisions. The final report will be available to the public approximately 120 days after the exercise.

FEMA will present preliminary findings of the exercise in a public meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, October 21, 2016 at the East Mountain Business Center, 1190 East Mountain Blvd., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702. Scheduled speakers include representatives from FEMA, NRC, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

At the public meeting, FEMA may request that questions or comments be submitted in writing for review and response. Written comments may also be submitted after the meeting by emailing FEMAR3NewsDesk@fema.dhs.gov or by mail to:

MaryAnn Tierney

Regional Administrator

FEMA Region III

615 Chestnut Street, 6th Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19106

FEMA created the Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Program to (1) ensure the health and safety of citizens living around commercial nuclear power plants would be adequately protected in the event of a nuclear power plant accident and (2) inform and educate the public about radiological emergency preparedness.

REP Program responsibilities cover only “offsite” activities, that is, state and local government emergency planning and preparedness activities that take place beyond the nuclear power plant boundaries. Onsite activities continue to be the responsibility of the NRC.

Additional information on FEMA’s REP Program is available online at FEMA.gov/Radiological-Emergency-Preparedness-Program.

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. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.

It’s 2016, yet IT experts are still challenged with how to effectively and efficiently cool their data center. The cooling process accounts for 40 percent of all power consumed by data centers, so this question is top of mind for operators. Ensuring optimal cooling in a data center not only lowers operational expenditure, but reduces the strain on equipment cooling mechanisms, extending the lifespan of the hardware; and freeing up power for IT equipment, increasing equipment uptime. The decision to invest in cooling infrastructure is easy, however choosing the method with which you regulate temperature within the data center can be more challenging.

Cooling and efficiency strategies are constantly evolving, with companies like Microsoft going so far as to drop a self-contained data center into the ocean. However, you do not need to plunge your equipment into the sea or move to the Arctic to keep yours cool. Hot-aisle containment (HAC) and cold-aisle containment (CAC) are the primary method in which leading businesses are reducing the use of energy and optimizing equipment performance within the data center. This proven and highly effective methodology of cooling has emerged as a new best practice within the industry.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/10/11/impacts-cooling-energy-efficiency-todays-data-center-design/

North America represents 44 percent of the global data center market, and Northern Virginia’s Data Center Alley is the region’s crown jewel.

A convergence of fiber networks, undersea cables, and its many existing data centers continue to attract a disproportionately large share of all data center construction and leasing leasing activity to the area, and today, the market is only getting hotter.

Allen Tucker, managing director at the commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, said a confluence of recent events has created a dramatic leap in leasing activity year-over-year in Northern Virginia.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/10/11/n-virginia-data-center-market-continues-breaking-leasing-records/

When IT outage horror stories become prime-time news, many companies tend to take a closer look at their own ability to recover from a disaster—whether it be a hardware failure, fire, human error or environmental threat.

The first step is acknowledging that the risk of an IT outage is very real. A recent independent study conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of iland revealed that 95 percent of companies surveyed suffered at least one IT outage in the last year. The large majority had a disaster recovery plan in place, and 87 percent triggered a failover to mitigate the impact of the outage. Most troubling of all the findings: 58 percent experienced issues when using their disaster recovery solution.

As evidenced by the recent outages at Delta and Southwest, even companies that invest millions on disaster recovery plans make mistakes. Often, they are completely avoidable. Here are some of the most common pitfalls to avoid when planning for IT resilience:

...

http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/disaster-recovery-failures-learning-others-mistakes/

How do you measure your IT service success and failure? Performance numbers and metrics can be valuable, because they help you to improve, as well as to defend your IT service management against possible criticism.

Yet with the notion of service come the concepts of customer and customer satisfaction. It stands to reason that complete recovery from service failure means taking into account customer satisfaction, as well as moving all the other indicators from red back to green. Here’s a handy list of tips.

...

http://www.opscentre.com/service-management-complete-recovery-service-failure/

Residents Urged to Stay off of Flooded Roads, Clean up Begins in Some Areas
 

WASHINGTON –The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its partners continue to mobilize additional resources and personnel to support state and local efforts as record rains and flooding remains a significant concern for public safety.  Local and federal officials are also working to clear debris from major roads, ensure coastal ports are safe to re-open and support efforts to restore power in affected areas.   

At the direction of President Obama, FEMA is leading the federal government’s efforts to provide assistance and support in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Recovery efforts are under way in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina and response efforts continue in North Carolina, including thousands of water rescues supported by federal responders and assets in the state.

There are more than 800 FEMA personnel on the ground supporting response and recovery efforts including Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams; and seven Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs). There are three active Urban Search & Rescue teams with seven additional teams on standby, if needed. To date, USAR teams have conducted 75 rescues.

FEMA is transporting prepositioned commodities to affected areas as requests are submitted. More than 5.2 million meals, 3.7 million liters of water, and 72,000 blankets for state, were made available for state, tribal and local officials to distribute to individuals should they be requested by states. Thus far, states have received the following commodities:

  • Florida: More than 3 million meals; 800,000 million liters of water;
  • Georgia: More than 580,000 meals, 649,000 liters of water; 17,200 blankets;
  • North Carolina: More than 1.39 million meals; 1.85 million liters of water; 49,000 blankets; 
  • South Carolina: More than 267,000 meals; 400,000 liters of water; 4,400 blankets.

The National Business Emergency Operation Center (NBEOC) continues to coordinate with more than 375 national businesses about the effects of Hurricane Matthew and flooding.  Businesses are encouraged to use established social media hashtags to report public safety concerns, share local access areas that remain close or inaccessible, and the status of reopening business hours. The hashtags are:  Florida: #FLOpen4Biz; Georgia: #GAOpen4Biz; South Carolina: #SCOpen4Biz; and North Carolina: #NCOpen4Biz.

On Saturday, October 8, President Obama signed major disaster declarations for Florida and Georgia making federal funding available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private non-profit organizations for debris removal and emergency protective measures for affected areas. Damage assessments are underway and additional designations and forms of assistance may be added at a later date.

Ongoing Support and Preparedness Efforts:

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance teams are deployed to Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas and are working with local authorities to coordinate relief efforts. Updates on the status operations throughout the Caribbean are available on travel.state.gov and on individual Embassy websites.  U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad are encouraged to enroll their travel plans on the agency’s website using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and to read the “Country Specific” information also found on the site.

The National Guard continues support to states impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Additional Guard members are now activated in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia to assist with high water transport. The number of total Guard personnel on duty is expected to drop from more than 8,000 Sunday to approximately 7,500 today.

The American Red Cross continues supporting a massive shelter operation in the affected areas. Nearly 7,000 people stayed the night in 156 Red Cross and community shelters in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The American Red Cross has more than 3,000 trained disaster workers on the ground in addition to 149 pre-positioned response vehicles and 100 trailer loads filled water, ready-to-eat meals, shelter and kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more. For Hurricane Matthew shelter locations, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-768-8048. The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations as Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of many blood drives. Residents who are in an unaffected area, are encouraged to give blood or platelets, to help patients in the affected areas with great need. Go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) deployed more than 500 AmeriCorps members, including FEMA Corps, to areas affected by Hurricane Matthew. These deployments include 59 teams of FEMA Corps members – 471 AmeriCorps members in total – that have been pre-staged to support FEMA’s response to affected states. An additional 90 AmeriCorps members are supporting shelter and emergency operations in Florida and South Carolina. CNCS is coordinating with local partners in each state, including governor-appointed state service commissions and voluntary organizations, to support state emergency operations and volunteer response efforts. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages producers with crops insured under the Federal crop insurance program to immediately contact their local crop insurance agent to report any damage to insured crops after the storm. For assistance with Rural Development financed housing, business or community assistance information, and to get help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service for debris removal, visit here. Additional disaster resource information as well as food safety, livestock and pet guidance is available at www.usda.gov. USDA Foods’ inventories have been requested from all potentially impacted state agencies, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) staff is prepared to respond to any state requests for disaster SNAP and/or other SNAP-related needs. Additional information about USDA's disaster assistance resources is available here.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues to engage in dam safety inspections throughout South Carolina, testing more than 80 privately-owned dams at the state’s request. USACE also continues to support damage assessments to coastal regions.

U.S. Northern Command continues to support seven Incident Support Bases and Federal Staging Areas in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to support federal and state resources needed for response. Additionally, Defense Coordinating Officers and Defense Coordinating Elements remain in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, along with a Defense Coordinating Officer in Virginia. Dual-status commanders are designated in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Members of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Disaster Medical Assistance Team from Pennsylvania continue providing medical support to a hospital in Brevard County, Florida, assisting with a surge in demand for emergency department services. More than 700 personnel from the National Disaster Medical System, U.S. Public Health Service, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response remain pre-positioned or on alert ready to assist in other communities as needed. HHS agencies, continue to promote public health messaging and staying healthy after the storm at www.phe.gov/hurricanematthew and www.cdc.gov.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with FEMA, issued an official memo to impacted states regarding immigration enforcement activities. The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), in coordination with FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination and FEMA’s Office for Equal Rights, issued a notice to ensure that individuals and communities affected by the disaster do not face unlawful discrimination in the provision of federally assisted services. Additionally, CRCL and FEMA ODIC holding daily calls of the Interagency Coordinating Council on Individuals with Disabilities (ICC) to share information and resources with interagency partners on any issues impacting individuals with disabilities in the affected states.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services encourages those whose application, petition or immigration status may be impacted by Hurricane Matthew to call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833) to learn how to request certain types of relief. For more information, visit here.

The U.S. Coast Guard continues working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, local port authorities, and other partners to reopen the Georgia ports of Savannah and Brunswick. The teams are surveying channel depths to ensure safe navigation for commercial vessels.

The Coast Guard also continues to assist in search and rescue efforts and remains poised to assist in future rescue efforts from those affected by Hurricane Matthew to ensure the safety of individuals that may be in distress from this storm.

The U.S. Department of Energy continues working with energy partners in affected areas as power restoration continues. Requirements for restoration vary state-by-state and with local jurisdictions, which may cause delays for some communities and neighborhoods.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development deployed housing assessment teams in each affected state.  The teams are compiling damage data on all of HUD’s Multifamily and Public Housing apartments.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s United States Geological Survey deployed more than 40 teams to the affected areas to collect the surge sensors and gages that identify high water marks. USGS has additional crews making flood measurements and repairing stream gages damaged by river flooding.  USGS is placing employee safety as the top priority.  Access issues in some locations and continued significant flooding are impacting field work efforts. Information on all sensors and gages is available online.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service reports that nine Atlantic coast national parks in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina remain closed in the wake of Hurricane Matthew as the NPS continues to determine the extent of damage caused by the storm’s wind and water. The NPS has deployed its Eastern Incident Management Team to Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve to coordinate and oversee the assessment and recovery operations at all of the affected parks.

The U.S. Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that 20 wildlife refuges are closed and each will remain so until it is safe for staff to return. 

The Department of Justice deployed 77 federal law enforcement personnel in the affected states, with an additional 50 personnel on stand-by for assignment, if necessary.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to conduct oil and hazardous material field assessments. In Florida, EPA completed more than 100 field assessments, reporting no hazardous materials. Additionally, EPA is working with affected states to incorporate debris assignments.

The Federal Communications Commission continues monitoring the status of communications networks and coordinating with providers and government partners on communications status and restoration throughout the affected areas.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) divisions in the southern region continue working with contact permitting agencies & commercial motor vehicle law enforcement agencies in their states to assist with necessary emergency waivers and permits.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) deployed staff to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to support FEMA efforts to establish Joint Field Offices and Disaster Response Centers.  GSA assessment teams are preparing to survey potential damage to federal facilities and will ensure any necessary repairs are undertaken quickly.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) activated its Unaccompanied Minors Registry (UMR). Family members can go to https://umr.missingkids.org or call 1-800-THE-LOST to find unaccompanied children who may have been separated from parents or caregivers because of the floods, by entering basic information and/or a photo.

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration deployed about a dozen personnel from division offices to assist with the storm response.  Bridge and road inspectors will make damage assessments in affected areas are beginning.

The Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) latest guidance for taxpayers affected by Hurricane Matthew. 

Up-to-date information about U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities is available.

FEMA advises anyone in the impacted areas looking to help or assist with response and recovery efforts can get involved by contacting their American Red Cross chapter or their local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) chapter to connect to many organizations working on the ground that are in need of volunteers. To get in touch with the local VOAD in the affected areas, visit:

For additional info, imagery, graphics and b-roll, see our Hurricane Matthew web page: www.fema.gov/hurricane-matthew.

###

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.

Downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday, Hurricane Matthew proceeded to work its way north, pummeling coastal regions of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, where rivers are overflowing and flooding continues. So far, Matthew has killed nearly 900 people in Haiti and 17 in the United States. More than 2 million U.S. homes and businesses lost power over the weekend, according to Reuters.

CoreLogic said today that it anticipates hurricane-related insured property losses for both residential and commercial properties to be between $4 billion and $6 billion from wind and storm surge damage. The amount does not include insured losses related to additional flooding, business interruption or contents.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/hurricane-matthew-could-impact-renewals-reinsurers/

(TNS) — Local organizations are seeking volunteers and collecting donations of money and goods in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

Here are some ways to help:

Red Cross

The Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina is looking for volunteers to help manage shelters, deliver food and answer phone calls.

“All it takes is a good heart,” said Phil Harris, community executive for the Highlands chapter of the Red Cross in Fayetteville. “We’ll give you the training you need to help your neighbor.”

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/How-to-help-NC-after-Hurricane-Matthew.html

Enterprises that sign up for Google’s cloud services will now have the choice to submit their software development and IT operations teams to the same level of operational rigor Google submits its own engineers.

The company on Monday revealed more details about a new approach to cloud customer support it announced last week, created to help alleviate customers’ anxiety about giving up control of their infrastructure to a cloud provider. It will embed its own experts on cloud customers’ teams to help them deploy and run applications in Google’s cloud data centers in the most reliable way possible.

The services will include shared paging (when things go wrong), auto-creation and escalation of priority-one tickets, participation in customer “war rooms,” and Google-reviewed design and production system.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/10/10/heres-googles-plan-for-calming-enterprise-cloud-anxiety/

Tuesday, 11 October 2016 00:00

Mock Disaster Training Hones Response Skills

(TNS) - It was a practice in preparing for the worst, in case real disasters were ever to occur.

That’s the primary purpose behind a three-day disaster training exercise in rural Nodaway County, east of Maryville. Northwest Missouri State University — which offers a major in emergency and disaster management — is the host.

Missouri Hope 2016 is bringing 500 people to the Mozingo Outdoor Education and Recreation Area and Mozingo Youth Camp, in efforts to fine-tune emergency responses in scenarios that mirror real-life situations.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/training/Mock-disaster-training-hones-response-skills.html

Severe Flooding Affecting Areas throughout the Southeast

WASHINGTON –The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its partners continue to mobilize resources and personnel to support state, local and tribal efforts as significant flooding impacts areas throughout the Southeast United States.

At the direction of President Obama, FEMA is leading the federal government’s efforts to provide assistance and support in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and is, on a daily basis, moving personnel and supplies into the affected areas.  

Already, there are more than 750 FEMA personnel on the ground supporting response and recovery efforts including six Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams and six Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) . Ten Urban Search & Rescue teams are also deployed and engaged in search and rescue efforts.

FEMA also prepositioned commodities throughout affected areas to ensure there are no unmet needs.  FEMA made available more than 2.8 million meals, three million liters of water, and 48,000 blankets for state, tribal and local officials to distribute to individuals should they be requested by states. 

A breakdown by state:

  • Florida: More than 71,000 meals; 341,000 liters of water;
  • Georgia: More than 579,000 meals, 649,000 liters of water; 17,000 blankets;
  • North Carolina: More than 1.9 million meals; 1.6 million liters of water; 26,000 blankets; and,
  • South Carolina: More than 250,000 meals; 390,000 liters of water; 4,500 blankets.

President Obama signed major disaster declarations Saturday for Florida and Georgia making federal funding available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private non-profit organizations for debris removal and emergency protective measures for affected areas. This is in addition to pre-disaster emergency declarations signed earlier in the week by the President for Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Damage assessments are underway and additional designations and forms of assistance may be added at a later date.

Ongoing Support and Preparedness Efforts:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deployed more than 100 personnel for Matthew response and is supporting eight FEMA mission assignments including dam inspections, flood-fight materials and temporary emergency power. USACE also continues participating in port surveys in the affected areas.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) deployed more than 500 AmeriCorps members, including FEMA Corps, to areas affected by Hurricane Matthew. These deployments include 59 teams of FEMA Corps members – 471 AmeriCorps members in total – that have been pre-staged to support FEMA’s response to affected states. An additional 90 AmeriCorps members are supporting shelter and emergency operations in Florida and South Carolina. CNCS is coordinating with local partners in each state, including governor-appointed state service commissions and voluntary organizations, to support state emergency operations and volunteer response efforts. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages producers with crops insured under the Federal crop insurance program should immediately contact their local crop insurance agent to report any damage to insured crops after the storm. For assistance with Rural Development financed housing, business or community assistance information, and to get help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service for debris removal go to: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app).

Additional disaster resource information as well as , livestock and pet guidance is available at www.usda.gov.  USDA Foods’ inventories have been requested from all potentially impacted state agencies, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) staff is prepared to respond to any state requests for disaster SNAP and/or other SNAP-related needs. Additional information about USDA's disaster assistance resources is available at: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=disaster-help.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) established Incident Support Bases or Federal Staging Areas in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia in coordination with FEMA to preposition commodities and resources close to the potentially affect areas. The U.S. Northern Command deployed Defense Coordinating Elements to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. These service members are providing DOD regional subject matter expertise, validate requirements, and conduct liaison efforts in support of response operations.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Disaster Medical Assistance Team members from Pennsylvania are providing medical support to two hospitals in Brevard County, Florida. Additionally more than 1,000 personnel from the National Disaster Medical System, U.S. Public Health Service, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response remain pre-positioned or on alert ready to assist in other communities.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security in coordination with FEMA are working to ensure that individuals and communities affected by disasters do not face unlawful discrimination as they seek disaster-assistance services. The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and both FEMA’s Office on Disability Integration and Coordination and the Office for Equal Rights issued an official memo to impacted states that there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations, sheltering, or any other life-saving initiatives related to Matthew.

U.S. Coast Guard deployed a public health and safety officer to the National Response Coordination Center to support HHS related to Zika-virus issues that may occur following the recession of flood waters.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services encourages those whose application, petition or immigration status may be impacted by Hurricane Matthew to call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833) to learn how to request certain types of relief. For more information, visit www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs continues to coordinate with tribes in potentially affected areas as needed. 

The U.S. Department of Interior’s United States Geological Survey deployed more than 40 teams to the affected areas to collect the 393 surge sensors and gauges that identify high water marks. USGS has additional crews making flood measurements and repairing stream gauges damaged by river flooding. Information on all sensors and gages is available at: http://stn.wim.usgs.gov/error.html.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s National Park Service is continuing to monitor and evaluate conditions at their parks. More than half a dozen national parks remain closed, each is assessing the ability to open to the public. Anyone planning to visit a park in the impacted states is encouraged to verify a park’s open status on its website.

Additionally, the Department of the Interior's Office of Law Enforcement and Security continues to coordinate readiness to help with security.  Two 25-person Quick Response Teams composed of U.S. Park Police and National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are assisting with protection for urban rescue teams and security for mobile field hospitals. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report 16 National Wildlife Refuges and other facilities remain closed with damage assessments of those facilities underway.

The Department of Justice has 500 federal law enforcement officers from across the country on standby and ready to deploy, as required.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) activated the Regional Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta, Georgia and deployed liaisons to the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta, and the state operational centers in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.  All EPA regional programs have contacted their state counterparts and offered technical assistance concerning waste and debris disposal, water infrastructure, and fuel waiver issues. EPA deployed eight teams lead by Federal On-Scene Coordinators (OSC) to conduct oil and hazardous materials assessment activities in the Florida coastal counties of Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia, and Brevard.

The Federal Aviation Administration is of hurricane rescue and response aircraft to preserve the safety of first-responders.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) divisions in the southern region continue working with contact permitting agencies & commercial motor vehicle law enforcement agencies in their states to assist with necessary emergency waivers and permits.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) deployed staff to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to support FEMA efforts to establish Joint Field Offices and Disaster Response Centers.  GSA assessment teams are preparing to survey potential damage to federal facilities and will ensure any necessary repairs are undertaken quickly.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) activated its Unaccompanied Minors Registry (UMR). Family members can go to https://umr.missingkids.org or call 1-800-THE-LOST to find unaccompanied children who may have been separated from parents or caregivers because of the floods, by entering basic information and/or a photo. 

The National Guard continues to move north following the storm’s path. More than 9,000 National Guard personnel from nine states are conducting search and rescue, security, infrastructure assessment, route clearance, and communications in support of hurricane recovery efforts.  The National Guard provides support to civil authority of the state under direction of the governor.

The American Red Cross continues supporting a massive shelter operation in the affected areas. More than 13,400 people stayed the night in 248 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The Red Cross has more than 2,700 trained disaster workers on the ground in addition to 133 pre-positioned response vehicles and 97 trailer loads filled water, ready-to-eat meals, shelter and kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more. For Hurricane Matthew shelter locations, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-768-8048. The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations as Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of many blood drives. Residents who are in an unaffected area, are encouraged to give blood or platelets, to help patients in the affected areas with great need. Go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration deployed about a dozen personnel from division offices to assist with the storm response.  Bridge and road inspectors will make damage assessments in affected areas are beginning.

The Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) advises that the latest guidance for taxpayers affected by Matthew will be available at https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/news-releases-for-current-month.

For up-to-date information about U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities can be found at:  http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/31765/va-facilities-across-the-southeast-prepare-for-hurricane-matthew/.

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance teams are deployed to Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas and are working with local authorities to coordinate relief efforts. Updates on the status operations throughout the Caribbean are available on and on individual Embassy websites.  U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad are encouraged to enroll their travel plans on the agency’s website, travel.state.gov, using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and to read the “Country Specific” information also found on the site.

FEMA advises anyone in the impacted areas looking to help or assist with response and recovery efforts can get involved by contacting their American Red Cross chapter or their local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) chapter to connect to many organizations working on the ground that are in need of volunteers. To get in touch with the local VOAD in the affected areas, visit:

For additional info, imagery, graphics and b-roll, see our Hurricane Matthew web page: http://www.fema.gov/hurricane-matthew.

###

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.

WASHINGTON –The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents returning home or in affected areas to listen to state, local and tribal officials as dangerous flooding following Hurricane Matthew impacts areas throughout the Southeast United States. People returning home should exercise extreme caution as emergency crews respond to affected areas and avoid driving through flooded roadways. 

National Weather Service experts predict that Matthew should move well east of the North Carolina coast by this afternoon and should weaken over the next 48 hours. However, an extensive and significant freshwater flood event is unfolding over northeastern South Carolina into central and eastern North Carolina. Between six to 12 inches of rain, with isolated amounts up to 20 inches, have been reported mainly from Savannah to eastern North Carolina. An additional one to three inches are possible across eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia. Numerous rivers are expected to reach moderate to major flood levels from northeast South Carolina into central and eastern North Carolina later today. The rivers will be slow to recede, with the flooding continuing through the week.

For people who evacuated and are returning today, do so only when authorities indicate it is safe. Watch out for debris and downed power lines and avoid walking or driving through flood waters.  Flood waters may be electrically-charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.

You are also advised to photograph damaged property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim and do what is possible to prevent further damage to property (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof).

“Flash floods are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States,” said FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate. “As people head back home to assess damage it is vital they do not drive through flooded roadways, avoid downed power lines, and stay off the roads to let first responders do their work.  Turn around, don’t drown.” 

Shelters remain open across the impacted states. You can download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips, in English and in Spanish. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.

After the Hurricane - Safety and Preparedness Tips as you Return to Your Home

·       Listen to local officials for updates and instructions. Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.

·       Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.

·       When you return to the impacted area, watch out for debris and downed power lines.

·       Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.

·       Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

·       Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.

·       Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

File an Insurance Claim then Register with FEMA (or for Federal Assistance)

·        Contact your insurance company and file a claim. Get your company’s contact information online at the Department of Insurance for the state where the damage occurred.

·        If you have flood insurance questions call 800-621-3362 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT and select option two. Call center staff are available to assist with information regarding your policy, offer technical flood guidance to aid in recovery and answer other flood insurance questions. You can be transferred to your insurance carrier for additional assistance if you have further questions.

·        For those in Georgia and Florida who have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, you can pre-register for federal disaster assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. Lines are open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT. Survivors who use TTY may call 800-462-7585.

Communications

If you live in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew or know someone in those areas, social media sites like Facebook or Twitter are good way to let friends and family know you’re safe or to inquire about your loved ones.

However, the National Coordinating Center recommends keeping your calls to the minimum and to using several alternative communication methods as networks in the area may become congested.  People in the emergency area should still call 9-1-1 if they need emergency services.

Please keep in mind a few recommended best practices for placing calls during a large emergency:

  1. Limit non-emergency phone calls.
  2. Keep all phone calls brief.
  3. For non-emergency calls, try text messaging, also known as short messaging service (SMS) when using your wireless phone.
  4. If possible, to reduce congestion, try a variety of communications services if you are unsuccessful in getting through with one.
  5. Wait 10 seconds before redialing a call. On many wireless handsets, to re-dial a number, you simply push "send" after you've ended a call to redial the previous number.

To report a missing child, please contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-866-908-9570. Anyone who finds an unaccompanied child who may have been separated from his/her parents or caregivers because of the hurricane can enter basic information and/or a photo into the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's Unaccompanied Minors Registry (UMR): http://umr.missingkids.org or call 1-866-908-9570.

For more information about Hurricane Matthew, including resources deployed, imagery, and b-roll go to: http://www.fema.gov/hurricane-matthew

###

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.

Hurricane Matthew Unified Response Efforts Underway

FEMA and the Federal Family Coordinating with Partners to Support Impacted Communities
 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners continue to mobilize resources and personnel to support state, local and tribal efforts in the southeast U.S. as the possibility of dangerous conditions and flooding continues in some areas.

At the direction of President Obama, FEMA is leading the federal government’s effort to provide assistance and support in preparation and response to Hurricane Matthew. The President declared emergencies in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, making federal assistance available to mobilize equipment and resources necessary to prepare for and respond to Hurricane Matthew in the anticipated impacted areas. These pre-disaster emergency declarations make available direct federal assistance to save lives and protect property.

As of this morning, more than 680 FEMA staff are deployed to impacted states in support of response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Matthew and thousands more remain on alert to support recovery efforts, as needed. This includes six Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) deployed to help federal, state, local and tribal partners gather detailed information on the affected communities during the critical days and weeks following this storm.  DSAT teams address immediate and emerging needs of disaster survivors including: on-the-spot needs assessments, requests for disability related accommodations and access to partners offering survivor services.

Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) are positioned in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. IMAT teams support preparation and anticipated response activities, and ensure that there are no unmet needs. Additionally, FEMA has ten Urban Search & Rescue teams on the ground to support any search and rescue efforts. Two teams are in Florida, four teams are in South Carolina, three teams are in Georgia, and one team is in North Carolina.

FEMA has made available more than 1,427,000 meals, more than 958,000 liters of water, and more than 48,000 blankets for state, tribal, and local officials to distribute to individuals.  These points of distribution are centralized locations established by state or local officials where supplies are delivered.

A breakdown by state:

Florida: More than 71,000 meals; 341,000 liters of water;

Georgia: More than 535,000 meals, 617,000 liters of water; 17,000 blankets;

North Carolina: More than 570,000 meals; 26,000 blankets; and,

South Carolina: More than 250,000 meals; 4,500 blankets.

The National Business Emergency Operations Center is activated in the NRCC and is coordinating with potentially affected states to work with private sector companies, preparing for landfall and coordinating on evacuation orders, potential transportation impacts, and access/re-entry permits ahead of the storm.

Ongoing Support and Preparedness Efforts:

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance teams are deployed to Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas and are working with local authorities to coordinate relief efforts. Updates on the status operations throughout the Caribbean are available on travel.state.gov and on individual Embassy websites.  U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad are encouraged to enroll their travel plans on the agency’s website, travel.state.gov, using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and to read the Country Specific Information also found on the site.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deployed a Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader to FEMA Region IV.  Two Assistant Team Leaders and one Power Subject Matter Expert have been deployed to the FEMA National Response Coordination Center (NRCC).  Also, USACE deployed Team Leaders to FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.  The USACE deployed Emergency Power assets, including Planning & Response Teams (PRT) and Emergency Command & Control Vehicles (ECCV), to Florida and North Carolina.  Two companies from the 249th Engineer Battalion and four Temporary Emergency Power PRTs are coordinating response requirements under a FEMA pre-declaration for Emergency Power.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages those whose application, petition or immigration status may be impacted by Hurricane Matthew to call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833) to learn how to request certain types of relief. For more information, visit www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations.

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to assess and advise the status of ports along the storm’s path.  Advisories are being issued for northern locations in Georgia and South Carolina.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has deployed more than 450 AmeriCorps members, including FEMA Corps, to areas affected by Hurricane Matthew. These deployments include 54 teams of FEMA Corps members – 425 AmeriCorps members in total – that have been pre-staged to support FEMA’s response to affected states. An additional 45 AmeriCorps members are supporting shelter and emergency operations in Florida and South Carolina. CNCS is coordinating with local partners in each state, including governor-appointed state service commissions and voluntary organizations, to support state Emergency Operations and volunteer response efforts. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has disaster resource information as well as food safety, livestock and pet guidance is available at www.usda.gov.  USDA Foods’ inventories have been requested from all potentially impacted state agencies, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) staff is prepared to respond to any state requests for disaster SNAP and/or other SNAP-related needs.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) established an Incident Support Base at Fort Bragg in coordination with FEMA to preposition commodities and resources close to the potentially affect areas.  The U.S. Northern Command deployed Defense Coordinating Elements to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. These service members are providing DOD regional subject matter expertise, validate requirements, and conduct liaison efforts in support of response operations.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting daily coordination calls with industry, impacted states and the leadership of the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council to discuss preparations for the storm and plans for timely restoration.  As the preparation and response efforts for electric power change as the storm shifts, updates for each state can be viewed at here.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has almost 700 personnel pre-positioned and more than 450 on alert ready to support communities with medical, veterinary or fatality management needs from the storm’s impact. Personnel include members of the National Disaster Medical System, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response staff, and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and they form eight Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, two National Veterinary Response Teams, a Public Health Service Rapid Deployment Force team, a disaster mortuary assessment personnel and an Incident Response Coordination Team. Information from HHS agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about protecting health before and after disasters can be found on www.phe.gov/hurricanematthew.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), in coordination with FEMA’s Office on Disability Integration and Coordination and FEMA’s Office for Equal Rights, issued a notice reminding its recipients of federal financial assistance who are engaged in emergency management to ensure that individuals and communities affected by disasters do not face unlawful discrimination in the provision of federally assisted services to disaster survivors. Additionally, CRCL issued a memo to impacted states regarding immigration enforcement activities. This memo notifies the public that there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to the hurricane, including the use of checkpoints for immigration enforcement purposes in impacted areas during an evacuation. This memo can be found here.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs is coordinating with tribes in potentially affected areas as needed. 

The U.S. Department of Interior’s National Park Service is continuing to monitor and evaluate conditions at their parks as the storm moves further north.  With more than a dozen national parks closed, each is assessing the ability to re-open to the public. Anyone planning to visit a park in the impacted states is encouraged to verify a park’s open status on its website.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s United States Geological Survey (USGS) is preparing to collect the 393 surge sensors and gages deployed in advance of Hurricane Matthew along the East Coast to provide data that will assist water managers in determining the peak and duration of storm surge.   This includes Storm Surge Sensors (190), Wave Sensors (79), Barometric Pressure Sensors (92), and Rapid Deployment Gage's (32). The information supports disaster recovery efforts and critical weather forecasts for the National Weather Service and FEMA.  The information collected will be distributed live on the USGS website to help federal and state officials gauge the extent and the storm's damage as it passes through each area.  This is the largest deployment of surge sensors by the USGS and surpasses the total deployments for Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

The Department of Justice has 500 federal law enforcement officers from across the country on standby and ready to deploy, as required.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) activated the Regional Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta, Georgia and has deployed liaisons to the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta, and the Florida State Emergency Operation Center in Tallahassee.  All EPA regional programs have contacted their state counterparts and offered technical assistance concerning waste and debris disposal, water infrastructure, and fuel waiver issues. The Agency has received a mission assignment to support the State of Florida for oil and hazardous substance assessments in the coastal areas of the state, and are assembling teams to deploy from the Atlanta regional office.

The Federal Aviation Administration worked closely with airports and the air carriers that serve the affected area to prepare and is ready to restore air traffic control service in support of recovery efforts.  At FAA facilities in the hurricane’s path, fuel tanks were topped off for air traffic control equipment, radars immobilized and other navigation facilities so they could withstand high wind speeds. The FAA is also warning drone operators to stay clear of hurricane rescue and response aircraft to preserve the safety of first-responders.

The Federal Communications Commission is monitoring the status of communications networks and is prepared to work with affected providers to support restoration efforts as necessary.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) divisions in the southern region have been instructed to contact permitting agencies & commercial motor vehicle law enforcement agencies in their states to prepare for either emergency waivers from permits, or to be prepared to expedite permit issuance to support relief transportation efforts.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) deployed staff to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to support FEMA efforts to establish Joint Field Offices (JFO) and Disaster Response Centers (DRC).  GSA assessment teams are standing by to survey potential damage to federal facilities and will ensure any necessary repairs are undertaken quickly.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) activated its Unaccompanied Minors Registry (UMR). Family members can go to here or call 1-800-THE-LOST to find unaccompanied children who may have been separated from parents or caregivers because of the floods, by entering basic information and/or a photo. 

The National Guard continues to move north following the storm’s path. More than 9,000 National Guard personnel from nine states (AL, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN) are conducting search and rescue, security, infrastructure assessment, route clearance, and communications in support of hurricane recovery efforts.  The National Guard provides support to civil authority of the state under direction of the governor.

The American Red Cross is supporting a massive shelter operation in the affected areas. More than 18,000 people stayed the night in 183 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The Red Cross has more than 2,200 trained disaster workers on the ground in addition to 95 pre-positioned response vehicles and 94 trailer loads filled water, ready-to-eat meals, shelter and kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more. For Hurricane Matthew shelter locations, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-768-8048. The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations as Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of many blood drives. If you’re in an unaffected area, please give blood or platelets, so we can continue to help patients in need. Go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is coordinating with affected state Departments of Transportation in anticipation of requests for Emergency Relief funds to repair highways and bridges that get damaged by the storm.  FHWA has deployed about a dozen personnel from division offices to assist with the storm response.  Bridge and road inspectors will make damage assessments once the storm has passed.  

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) is operating its SafeStor program on the M/V Cape Decision in Charleston, South Carolina, as shelter for local emergency vehicles in the region.  A total of seven agencies, including the Charleston Sheriff's Department, have a total of 53 emergency service vehicles loaded on the Cape Decision’s massive cargo hold to weather out the passage of Hurricane Mathew.  MARAD’s SafeStor program provides safe shelter for emergency equipment and personnel and allows affected areas to be up and running as soon as possible in order.

The Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) advises taxpayers to prepare in advance of Hurricane Matthew and stands ready to help after the storm. IRS will monitor the storm’s impact as the October 17 tax filing deadline approaches for those in the impacted areas who filed an extension to file their 2015 tax returns. The latest guidance available here.

Veterans Affairs facilities from Florida through South Carolina are implementing their emergency preparedness plans which includes closing many clinics and suspending non-emergency care services in medical centers.  For up-to-date information about VA facilities, visit here.

The National Weather Service expects Matthew to continue to move along the coast and be near the coast of North Carolina by tonight. Areas as far north as southern Virginia may experience high winds and dangerous flooding. Meanwhile, some residents in Florida and Georgia are beginning to return to their communities and face different risks from downed trees, power lines, and standing water. FEMA has advised residents to listen to local officials and follow all suggested safety measures in their area.

For additional info, imagery, graphics and b-roll, see our Hurricane Matthew web page: http://www.fema.gov/hurricane-matthew.

###

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.

BATON ROUGE, La.— Move your recovery forward and get informed to make sure you invest resources properly and rebuild or repair wisely.
 
Contact your community’s floodplain management or building officials to start the inspection process to determine if your home or business is substantially damaged. Also get the proper permits for things like plumbing, electrical system, foundation and structural repairs.

Substantial damage exists in Special Flood Hazard Areas, or floodplains—areas that have increased flooding risks— when the cost of restoring a structure equals or exceeds 50 percent of the structure’s pre-damage market value. However, some communities enforce a more restrictive definition. 
 
It’s important to know the structural damage percentage of your home or business because that information helps determine the work needed to repair or replace the damaged structure. It also helps determine if additional work will be needed to comply with local codes and ordinances.

You may appeal a substantial damage determination with your local officials if you disagree with their decision.

A structure located in a floodplain must be brought into compliance with local regulations if a local official determines it is substantially damaged. Local building departments may have adopted standards higher than FEMA’s that property owners would have to comply with when rebuilding.
 
Owners who decide to rebuild may need to elevate their structures, or change them in some other way to comply with local regulations and avoid future flood losses. Those who own non-residential structures may need to flood-proof their building.

Contact Local Officials About Substantial Damage and Permits,

Property owners who have flood insurance and a substantially damaged building in a floodplain may be able to get additional funds for costs related to complying with local regulations. Contact your insurance agent for more information. 

Your parish emergency management office can assist with contacting your community’s floodplain management or building officials.  Find their contact information online at www.gohsep.la.gov/about/parishpa.

If you have specific questions about your flood insurance policy or flood insurance claim, please call the FEMA call center at 800-621-3362 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and select Option 2.  If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585.  If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

Learn more about mitigation by going online to fema.gov/Louisiana-disaster-mitigation.

Residents Encouraged to Follow Instructions of Local Officials
 

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents to follow instructions from state, tribal and local officials as it continues to coordinate requests for assistance from states and tribes affected by Hurricane Matthew with its federal partners at the Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta and the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Yesterday, President Barack Obama declared emergencies for requested counties in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, authorizing FEMA to provide support and resources necessary to save lives and protect property.                          .

Experts at the National Weather Service say the powerful storm is expected to turn toward the north-northwest later this morning and will be close to or over the East Coast of Florida through Friday night. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 120 miles-per-hour with higher gusts. Rainfall totals of six to 12 inches are expected, with isolated amounts up to 15 inches being forecast along east and central Florida, Georgia and South Carolina through Saturday. Significant storm surge and flooding is also expected in those areas.

“You can rebuild a home, but you cannot rebuild a life,” said FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate. “Now is the time to make sure you are listening to your local officials and following their instructions explicitly.”

If you live in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew or know someone in those areas, social media sites like Facebook or Twitter are good way to stay in touch. The American Red Cross has a tool called Safe and Well to keep track of friends and loved ones during and after the storm.  

FEMA support efforts are on-going and include six Urban Search and Rescue task force teams in Florida, and five task force teams in Georgia to assist with anticipated search and rescue efforts.  In addition, an Incident Support Team also is deployed to Georgia to coordinate rescue efforts across these teams.

Incident Support Bases are staffed in Albany, Ga. and Fort Bragg, N.C., to pre-position resources closer to potentially affected areas, should affected states or tribes request them.  Today there are more than 476,000 liters of water and more than 536,000 meals, as well as tens of thousands of cots and blankets on site.

Shelters are open across the potentially impacted states. Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips, in English and in Spanish. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.

Safety and Preparedness Tips

Hurricane Matthew has the potential for life-threatening rain, wind and storm surge. Those in affected areas should follow the direction of their state, tribal or local officials.

There is the potential for flooding with this storm. 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 hurricane:

  • A Hurricane Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 74 miles-per-hour poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours. 
  • A Hurricane Warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 miles-per-hour or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less. A hurricane warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.

For a tropical storm:

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

For flooding:

  • A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding.
  • A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

To learn more about what to do before, during and after severe weather, visit www.Ready.gov.

###

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.

Hurricane Matthew is certain to leave a path of destruction that requires the efforts of the public, private and nonprofit sectors. To help identify areas of need and help response organizations meet the demand for recovery services, Crisis Cleanup has deployed a portion of its free and open source software that organizations may use. You can check out if Crisis Cleanup is a good fit for your organization.

At its core, Crisis Cleanup is a work order management system with a couple of aspects. First, work orders are crowdsourced from the affected public to create a master list of issues. Starting later today, the public will be able to call 800-451-1954 to request help. Second, organizations select the issues that they are willing and best able to address given their capabilities and resources. For example, an organization that focuses on helping survivors with "muck-outs" would self-select the related issues, which would then be taken off the master list so there is not duplication of effort. 

The approach mentioned above is guided by several core principles that may affect your decision to use the tool:

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Crisis-Cleanup-Can-Aid-in-the-Recovery-of-Hurricane-Matthew.html

Monday, 10 October 2016 00:00

The Changing Face of Hybrid Clouds

The hybrid cloud is considered to be the “safe zone” between the rigidity and poor scalability of private resources and the lack of control in the public domain.

But while it was always expected that hybrids would one day morph into a seamlessly integrated, broadly distributed data ecosystem, that vision is starting to look less feasible, and less desirable, as experience with real cloud architectures grows.

In a recent post on Forbes, Moor Insights & Strategy analyst John Fruehe describes the “hybrid cloud dilemma” in pretty stark terms. He says that from both a security and logistics standpoint, a fully integrated hybrid cloud is proving extremely hard to implement. Rather, current thinking in IT circles is starting to favor a “hybrid cloud environment” in which data and resources may be shared across multiple domains and providers, but individual compute environments will exist in only one. So rather than try to craft a single computing architecture that follows data wherever it goes, the enterprise would do better to focus on the interconnects between clouds to ensure that data can traverse the still distinct computing environments quickly and easily.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-changing-face-of-hybrid-clouds.html

‘ISO 22330 Security and resilience - Business continuity management systems - Guidelines for people aspects on business continuity’ is a new technical specification being developed by ISO. In this article Lynne Donaldson, project lead for ISO 22330, provides some background to why people aspects are being addressed in this specific business continuity guidance.

Nobody said managing people was easy! Organizations face an ongoing challenge to execute plans that deliver desired outcomes over the long term, regardless of their size or mission. The ability of an organization to lead, motivate, develop and engage its people holds the key to how well this is achieved.

Add to the mix the impacts of a disruptive event on operations: from cyber-attack or loss of infrastructure, to natural disaster or act of terrorism, why should the delivery of business continuity be any different?

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/index.php/news/business-continuity-news/1461-iso-22330-a-new-iso-project-puts-people-at-the-heart-of-business-continuity

Whether it’s malware or hackers or viruses, cyber threats pose significant problems for businesses and companies around the world--and rightfully so. These continue to evolve--and get smarter--making risk management a consuming task for IT teams and MSPs. There were over 400 million known malware instances in 2015 and that number is on the rise in 2016. What’s even scarier is how commonplace breaches and attacks are--almost 60% of IT teams have experienced a breach or attack at some point.

But rather than becoming more skilled at handling these threats, IT teams are more challenged by them now than ever before. And there are plenty of reasons for that. With the proliferation of devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, and the rise of account-based information that lives in the cloud, employees and companies are more at risk than ever--and IT teams are scrambling to keep up with rapidly changing tech behaviors.

...

http://mspmentor.net/blog/surprising-state-it-security-unveiled-four-trends

Friday, 07 October 2016 00:00

Why MSPs Need to Automate

An efficient MSP is one that knows how to leverage automation. The more repeatable processes and routine tasks you can automate, the less need you have for time-consuming manual functions that are prone to error.

It’s no wonder then that MSPs constantly are told to automate. It’s good for clients because it creates predictability in the services they receive. Predictability equals peace of mind to clients. When you automate service delivery, you make it much more likely that you can deliver on your promise of network reliability and optimal performance. You minimize the possibility of having to respond to an issue caused by a manual function.

Automation, therefore, is a critical tool for MSPs. As such, you need to think about it in practical terms, not as an abstraction – something to which you pay lip service but never actually put into effect because it’s hard.

...

http://mspmentor.net/blog/why-msps-need-automate

An NSA contractor stealing sensitive government documents is in the news again, and it has nothing to do with Edward Snowden, movies or pardon requests. But it does have everything to do with the ever-present threat of insiders and third-party contractors and how these concerns continue to get swept aside or given less importance than breaches caused by outside actors and nation-states.

You have probably heard about the arrest of Harold Thomas Martin, a Booz Allen Hamilton employee who is alleged to have stolen classified documents and possibly committed other cybercrimes. As the Military Times reported, this incident is yet another reminder that just because your employees have a security clearance, it doesn’t ensure classified information is safe.

Even if your company doesn’t require security clearances, this incident showed just how easy it is for insiders to breach your most sensitive data. As Morey Haber, VP of Technology at BeyondTrust, told me in an email comment:

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/you-dont-need-to-be-hacked-to-be-breached.html

The Business Continuity Institute - Oct 07, 2016 15:34 BST

Despite most organizations having a data breach preparedness plan in place, only a quarter of organizations are confident in their ability to minimize the financial and reputational consequences of such a breach. These findings are according to a study carried out by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of Experian.

The fourth annual data breach preparedness study shows that data breach preparedness certainly is on companies' radar, and having a response plan in place is par for the course. The number of organizations with a plan increased from 61% in 2013 to 86% in 2016. However, despite this strong majority of companies that now have a response plan in place, 38% of organizations surveyed have no set time period for reviewing and updating it, and 29% have not reviewed or updated their plan since it was put in place.

The lack of planning is especially troublesome when considering the rise of new threats in the marketplace, such as ransomware. In fact, the study showed that 56% of surveyed organizations are not confident that they could deal with a ransomware incident. Additionally, only 9% of survey respondents have determined under what circumstances they would pay to resolve a ransomware incident.

The Cyber Resilience Report, published by the Business Continuity Institute, revealed that two-thirds of organizations experienced a cyber security incident during the previous year and 15% experienced at least 10. This shows that the cyber threat is very real and organizations must take it seriously. This means making sure processes are in place to ensure that data can be recovered quickly and that those processes are tested to make sure that they work.

"When it comes to managing a data breach, having a response plan is simply not the same as being prepared," said Michael Bruemmer, vice president at Experian Data Breach Resolution. "Unfortunately many companies are simply checking the box on this security tactic. Developing a plan is the first step, but preparedness must be considered an ongoing process, with regular reviews of the plan and practice drills. Investing in breach preparedness is like planning for a natural disaster. You hope it will never happen, but just in case, you invest time and resources in a response plan so your company can survive the storm".

Enough of the four-letter acronyms! CMDB, in case this had slipped your memory, stands for configuration management database.

It holds information about your assets, items related to them and any connections or relationships between them. IT and network devices, as well as software and virtual machines, can be represented in a CMDB. So can people, products and services (not just of the IT kind), facilities, clients and suppliers.

With today’s complex IT environments, a software-driven CMDB makes sense for IT asset management, although the initial interest of some years ago did not develop as much as predicted. Now, a new trend in IT could change that.

...

http://www.opscentre.com/comeback-cmdb-asset-management/

Equinix is the most likely buyer of a 14-data center portfolio Verizon Communications has been looking to offload since at least January, according to a note by Cowen and Company analysts issued Tuesday, in which they said a transaction is likely imminent.

The portfolio consist primarily of data centers Verizon gained when it acquired Terremark in 2011, and the analysts estimate that Equinix may pay about $3.5 billion in the transaction, which would be neutral for Verizon and positive for Equinix, given high quality of the Terremark facilities and their locations, which would further increase Equinix’s already enormous global scale.

Verizon is one of several big telcos who expanded their data center footprint several years ago in hopes of capturing share of the growing cloud and data center services market but eventually found it difficult to compete with giants that have specialized in those services, companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Equinix, and Digital Realty Trust. Other examples are CenturyLink, which has been shopping a data center portfolio the bulk of which it took over in 2011 when it acquired Savvis, and AT&T, which reportedly has been trying to divest about $2 billion worth of data center assets.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/10/05/verizon-said-to-be-nearing-data-center-deal-most-likely-with-equinix/

Thursday, 06 October 2016 00:00

Big Data Storage Takes a Data Lake Swim

As a key point about big data storage, how’s this for a Captain Obvious statement: data is getting bigger. Storage vendors have swung into action to make their systems more scalable, aggregated, faster. This is particularly true for the biggest big data of them all, massive amounts of information whose competitive value requires large-scale analytics.

The “3 V’s” of data storage govern the big data storage arena: Volume, Velocity, and Variety. Big volume is a given – big data storage must have sufficient capacity to store never-ending data growth.

Velocity is the measure of how fast a storage system can ingest and process massive amounts of incoming data. Variety describes mixed data types and file sizes, which in big data may differ radically depending on its source: machine sensors, laboratory experiments, cyber archaeology, weather tracking, medical experiments, documents, logs, files, email, clickstreams and more.

...

http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/storage-management/big-data-storage-takes-a-data-lake-swim.html

BATON ROUGE, La. – Nonprofit organizations that experienced damage or losses from the August floods may apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance grants to help them get back to the business of helping others.

As part of its mission, FEMA provides grants to state, tribal and local governments and certain private nonprofits through its Public Assistance program. For the August floods, these grants reimburse 90 percent of eligible costs for emergency protective measures, and repair and restoration of public facilities and infrastructure to pre-disaster condition.

Only certain nonprofit organizations (PNPs) are eligible. If they provide critical services, such as education, utility, emergency or medical, they can apply directly to FEMA. Those that provide non-critical, essential services to the community must first apply for a low-interest loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). FEMA may pay for all eligible emergency work and the permanent work not covered by an SBA loan.

Essential service providers include:

  • Child care centers;
  • Libraries, museums and zoos;
  • Community centers;
  • Disability advocacy and service providers;
  • Homeless shelters and rehabilitation facilities;
  • Social and human services organizations for children, youth and adults; and
  • Senior citizen centers.

For more information about eligible essential and critical service providers, reference FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide on FEMA.gov.

A nonprofit that can prove its tax-exempt status from the IRS or the state can begin the process by submitting a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) to the State of Louisiana. RPA forms can be downloaded and submitted at louisianapa.com/site/resources/cfm (in the “forms” section). The State of Louisiana will forward completed applications to FEMA for eligibility determination.

Local emergency management offices may also provide information about the grant process. A list of Louisiana’s parish emergency managers can be found online at gohsep.la.gov/about/parishpa.

For information about SBA loans, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster.

Follow our 10-point, step-by-step guide for creating an efficient and effective risk mitigation plan as part of your business continuity strategy.

Business Continuity is all about risk mitigation, and a risk mitigation plan is essential. If you are not looking at how to reduce, eliminate, or accept risks, you are missing the mark. While not everything you create or spend time doing will directly impact risk mitigation, you should always be able to identify how each activity relates to mitigating risk. If this is not the case, you may want to reconsider why you are performing that task. To that end, we have developed the following checklist to help you develop a general risk mitigation plan, as well as create plans or actions for specific risks in your organization. We suggest the use of checklists as they are efficient, straightforward, and ensure important items are not missed.

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http://www.mha-it.com/checklist-for-creating-a-risk-mitigation-plan/

With regulatory environments changing continually and the stakes in many industries extremely high, compliance professionals are under a lot of pressure to eliminate threats to good standing. And while a business may invest significant resources in maintaining compliant processes, policies and protocols, the devil is often in the details – specifically, in the compliance reporting process itself. In industries from pharmaceuticals to human resources, compliant operations can be undermined by sloppy or merely inadequate reporting – with costly results.

In the insurance industry, for example, headlines about the downfall of the head of a promising insurance startup in early 2016 showcased the perils to companies and business leaders when they fail to prioritize compliance and credentialing. The result was not only devastating to the company’s investors, it also led the DOL to implement tighter compliance regulations. While this case was not about actual fraud, unintentional reporting errors can be nearly as damaging.

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http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/reducing-risk-compliance-automation-not-mention-cya/

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 00:00

Massive Hack Hits Continuum MSPs, End Clients

Continuum is tightening security and warning managed services providers (MSPs) to be on the lookout for malicious activity after a massive cyberattack penetrated the software vendor’s IT management systems and compromised an unknown number of end-user client servers, the company confirmed today.

MSPs were notified in early August that a breach originating with a legacy IP scanner tool had spread, resulting in unauthorized administrator accounts being created inside customer networks.

More than two months after the hacking attack was initially discovered, the full extent of the damage remained unknown.

...

http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/massive-hack-hits-continuum-msps-end-clients

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 00:00

Data Encryption: Your Customers Need It

When Target suffered a massive data breach in late 2013, hackers gained access to the company’s network and filched valuable credit and debit card information belonging to millions of the retailer’s customers.

Intruders had burrowed their way into the corporate network by compromising the security of a third-party vendor working with Target - in this case an HVAC refrigeration contractor called Fazio Mechanical Services, which monitored the chain’s climate systems.

The spectacular circumstances surrounding the breach attracted obvious notoriety. But the incident also stoked wider concern among cloud administrators about data security, especially pertaining to situations in which third parties also have access to corporate networks.

...

http://mspmentor.net/cloud-services/data-encryption-your-customers-need-it

Container uptake in the enterprise is moving at light speed, to the point that by the end of the year, organizations that are not using the technology in some form will be in the distinct minority.

But while deploying containers in the test bed or in limited production environments is one thing, running them at scale is quite another. And while most people agree that containers can improve the performance and flexibility of a wide swath of enterprise applications, it seems that few organizations have fully charted out the use cases within their particular data environment.

This can be dangerous because, as Miska Kaipiainen, CEO of open source container developer Kontena, points out, the way you plan to use containers is crucial when determining how they are to be configured and deployed. Are they intended to support large database applications or web services? The difference could influence the level of scale you’ll need and the degree of flexibility across the deployment. And in most cases, the core container technology is the same, but increasingly they are becoming optimized for key applications that require varying levels of security, network support and policy management.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/containers-are-nifty-but-what-are-the-use-cases.html

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 00:00

Automic Simplifies Business Process Automation

Automation of any given end-to-end process represents something akin to business nirvana. The basic idea is that the process is so well defined and repeatable that just about every cost associated with delivering it can be driven out. The challenge is that most business processes wind up touching so many applications and systems that the tools that can drive that level of automation are few and far between.

As one of the providers of such tools, Automic Software is now moving to make it possible to automatically provision an application via a single click, while also providing a means for secure sharing of automation artifacts via an Automic cloud service.

Version 12 of the Automic suite of automation tools adds analytics tools as well as an upgraded user interface that unifies navigation across the Automic suite. Finally, Automic Software is now providing tools to capture business process blueprints, manage specific service level agreements (SLA) attached to any automated process, and update Automic agent software without having to take any of the applications offline

....

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/automic-simplifies-business-process-automation.html

BATON ROUGE, La. — If your home or business is damaged by a flood, you may be required to meet certain building requirements in your community to reduce future flood damage before you repair or rebuild. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Standard Flood Insurance Policy provides Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage, which may be available to help cover the costs of meeting those requirements, subject to eligibility.

If eligible, NFIP insurance policyholders may receive up to $30,000 of ICC coverage to help pay the costs to bring their building into compliance with their community’s floodplain ordinance. The coverage availability and payment limits are subject to the terms of the policy and maximum coverage limits, including all applicable NFIP rules and regulations.

Four options you can take to comply with your community's floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood damage include:

  • Elevation. This raises your home or business to or above the flood elevation level adopted by your community.
  • Relocation. This moves your home or business out of harm's way.
  • Demolition. This tears down and removes flood-damaged buildings.
  • Floodproofing. This option is available primarily for non-residential buildings. It involves making a building watertight through a combination of adjustments or additions of features to the building that reduces the potential for flood damage.

You may be eligible to file a claim for your ICC coverage in two instances:

  1. When your community determines that your building is “substantially damaged,” wherein the cost to repair or improve the structure exceeds its market value by a threshold amount adopted by law or ordinance. Community building officials are responsible for the issuance of substantial damage declarations.
  2. When your community has a “repetitive loss” provision in its floodplain management ordinance and determines that your building was damaged by a flood two times in the past 10 years, where the cost of repairing the flood damage, on average, equaled or exceeded 25 percent of its market value at the time of each flood.

If your community does determine that your building is substantially or repetitively damaged, a local official will explain the floodplain management ordinance provisions that you will have to meet. You may also want to consult with the local official before you make the final decision about which of the options to pursue.

Once your community has made its determination, contact your insurer or insurance agent to file an ICC claim. You should start getting estimates from contractors to take the necessary steps to FRED — floodproof, relocate, elevate or demolish.

When the work is completed, local officials will inspect it and issue a certificate of occupancy or a confirmation letter.

It’s important to remember that only policyholders with substantially or repetitively flood-damaged buildings may be eligible for ICC coverage. ICC helps pay for the costs of meeting the floodplain management requirements adopted by law or ordinance in your community. Any item paid for in the original flood damage claim cannot be duplicated in the ICC payment.

For more information on ICC coverage, call your insurance company or agent, or call the NFIP toll-free at 800-427-4661. TDD# 800-427-5593.

Last week, more than 200 earthquakes had been recorded deep under the Salton Sea in Southern California. The rapid succession of small earthquakes — three measuring above magnitude 4.0 — began rupturing near Bombay Beach, continuing for more than 24 hours.

The temblors were not felt over a very large area, but they have garnered intense interest — and concern — among seismologists. It marked only the third time since earthquake sensors were installed there in 1932 that the area had seen such a swarm, and this one had more than the past two events in 2001 and 2009. The concern is that this small quakes may awaken the mighty San Andreas fault.

The San Andreas fault’s southernmost stretch has not ruptured since about 1680 — more than 330 years ago, scientists estimate. And a big earthquake happens on average in this area once every 150 or 200 years, so experts think the region is long overdue for a major quake. The swarm actually increased the likelihood of a much more major quake in Southern California, at least temporarily.

...

https://ems-solutionsinc.com/blog/earthquake-swarm-increases-chances-of-the-big-one/

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 00:00

BCM & DR: Managing Expectations

I’ve sat through many meetings between IT and Business Unit (BU) representatives where people assume they know what the other wants or is trying to say; constantly interrupting and providing their own commentary before the other finishes theirs.  Has this ever happened to you and were you the interrupter or the interrupted?  Maybe both depending on the meeting.  It got me thinking that there is often a big gap between what the Business Unit needs (or wants) with that of current technology capability…or understanding.

Too often the two don’t speak the same language and instead of listening and then requesting clarification to get a clearer picture of what is needed, the two interrupt each other and make lots of assumptions when the meeting ends.  This doesn’t help anyone.

I was listening to a recent webinar about Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and how IT develops them…and then later in the day I was reading a document at a client site, which outlined the RTO that was set by a specific Business Unit.  I did a bit of digging through corporate sites and through a few questions and found that there was actually two (2) sets of RTO’s.  The first was the one desired by the BU and then one based on actuality from IT.  I asked how come there was such a difference and no one could answer it.  It turns out the two almost never touched base on the subject so there was no reconciliation or confirmation of what the actual RTO would be.

...

https://stoneroad.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/bcm-dr-managing-expectations/

In my recent blog, entitled “A Case for Data Lakes in Upstream”, we explored the benefits of implementing a data lake in the upstream industry. As a follow-up, in this post I will dive deeper and discuss how a data lake architecture should look.  Assuming a capital investment has been made and the proper governance is in place, a savvy Upstream energy executive will be interested in how a big data analytics platform can be integrated with existing infrastructure to provide a high level of business value insight extraction.

A natural lake is typically created when many water sources converge to fill it. Rain, streams and tributaries unite to create this new entity.  Similarly, a data lake is made up of data from myriad sources, (e.g. PDFs, spreadsheets on a SharePoint site, data warehouses) consisting of multi-structured data.  These data sources flow into the lake and should be deposited in the landing zone or “raw” area.  From there, data will be modified and placed in either the “refined” area or the “user-defined” area, each of which has a designated role to play.

...

http://www.enaxisconsulting.com/diving-deeper-data-lake-architecture-in-upstream/

Overprovisioned. Undersubscribed. Those are some of the most common adjectives people apply when speaking about IT architecture or data centers. Both can cause data center operational issues that can result in outages or milder reliability issues for mechanical and electrical infrastructure. The simple solution to this problem is to “right-size your data center.”

Unfortunately, that is easier to say than to actually do. For many, the quest to right-size turns into an exercise akin to a dog chasing its tail. So, we constantly ask ourselves the question: Is right-sizing a fool’s errand? From my perspective, the process of right-sizing is invaluable; the process provides the critical data necessary to build (and sustain) a successful data center strategy.

When it comes to right-sizing, the crux of the issue always comes down to what IT assets are being supported and what applications are required to operate the organization. However, with the variability in computer load and the ability to load-balance and shift loads within the data center without any disruption to operations, let alone the ability direct these IT loads to other data center, picking the size of mechanical/electrical infrastructure is the challenge.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/10/04/is-right-sizing-your-data-center-a-fools-errand/

IT risk management can be a risk all by itself. Although the principles sound straightforward, applying them incorrectly can lead to wasted effort, mistakes in risk postures, and failing to spot relevant risks or changes in those risks.

At best, you could end up with a risk management approach that leaves other experienced parties sighing with disappointment. At worst, your enterprise could be unprepared and exposed if risks turn into reality. Avoiding the following traps can be a good way to start improving the situation.

...

http://www.opscentre.com/four-pitfalls-risk-management-avoid/

John Boruvka looks at the findings of a recent IDG Research survey, explores its implications for business continuity, and looks at what you can do about it.

Many organizations protect their utmost critical applications with business continuity plans, and that’s great; but where is the plan for the next 20 or 30 applications that still have significant impact on the business?  The results of a recent IDG Research survey reveal that 55 percent of critical software applications do not meet expectations for application support. As you may expect, this wastes valuable resources, drives up costs, and disrupts the continuity of your business operations. If you are concerned with business continuity in your company, it’s important to understand the risks associated with licensing critical software applications, and why you need to take protections to safeguard the software at the heart of your business operations.

Reasons why vendors don’t meet support expectations

Any software application can be mission-critical in today’s digitized business world. A company can only survive and thrive when it gets adequate support for the applications that drive it. In the IDG Research survey, sponsored by Iron Mountain, IT decision makers reported on a number of reasons why an outside vendor did not meet support expectations, as shown in figure one.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/index.php/news/business-continuity-news/1449-business-continuity-for-critical-software-applications

Tuesday, 04 October 2016 00:00

Cybersecurity’s False Front

It’s the beginning of October and that means it is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. We certainly came into this month with a lot of cybersecurity news that has businesses, government and consumers alike taking notice of the risks involved in a breach and the fact that we have a real need for improved cybersecurity practices. I thought this would be a good time to take a look at what the cybersecurity landscape looks like right now.

We’re making some progress in the cybersecurity battle but there is still a long way to go. At least, that’s what CyberArk’s 10th annual Global Advanced Threat Landscape Survey found. According to the report, 82 percent of organizations believe the IT security industry has made some headway against cyberattacks, but any progress has been stymied by poor security practices in three primary areas: privileged access, the cloud and third-party access. While companies are thinking about breaches, the report added, the focus seems to continue to be on the post-breach process, and IT and security departments are overconfident in their ability to stop attacks – an overconfidence that may actually be putting networks and data at greater risk. As John Worrall, CMO with CyberArk, said in a formal statement:

- Advertisement -

The findings of this year’s Global Advanced Threat Landscape Survey demonstrate that cyber security awareness doesn’t always equate to being secure. Organizations undermine their own efforts by failing to enforce well-known, security best practices around potential vulnerabilities. There’s a fine line between preparedness and overconfidence.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/cybersecuritys-false-front.html

(Bloomberg Gadfly) — If horror-film villain Freddy Krueger had threatened terror for nine movies but never followed through with evil acts, eventually movie-goers would have stopped being scared of him.

Google is at risk of becoming that neutered Freddy Krueger.

For years, Google’s cloud software for businesses has been seen as a scary, looming threat to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft. It has Google Apps for Work, a competitor to Microsoft Office, and a relatively newer cloud business vying against AWS and Microsoft to take over back-end computing chores. Executives have said they expect Google’s cloud software to make more money than its ad products in 2020.

To put that ambition in context, Google’s ad products generated $67 billion in revenue last year.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/10/03/google-must-prove-its-making-headway-in-the-cloud-gadfly/

Data breaches can wreak havoc on organizations. While most companies concentrate their security energies on fighting hackers and educating end users, one area of security that seems to be getting the short shrift is proper data removal.

According to a study by Blancco Technology Group, more than half (53 percent) of global IT professionals use two common, but ineffective, methods to erase data on corporate desktop/laptop computer, external drives and servers.

The study, Delete vs. Erase: How Companies Wipe Active Files, involved 400 IT professionals in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Germany, Japan, China and India.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/smb-tech/majority-of-organizations-use-wrong-data-erasure-tactics.html

BATON ROUGE, La. – FEMA has awarded the state approximately $146 million to reimburse local entities for expenses related to response and recovery efforts as a result of August’s severe storms and floods.

Here is a breakdown of the funding:

  •  Nearly $40 million for debris removal expenses in East Baton Rouge Parish.
  • More than $6 million for debris removal expenses in Livingston Parish.
  • More than $5 million for expenses related to the National Guard’s public safety actions during the disaster response.
  • Nearly $95 million for the state’s Shelter at Home program that provides emergency repairs to disaster-damaged homes of disaster survivors.

FEMA continues working with its local and state partners to ensure they are reimbursed all eligible disaster-related expenses.  

The funds were made available through FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program. The program reimburses disaster-related expenses to eligible local, state and certain private nonprofit entities in 26 designated parishes to repair or replace disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure.

The 26 designated parishes for PA funding are Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Point Coupee, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.

FEMA typically reimburses 75 percent of eligible PA expenses. However, applicants will be reimbursed 90 percent of eligible PA expenses given the magnitude of the August severe storms and floods. The federal portion is paid directly to the state, which then disburses the funds to the applicants.

Excavator picking up debris on the side of the road.
Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. Debris cleanup begins in Zachary, La. (Photo by J.T. Blatty/FEMA) Download Original

According to the results of a recent Alertsec survey of 1,200 U.S. residents, 97 percent of respondents said data breaches "unsettle" them and result in negative brand perception.

Almost a third (29 percent) of respondents said it would take them several months to begin trusting a company again following a data breach.

And while 22 percent of respondents said it would only take them a month to forgive the company, 17 percent of men and 11 percent of women said their trust in the company would be lost permanently.

...

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/97-percent-of-consumers-say-theyre-unsettled-by-data-breaches.html

When authorities zeroed in on suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami in connection with recent bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey, they called on a formidable new force in the manhunt. We’re not talking about a branch of law enforcement or a covert Special Forces agency. We’re talking about millions of civilians with the unprecedented potential to aid in Rahami’s capture thanks to receiving real-time smart phone alerts aimed at harnessing their collective vigilance. Let’s take a closer look at this breakthrough technology, along with highlighting how community policing is transforming public safety.

What is Community Policing?

While police exist to protect people and property, the fact is that there are only so many of them. Simply put: they can’t be everywhere at every time. But this doesn’t have to mean that their reach is compromised by their limited numbers. Enter community policing.

...

http://blog.sendwordnow.com/manhunts-go-digital-community-policing-toward-enhanced-public-safety

The Business Continuity Institute - Oct 04, 2016 15:29 BST

Writing a business continuity plan is a piece of cake these days, isn't it? A quick trawl of the internet will turn up several plan templates that you can download, or you could try and get hold of another organization's plan from one of your friends or acquaintances. Then all you need to do is to insert your organization's name and contact details and Bob's your uncle, there's your plan.

Clearly this is utter nonsense! However, it's surprising, if not a mite worrying, that some people actually adopt this approach. But it's missing the point somewhat. And the point is that there's a huge difference between a business continuity capability and a business continuity plan.

Developing that capability means planning as opposed to just writing a plan. It means having a strategy and implementing solutions. And, amongst other things, it means involvement from the business, education and awareness and exercising and testing, to develop, instil and prove that capability.

Filling in your details in someone else's document might make you feel like you've got a plan. Just don't expect it to actually work when you need it will you?

Andy Osborne is the Consultancy Director at Acumen, and author of Practical Business Continuity Management. You can follow him on Twitter and his blog or link up with him on LinkedIn.

ATLANTA, Ga. – Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams are working in hurricane-stricken neighborhoods to help Florida hurricane survivors register for assistance.

The teams are made up of disaster specialists from the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They are canvassing areas to give residents an opportunity to register for disaster assistance and to quickly identify and address immediate and emerging needs. The teams can also provide application updates and referrals to additional resources when needs remain.

These mobile team members can be identified easily by their photo identifications and FDEM or FEMA clothing. Florida residents are reminded to ask for photo identification before providing personal information.

Homeowners, renters and business owners affected by Hurricane Hermine from August 31 to September 11, 2016, in Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco, and Pinellas counties are eligible to register for federal assistance.

In addition to the registration opportunity offered by recovery teams, survivors can register for assistance by the following methods:

  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • By calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362, which is video relay service accessible. Survivors who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have difficulty speaking may call TTY 800-462-7585. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Assistance is available in multiple languages.
  • Business owners can find an electronic loan application on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Questions can be answered by calling the SBA disaster customer service center at 800-659-2955/ (TTY) 800-877-8339 or visiting sba.gov/disaster.

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.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

(TNS) - Hurricane Matthew bore down on Jamaica and Haiti Saturday as an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm, following a projected path that showed an increased risk to South Florida.

Conditions had already begun deteriorating Saturday in Jamaica, where high waves pounded the coast and flooding temporarily cut the road from the airport to the capital. Authorities said a hurricane watch, already posted for Jamaica and Haiti, could be extended to eastern Cuba later Saturday.

The storm, which reached monstrous Category 5 strength overnight, with winds of 160 miles per hour, weakened slightly Saturday to a Category 4, with maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Hurricane-Matthew-bears-down-on-Caribbean-islands-may-threaten-South-Florida.html

ATLANTA, Ga. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended federal disaster aid in eight Florida counties to help the state, local and tribal governments and certain private nonprofits cover disaster-related expenses and the repair or rebuilding of critical infrastructure.

The state, local and tribal governments and certain private nonprofits in Alachua, Baker, Gilchrist, Manatee, Marion, Sarasota, Sumter, and Union counties can now request funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance grant program to help pay for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair or rebuilding of roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, equipment, utilities, parks and recreational facilities.

Citrus, Dixie, Franklin, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla counties were previously designated for FEMA Public Assistance funding.

“The additional federal infrastructure funding is intended to help Florida’s hard-hit communities recover from the devastation left by Hurricane Hermine,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Terry L. Quarles.

Assistance for Individuals and Businesses

Individuals and businesses in Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco, and Pinellas counties can begin the disaster assistance process by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362, which is video relay service accessible.

Survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have difficulty speaking may call TTY 800-462-7585. Helpline hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week until further notice.

Disaster assistance may include money to help pay for temporary housing and essential home repairs. Low-interest SBA loans may also be available for losses not covered by insurance or other sources.

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.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

Monday, 03 October 2016 00:00

The (Sad) Case for BYOD Management

It wasn’t that long ago we were debating the value (improved productivity, increased employee satisfaction) personal mobile devices could bring to the enterprise, beyond BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Note I say "could." Just a few short years ago, we were still discussing whether or not organizations should allow employees to rely on mobile devices for work and whether that would come via personally owned devices or a fleet of pre-approved devices owned and managed by the organization. Fast forward to 2016, and that conversation is nearly null and void--people use their own devices for work whether the organization ultimately "prefers" it or not.

But are your customers equipped to handle the security challenges mobile devices inevitably bring?  Sadly, a new survey commissioned by Bitglass says no. While 72 percent of organizations support BYOD for some or all employees, just 14 percent have deployed some kind of mobile device management.

If your customers are struggling to rein in the use of mobile devices and implement basic data security, here are a few simple steps you can offer to help them get started.

...

http://mspmentor.net/blog/sad-case-byod-management

The global buildout of cloud data centers by internet giants is marching on. The latest move and countermove in the cloud arms race came from Amazon and Google this week, both companies announcing new locations they are adding to their growing lists of cloud availability regions.

They, as well as Microsoft and IBM, have been investing billions of dollars collectively to expand the global reach of their cloud empires by both building data centers and leasing space from data center providers, such as Digital Realty Trust, Equinix, T-Systems, EdgeConneX, and 21Vianet, among others.

Extending physical infrastructure into new regions reduces latency for customers in those regions, gives users more backup location options, reduces data transport costs (for both users and cloud providers themselves), and helps organizations comply with data-location regulations, wherever they apply

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/09/30/amazon-google-detail-next-round-cloud-data-center-launches/

Let’s admit it. We don’t always read everything corporate sends out. We are all bogged down with too many emails, voicemails we rarely hear, and well-meaning company newsletters that hardly get a look. No offense to the people who take the time to put them together, but we all have a lot to manage these days and kind of assume the critical stuff will get to us somehow.

What can a company do to improve employee communications open rates? Here are a few ideas to ensure you get your messages heard.

...

https://www.alertmedia.com/how-to-get-workers-to-listen-to-employee-communications

BATON ROUGE, La.— A quick fix may change your decision if you applied for FEMA help following Louisiana’s August severe storms and floods and you disagree with your determination letter.                                                                                                  

Everybody has a right to appeal. Read your determination letter carefully to understand FEMA’s decision and know exactly what you need to do for your appeal. Many times applicants just need to submit some extra documents for FEMA to process their application. FEMA can reconsider you in some cases if you:                                

  • Submit insurance documents. Provide documents from your insurance company that detail your coverage or settlement is insufficient to make essential home repairs, provide a place to stay, or replace certain contents. FEMA cannot duplicate homeowner or renter insurance benefits.
  • Prove occupancy. Provide documents that prove the damaged home or rental was your primary residence by supplying a copy of utility bills, driver’s license or lease.
  • Prove ownership. Provide documents such as mortgage or insurance documents, tax receipts or a deed. If you don’t have a deed handy, contact your local or parish officials about obtaining a copy.

There are many other reasons you may disagree with FEMA’s decision. If you feel the amount or type of assistance is incorrect, submit an appeal letter and any documents to support your claim, including a contractor’s estimate for home repairs. You should have received a booklet called "Help After a Disaster" that explains what you need to provide for your situation. The booklet is available online at www.fema.gov/help-after-disaster.

Your letter should also include:

  • Your full name
  • Your registration number on all pages
  • The FEMA disaster declaration number—DR-4277-LA—on all pages
  • Your signature

Mail documents and your letter within 60 days of receiving your determination letter to:

FEMA National Processing Service Center

P.O. Box 10055

Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

You can also submit them online at disasterassistance.gov or fax them to 800-827-8112.

If you have any questions about submitting insurance documents, proving occupancy or ownership, or anything else about your determination letter, you may call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service can call 800-621-3362. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. You can also visit a Louisiana disaster recovery center and speak with a disaster assistance representative. Locate your closest center by going online to fema.gov/drc or by calling the FEMA helpline.

What to do if you disagree with FEMA’s decision letter1. Read the letter carefully to find out why the decision was made.Do you need to provide additional information?• Insurance determination letter.• Proof of occupancy or ownership.• Proof of ID.• Applicant’s signature.Common reasons for the initial decision:• The damage was to a secondary home or a rental property, not a primary residence.• Someone else in the household applied and received assistance.• Disaster-related losses could not be verified.• Insurance covered all losses.2. Contact FEMA for help with filing an appeal or any questions.Call800-621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service available)800-462-7585 (TTY)VisitA Disaster Recovery Center3. File a written appeal.Explain why you think the decision was not correct.• Provide supporting information and documents.• Include your FEMA registration number on all documents.• Sign the letter.Mail or fax your appeal within 60 days of the decision letter date, or drop it off at a Disaster Recovery Center.
This graphic explains the appeals process for individuals who've applied for disaster assistance. Download Original

On September 13, 2016, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) released proposed cybersecurity regulations for financial institutions.1 When the regulations become effective, they will make New York the first state to implement mandatory cybersecurity requirements on financial institutions, though others are now likely to follow New York’s lead. The regulations are the culmination of several years of DFS interest in how financial services companies address cybersecurity issues. The regulations will be open for public comment for 45 days and are set to take effect on January 1, 2017.

The proposed regulations apply to all entities that are licensed or registered under New York banking, insurance or financial services laws, which include a broad array of institutions, such as: state-licensed banks, savings banks, insurance companies, private bankers, licensed lenders, mortgage companies and state-licensed offices of non-U.S. banks.2 Under the proposed regulations, covered institutions must appoint a chief information security officer3 and “[s]enior management must take this issue seriously and be responsible for the organization’s cybersecurity program and file an annual certification confirming compliance with these regulations.” In addition, the proposed regulations require covered entities to report to DFS within 72 hours any cybersecurity event “that has a reasonable likelihood of materially affecting the normal operation of the entity or that affects Nonpublic Information.”

...

http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/new-york-dfs-announces-new-proposed-cybersecurity-regulations/

A recent Bitglass survey of more than 500 IT professionals found that one in three respondents said their enterprise has experienced an insider attack in the last year, and fully 74 percent said their enterprise is vulnerable to insider threats.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said insider leaks have become more frequent in the past year.

Seventy-one percent said they're most concerned about inadvertent leaks resulting from the use of unsanctioned apps, unintended external sharing, and unsecured mobile devices. Sixty-eight percent are concerned about leaks resulting from negligence, and 61 percent are concerned about leaks caused by malicious insiders.

...

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/one-third-of-enterprises-have-suffered-an-insider-breach-in-the-past-12-months.html

(TNS) - A marker line on the archway of a door in Vinyl Acres on East Patrick Street marks where 3 feet of water reached one year ago after a flood.

“It keeps us from exaggerating,” co-owner Martha Hull said of the water that was throughout the building.

The business, which sells used records, lost about $30,000 of inventory and was closed for a few weeks, but has recovered with the help of the community, she said. Vinyl Acres was one of several businesses damaged by heavy rain and flooding Sept. 29, 2015.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/-One-year-after-flood-Frederick-businesses-grateful-for-communitys-help-in-recovery.html

Friday, 30 September 2016 00:00

MSP Goes From Worst Year to Best Year

A simple business philosophy has largely guided Michael Cook in operating his Norwood, Mass., managed services provider (MSP).

“It’s kind of common sense,” said the CEO and founder of 17-year-old Corporate IT Solutions (CITS). “I never had a lot of advice or consulting.”

That changed last year, when Cook felt he could no longer stand by in the face of some worrying and pervasive trends.

...

http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/msp-goes-worst-year-best-year

If you were one of the 500 million who were affected by the Yahoo breach (and I’m right there with you), you have something in common with the top 1,000 companies in the Forbes Global 2000 list. According to research conducted by Digital Shadows, 97 percent of organizations have breached credentials publicly available online, with a median average of 706 credentials per organization. This information is regularly sold, traded, or shared by the hackers, even years after the initial breach occurs. As the report stated:

As a result, the number of compromised credentials that are available online is staggering, providing a goldmine for attackers. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that one report claimed that breached credentials were responsible for 63 percent of data breaches.

These credentials, like passwords and other authentication data, open the door for more damage, the report stated, saying that threat actors will use that information to take over accounts, extort specific individuals within the company, and turn computers into botnets.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/most-of-us-are-victims-of-compromised-credentials.html

(TNS) - Tropical Storm Matthew is gaining strength while moving into the Caribbean Sea and could become a hurricane later today, forecasters say.

It's too soon to tell what impact Matthew might have on Florida as its path is still fairly uncertain, but local forecasters say they'll watching this weekend.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter plane flew into the storm this morning and found maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Winds need to reach 74 mph for Matthew to be upgraded to a hurricane.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Tropical-Storm-Matthew-could-be-hurricane-soon-forecasters-say.html

Friday, 30 September 2016 00:00

Are You As Prepared As You Think You Are?

We’d like to think we’d know what to do in an emergency, but studies show many Americans are not as prepared as they think they are. If we, as private citizens, haven’t prepared our homes and families for emergencies, how can we expect our employers to have a plan in place?

Preparing your home for an emergency is quite different than your workplace. We assume our managers and executives have some sort of plan in the books, right? Maybe the answer is in a poll that revealed more than half of Americans assume local authorities will come to their rescue with disaster strikes, whether at home or in the office. If you’re a business owner or have a management role, particularly related to security, maybe it’s time to look at mass notification software as part of an emergency plan.

...

https://www.alertmedia.com/are-you-as-prepared-as-you-think-you-are/

(TNS) — Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services is developing a statewide plan for handling the Zika virus, despite federal aid being held up until late Wednesday to assist states in fighting the possibility of an outbreak.

After months of political wrangling, Congress late Wednesday passed a short-term resolution keeping the government open at current spending levels into the new fiscal year, which begins on Saturday, averting a potential shutdown. It includes funding for states to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that carry it.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus linked to birth defects, putting pregnant women in particular at risk. Many with the virus aren’t aware they have it. In 20 percent of cases, the virus causes mild symptoms of fever, joint pain and pink eye.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/health/Without-waiting-for-federal-aid-Missouri-takes-steps-to-prevent-Zika-outbreak.html

The Business Continuity Institute - Sep 30, 2016 15:14 BST

Irish businesses can expect to wait an average of 40 hours to recover mission critical data that has been lost. That is according to a new study carried out by Datapac, which looked at how organizations are managing the increasing demands placed on their technology infrastructures and business continuity systems.

Datapac’s research found that the amount of data being stored by organizations has increased by an average of 37% over the past year. Despite this rapid growth in data volumes, 26% of Irish businesses surveyed admit they never carry out disaster recovery tests to ensure their data back-ups are recoverable.

It is alarming that over a quarter of businesses do not carry out tests as the only other way of finding out whether or not their processes work is during a crisis. This is clearly a bad time to find out that they don't.

The Cyber Resilience Report, published by the Business Continuity Institute, revealed that two-thirds of organizations experienced a cyber security incident during the previous year and 15% experienced at least 10. This shows that the cyber threat is very real and organizations must take it seriously. This means making sure processes are in place to ensure that data can be recovered quickly and that those processes are tested to make sure that they work.

Karen O’Connor, general manager service delivery at Datapac, commented: “The average length of time to recover mission critical data is unacceptably long at 40 hours. Delays of this magnitude will cause significant financial and reputational damage for most businesses in Ireland. Another worrying finding is that more than a quarter of businesses never carry our tests on their disaster recovery capabilities."

Earlier this month, I wrote a post about Stefan Weitz, a former Microsoft exec who left that company after 17 years to embark on a mission to help online retailers thrive, despite having the dominance of Amazon perpetually looming over them. In this follow-up post, I want to drill down on the vehicle he chose to accomplish that.

That vehicle is Radial, an omnichannel order management system provider in King of Prussia, Pa. Weitz serves as Radial’s chief product and strategy officer, and in my recent interview with him I raised the topic of a Forrester report, released in July, that included some findings that warranted a response from Radial. This follow-up post focuses on that response.

I kicked off this portion of the interview by noting that in its Forrester Wave Omnichannel Order Management report for Q3 2016, the research firm listed IBM and Manhattan Associates as the two omnichannel order management providers in its “Leaders” category, with Radial in a second-tier “Strong Performers” category that includes Oracle, SAP, and NetSuite. So I asked Weitz what Radial needs to do to break away from that pack and get into the “Leaders” category. He initially responded by distinguishing Radial from IBM and Manhattan:

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/from-under-the-rug/radial-exec-responds-to-criticisms-in-forrester-report.html

Even if the “IT” may disappear, as the new name becomes simply “Services Management”, IT will still be at the heart of most business activities.

On the other hand, it can be helpful to know about factors driving the conversion of ITSM into SM. The first of these is the digital transformation of the enterprise, which depends on IT, but affects all departments from sales to logistics, and from finance to production.

Consumerisation of IT, cloud and mobile computing have already helped IT to break out of the narrow confines of the IT department. Software may be eating the world, as Marc Andreessen proclaimed a few years ago, but in fact, both sides are tucking in.

...

http://www.opscentre.com/future-service-management-may-lose/

CHICAGO –Join National PrepareAthon! Day on September 30 and take action to improve your emergency preparedness and resilience to disasters.  America's PrepareAthon! is a grassroots campaign developed to encourage individuals, organizations and communities to prepare for specific hazards through drills, group discussions and exercises.

“It’s important to be proactive about emergency preparedness so you know what to do if disaster strikes,” said FEMA Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. “Engage your family, friends and neighbors to identify the risks in your community and understand what to do to stay safe.”

  • Sign up for local alerts and warnings and check for access to wireless emergency alerts. Visit the websites for your city and/or county to find out if they offer emergency alert notifications. You should also ensure your cell phone is enabled to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to warn you of extreme weather and other emergencies in your area. Remember, warning sirens are intended for outdoor notification. When indoors, your alert-enabled smart phone or weather radio can provide you with critical alerts.

  • Develop and test emergency communications plans. Visit www.Ready.gov/plan-for-your-risks for tips on how to ensure your plan is as comprehensive as possible.

  • Assemble or update emergency supplies. Include drinking water, a first-aid kit, canned food, a radio, flashlight and blankets. Visit www.Ready.gov/build-a-kit for a disaster supply checklist. Don’t forget to store additional supply kits in your car and at the office.

  • Collect and safeguard critical documents. Make copies of important documents (mortgage papers, deed, passport, bank information, etc.). Keep copies in your home and store originals in a secure place outside the home, such as a bank safe deposit box.

  • Document property and obtain appropriate insurance for relevant hazards. Discuss with your insurance agent the risks that may threaten your home and the types of coverage you may need to ensure your property is adequately insured.

  • Download the FEMA app to your smartphone. You’ll receive alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the U.S. and have access to information about how to stay safe.

More information about the ways to register for and participate in America’s PrepareAthon! Day is available at www.Ready.gov/prepare. For even more readiness information, follow FEMA Region V at twitter.com/femaregion5 and facebook.com/fema.

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.

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.

Thursday, 29 September 2016 00:00

6 Steps to an “Organized” Emergency

rganized emergency may seem like an oxymoron but if you are prepared, even an emergency can be orchestrated well enough to avoid chaos. One of the first things we’re told in a crisis is not to panic. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many people do. It’s not that the situation isn’t dire, but when people feel out of control and ill-prepared, anxiety rises and panic can ensue.

Planning is critical. Practice is a must. An old military adage, often referred to as “The 6 Ps of Success,” is “Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” This can hold true for just about anything in life, including an emergency. The more you plan in advance, the more likely you will be able to withstand whatever comes your way.

Of course, we can’t predict, and therefore plan, for absolutely everything. Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 taught us that. But there are a few steps companies can take to put employees’ minds at ease to know a well-thought out plan is in place.

...

https://www.alertmedia.com/6-steps-to-an-organized-emergency/

InformationWeek has named Bluelock among a list of the top 25 cloud vendors to consider for growing business demands, titled “25 Cloud Vendors Worth Watching.” As the author of the article, Charles Babcock, explains, “Cloud services are firmly established in the fabric of IT staff operations as necessary and growing ingredients of enterprise computing.” For this reason, he says InformationWeek’s list is helpful to companies as they discern cloud models for their critical data.

Babcock notes that the list includes a variety of cloud types for diverse business ecosystems: public, private, and hybrid, as well as tools for the management and monitoring of these options. Bluelock offers all of these cloud models with the ability to monitor them for real-time business intelligence in our client portal, Bluelock Portfolio.

We are honored to be included as one of the few Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) vendors in this impressive list. Our cloud solutions offer secure, yet highly-available hosting and data recovery for even the most complex IT environments.

Read the full article here.

Just how much of a threat is flooding? FEMA has proposed setting limits to federally funded construction projects in order to shore up flood-prone communities from the hazards of flooding. Let’s take a closer look at the situation and FEMA’s response, along with other ways organizations and individuals can protect themselves in a flood situation.

The Facts on Floods

Over the past five years alone, all 50 states have experienced some form of flood or flash flood. Not only that, but everyone lives in a flood zone, according to FloodSmart. And just a few inches of flood water can yield significant damages—a scenario made exponentially worse by the fact that flood damage is not typically covered by homeowners insurance.

Even more dire? A future in which big storms which once happened every 20 years or so are expected to occur as frequently as every four years by the end of the 21st century, according to the National Wildlife Federation. In fact, homes in high-risk areas are now more likely to incur damage caused by flood than by fire.

...

http://blog.sendwordnow.com/why-fema-is-taking-a-stand-on-flooding-and-why-you-should-too

The Business Continuity Institute - Sep 29, 2016 09:47 BST

Increasingly, businesses are moving critical infrastructure online, making them more vulnerable to digital threats, but despite this, a new study by TalkTalk has shown that even though there has been an increased concern cyber security over the last year, and an increased spend on it, there is still a high degree of complacency, with few common practices in response to this threat.

The cyber security white paper found that, while 87% of businesses reported having some form of continuity plan in place, fewer than half of businesses have secure practice guidelines to ensure employees know how to keep the business safe. One of the biggest problems when it comes to cyber security in British businesses is not that there are no measures in place, but that they are inconsistently applied, and not reinforced. Nearly 90% of respondents reported having a plan in place for when a data breach occurs, but only 56% of respondents believe they are secure when it comes to digital threats, and 52% of businesses still do not have any secure practice guidelines.

Overall, 86% of respondents believe they are doing enough to mitigate the impact of cyber attacks. Most respondents still think it’s enough to have the IT or security department involved in mitigating the effect of cyber attacks, with 33% considering the IT department solely responsible for handling security threats. In addition, almost two thirds of respondents stated that cyber security is not their department’s responsibility. And while over three quarters of businesses have a board that is involved in assessing cyber security preparedness, only one quarter have a dedicated security executive.

The Cyber Resilience Report, published by the Business Continuity Institute, revealed that two-thirds of organizations experienced a cyber security incident during the previous year and 15% experienced at least 10. This shows that the cyber threat is very real and organizations must take it seriously, and this starts by making sure resources are available to combat the threat. Such is the level of the threat that cyber attacks and data breaches were identified as the top two concerns to business continuity professionals in the BCI's Horizon Scan Report.

Kristine Olson-Chapman, General Manager at TalkTalk Business, said: “For us cyber security is no longer just a technology issue, it’s a business issue for the whole company. Any business that has ever had a cyber attack will tell you that they never expected it, even with all the processes in place. Businesses need to ask themselves what they need to do now to plan and prepare.

Windsor Holden, Head of Forecasting & Consultancy at Juniper Research, commented: “Cyber security is a big concern for businesses of all sizes, as an attack could cost millions of pounds in lost data, reputation, time and customers. Yet, our study shows that businesses believe they are far more secure than they really are. While no business can be completely safe nowadays, there are steps that companies can take to ensure they are as safe as possible, and can recover as quickly as possible in the event of a cyber attack.

Thursday, 29 September 2016 00:00

Fusion Sponsors DRJ Fall 2016 in Phoenix

This week, Fusion Risk Management traveled to Phoenix for DRJ Fall World 2016. As the Gold Sponsors, we were thrilled to make the trip out there to connect with all of the best BC/DR practitioners, especially our incredible customers.

Along with our time in the Exhibit Hall, we also held (jam-packed!) lunchtime demo sessions for both our prospects and customers. Those new to Fusion got to see a live demonstration of the Fusion Framework System and ask our product specialists/developers questions in order to understand the product more thoroughly.

Our customers were able to get a preview of the Fusion Framework Enterprise Communities – a software that will enhance crisis response, situation awareness, and safety & security across their entire organizations. They also got the inside scoop on Fusion Fuel Advisory Consulting AND our very first multi-day international customer training event, coming June 2017!

...

http://www.fusionrm.com/blog/fusion-sponsors-drj-fall-2016-phoenix/

BATON ROUGE, La. – You have until Friday, Oct. 14 to apply for disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) if you lost work as a result of Louisiana’s August severe storms and floods.
DUA may be available if the disaster affected your employment—even if you’re self-employed, a farmer or a farm worker—and you fall under one of the following categories:

  • Your workplace was damaged or destroyed.
  • Transportation to work was unavailable.
  • You could not get to your job because you had to travel through an affected area.
  • The disaster prevented you from starting a new job.
  • Your business suffered because you relied on an affected area for most of its income.

DUA may be available if you’re an affected worker in the one of the following parishes: Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Point Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.
Due to high call volume, the state encourages you to apply online at www.laworks.net. You may also apply by calling 866-783-5567 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Remember that DUA is different from applying for FEMA help and other forms of disaster assistance.
You’ll need your Social Security number, check stubs and documentation to support the claim that you were working, about to begin work or self-employed when the August severe storms and floods occurred. Additional documentation may be required. All required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the date the DUA application is filed.
If you’re eligible, you may receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance until Feb. 18, 2017 as long as your unemployment continues to be disaster-related.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:00

CDC: Ready Now!

Cars driving on a highway are stuck in traffic because of a snow storm.

Nickole Cheron, Disability Coordinator for the city of Portland, Oregon

Nickole Cheron, Disability Coordinator for the city of Portland, Oregon

A rare winter storm in 2008 buried Portland, Oregon under more than a foot of snow, leaving the city gridlocked. Like many others around the city, Nickole Cheron was stuck in her home for eight days. But for Nickole—who was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that weakens the body’s muscles over time—the storm was potentially life-threatening.

To live well with her disability, Nickole depends on outside assistance to get through her days, relying on a wheelchair and full-time caregivers for most routine tasks. Being alone and without assistance was not an option. Fortunately, Nickole had taken steps to prepare. She had signed up for Ready Now!, an emergency preparedness training program developed by the Oregon Office of Disability and Health, and she quickly put what she learned into action.

The Ready Now! training, presented in partnership with Oregon Health Sciences University, is specially designed to educate people with disabilities on how to prepare themselves for a disaster or an emergency situation.

“The most important thing I learned from the training was to have a back-up plan in case of an emergency,” Nickole says. “When I heard the snowstorm was coming, I emailed all my caregivers to find out who lived close by and would be available. I made sure I had a generator, batteries for my wheelchair, and at least a week’s supply of food, water and prescription medication.”

Nickole says the training was empowering and reinforced her confidence to face an emergency situation with a disability. She felt better informed about the potential risks people with disabilities could encounter during a disaster. For example, clinics might close, streets and sidewalks might be impassable, or caregivers might be unable to travel.

Preparedness is a mindset

 Preparedness means always thinking about what might happen and how it might affect you and those around you, and then taking steps ahead of time to stay safe and healthy. Everyone faces a unique set of risks and has unique needs. People with disabilities – like Nickole – often must rely more on others, especially in emergencies.

For the millions of Americans who have disabilities, events like extreme weather, fires, floods, acts of terrorism, and disease outbreaks present a special set of challenges. One of the important lessons from the response to Hurricane Katrina was that gaps existed in pre-disaster planning among people with disabilities and local emergency management agencies.

While no one can predict every emergency, Ready Now! and other programs like it help people with disabilities and their family members plan ahead to protect themselves. For Nickole, it may have saved her life.

Share Nickole’s story and the following resources with friends, family, and neighbors:

Read our other National Preparedness Month blogs:

SAN FRANCISCO — Bay Dynamics®, a leader in cyber risk analytics, unveiled today the third in a series of reports, all of which examine how boards of directors and IT security professionals prioritize, communicate and reduce cyber risk.  The report, titled, What’s Driving Boards of Directors to Make Cyber Security a Top Priority?” uncovers the specific drivers behind why boards of directors are making cybersecurity a top priority and the challenges they face in reducing cyber risk. In particular, the report found that 46 percent of board members believe compliance regulations help establish stronger security, but nearly 60 percent struggle with meeting increased mandates — a nearly 20 percent jump over the past two years.

The report is based on a nationwide survey, conducted by the third-party research firm Osterman Research, that interviewed 126 board members who are actively serving on boards of enterprises and receive reports about companies’ cybersecurity programs. Some of the additional findings include:

...

http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/new-report-finds-compliance-regulations-driving-boards-make-cybersecurity-top-priority/

The first, and probably most important, point to understand is that there is simply more data traversing today’s internet and cloud ecosystems. At the cusp of the digital revolution, businesses and individual users are using more content, richer applications, and improved experiences. At the core of this technological shift is data and our capability to deliver and control its distribution.

A recent Cisco report indicated that metro traffic surpassed long-haul traffic in 2015 and will account for 66% of total IP traffic by 2019. Globally, metro traffic will grow nearly twice as fast as long-haul traffic from 2014 to 2019. The higher growth in metro networks is due in part to the increasingly significant role of content delivery networks (CDNs), which bypass long-haul links and deliver traffic to metro and regional backbones.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/09/28/taking-data-edge-cdns-role-grows-data-center/

The corporate compliance function is only as successful as its partnerships with key internal constituencies. Depending on the company and the personnel involved, compliance has to establish and maintain effective working partnerships with key functions, such as human resources, legal, finance, and security.

All of the relationships are mutually beneficial. Each component works better when it is able to partner and work seamlessly with another related function. In some sense, a company consists of interdependent functions – one cannot operate without the other.

Human resources is a natural partner for compliance. They share common goals and can leverage each other in terms of resources.

...

http://blog.volkovlaw.com/2016/09/match-made-heaven-compliance-human-resources/

More than six in ten businesses that use public cloud have migrated a second time, either to another public cloud, a private cloud or on-premise systems, according to a report released today by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the technology industry.

According to “Trends in Cloud Computing,” 63 percent of companies polled said they had moved systems or applications from their initial public cloud provider.

...

http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/repeatedly-migrating-cloud-workloads-now-commonplace-businesses

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:00

Is Your Greatest BCM Risk Your BCM Team?

Over the years, we have talked about all kinds of risk in our programs. Compliance risk, residual risk, third party risk, and more all need to be considered. However, one BCM risk that we haven’t discussed is closest to us: our own BCM team.

You may ask: how can our own team be a significant risk? Well, don’t forget that you are only as strong as your weakest link. In many cases, you may find that you have more than one weak link. Often, the reason for a low state of organizational BCM compliance and high residual risk has as much as to do with the BCM team as it does as with the organization’s processes, methodology, budget, and management commitment.

The majority of BCM managers do not analyze the skill set of their team on a detailed level, nor do they align it with their strategic roadmap (if they have one). Each member of your team plays an important role, and it is essential that they have the skill set necessary to perform that role and to support one another.

...

http://www.mha-it.com/2016/09/bcm-risk/

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:00

Surge Seen for Software-Defined Datacenter Market

The booming big data market along with growing demand for automated datacenter operations are spurring adoption of management and other services offered by software-defined datacenters, according to a new report that also forecasts a 32-percent annual growth rate for virtualized computing, networking and storage.

In a report released this week, Allied Market Research pegs the software-defined datacenter market at $139 billion by 2022. While cost savings and flexibility continue to drive global adoption, the market researcher also noted that integration complexity and security threats still represent a drag on wider adoption.

Among the adoption drivers for virtualized datacenters is the steady embrace of hybrid cloud models as enterprises look to leverage cloud flexibility and savings while securing proprietary data and applications on-premises.

...

http://www.enterprisetech.com/2016/09/27/surge-seen-software-defined-datacenter-market/

No threat risk model (an assessment of software, network or other risks and threats) is complete without a methodology for rating threats. In an earlier article we addressed two common and simple threat risk models, both developed by Microsoft -- STRIDE and DREAD -- along with the more complex CVSS (Common Vulnerability Scoring System). Here we look at how three others rate threats: Trike, MIL-STD-882E and OCTAVE.

Trike

Trike is an open source threat modeling methodology with a distinct threat rating component. It delves beyond threat modeling and into "attack graph[ing]," requiring extensive parsing and detail.

For threat rating purposes, however, it is much simpler. In the world of Trike, every attack falls into one of two attack types: elevations of privilege or denials of service. (This solves the cross-correlation problems presented by the more simplistic -- and more redundant -- STRIDE, as discussed in the earlier article.)

...

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/selecting-a-threat-risk-model-for-your-organization-part-two.html

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:00

High capacity SSDs: How Big Can They Grow?

Think high capacity SSDs are far off on a distant horizon? Not so. New manufacturing techniques mean that petabyte, high capacity SSDs are probably a question of when, not if.

The world of SSDs  – and what we think of as a "high capacity SSD" – is going to change radically over the next few years. That's because a single SSD will soon be able to store in such vast quantities of data that the very term "high capacity SSD" may end up being wholly inadequate and in need of replacement.

That's good news for many businesses, because the high capacity SSD market has been quite dull for the last few years and technology advances moderate. The main change has been a move from single level cell (SLC) technology to multi-level cell (MLC) and enterprise multi-level cell (eMLC) technology. That's made it possible to offer cheap consumer grade SSDs to sit alongside the more expensive enterprise class ones, and also allowed a general fall in the price per GB stored on high capacity SSDs.

...

http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/storage-hardware/high-capacity-ssds-how-big-can-they-grow.html

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:00

Big Data Will Save Our Planet

It is difficult to argue with numbers. Whether you are a CEO looking to optimise your supply chain or a consumer wondering whether to buy an electric car, it is increasingly clear that our choices will have an impact on the world that our children and their children will live in. The numbers are increasingly indisputable.

Predicting our climate has always been a tricky profession. There are so many factors that play a part, and ever since the infamous Michael Fish denied the 1987 hurricane that devastated huge swathes of the UK, weather forecasters have always been viewed with a certain amount of suspicion.

'They said it would be sunny today, so why is it raining?'

...

https://channels.theinnovationenterprise.com/articles/big-data-will-save-our-planet

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:00

Scalable IoT Deployments Gain Momentum, IDC Finds

As the internet of things (IoT) continues its journey toward becoming a mature technology, companies and their IT departments continue to mull a number of crucial issues including costs, finding the right talent, and security. However, IDC finds that businesses are taking the next steps in creating a true IoT ecosystem a reality.

In its Global IoT Decision Maker Survey, which is in its third year, IDC researchers found that 31.4% of companies surveyed have launched an IoT project or deployment, with an emphasis on cloud computing, analytics, and security. An additional 43% said they are looking to deploy their projects in the next 12 months.

Businesses also appear to see future value in IoT, with 55% of respondents say they believe the technology will make them more competitive.

...

http://www.informationweek.com/iot/scalable-iot-deployments-gain-momentum-idc-finds/d/d-id/1327020

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:00

Consider These 3 Factors When Monetizing Your Data

Big Data’s incredible economic and social influences are evidenced in the variety of industries it’s revolutionizing. For example, healthcare providers can better 'predict epidemics, cure disease, improve quality of life and avoid preventable deaths.' Brands can better serve their existing customers while attracting new ones, and retailers can predict what trends will resonate with their shoppers.

However, those new to the data monetization side of the Big Data industry may feel a little overwhelmed since there are thousands of companies ready and willing to utilize their data. Before you take the plunge and decide where and how you should sell your data, consider these important data factors: location, price, and privacy.

...

https://channels.theinnovationenterprise.com/articles/consider-these-3-factors-when-monetizing-your-data

Millennials Want Two-Way Communication

OpenMarket released interesting statistics it discovered when surveying 500 Millennials ages 18-34 years old. 72 percent of Millennials text 10 or more times a day and 83 percent of them open text messages within 90 seconds of receiving them. 60 percent of Millennials prefer two-way text engagement with companies because it’s convenient, fast, and easy to use.

Texting is the number one preferred channel for notifications from businesses, email is a close second, and voice is a distant third. In fact, Vonage reported a 22 percent drop in sent and received voicemails over the past four years. It seems fewer people are bothering to listen to voicemails, perhaps because it’s one-directional and takes too much time and effort. My, how times have changed.

...

https://www.alertmedia.com/does-your-emergency-plan-include-a-two-way-communication-system

The organizations we work with are increasingly coordinating, and in some cases integrating, the management of their Business Continuity Management (BCM) program with the management of Information Security (InfoSec). This perspective looks at how they are approaching coordination/integration. Let’s explore the various forms of integration possibilities between BCM and InfoSec..

INTEGRATION POSSIBILITIES: BCM & INFOSEC

Coordinating on Incident Response and Exercising
The most basic and common coordination between BCM and InfoSec occurs when coordinating the response to a cyber incident. For an in depth look at this type of coordination, see Integrating BCM and Cyber Security.

...

http://perspectives.avalution.com/2016/integrating-information-security-and-business-continuity/

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:00

Using Social Media in Business Continuity

Social media can be a powerful tool in a business continuity management program arsenal, however, according to a PwC survey of business continuity managers, 57% of respondents are not systematically leveraging social media in their programs, and only 8% believe that social media has helped their organization better identify and respond to crisis events.

Social Media for Business Continuity Management

There are many ways business continuity managers can leverage social media in a crisis, but to be effective requires forethought and training. A 2014 survey on Social Media in the Workplace revealed that 88% of businesses are using social media in some form. Much of the focus to date has been about creating policies for appropriate employee use of social media vs. broadening how the tools can be used for crisis management. While employee misuse of social channels is a concern, this fear has slowed the expansion of social media for legitimate business purposes. There are many ways social media can be used to improve crisis management and overall organizational resiliency.

...

http://www.missionmode.com/social-media-business-continuity/

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:00

Bad Data Costing Companies A Fortune

The cost of poor data quality is tremendous. Estimated by IBM to be roughly $3 billion a year in the US alone, it costs organizations between 10-30% of their revenue a year. Subsequently, despite the promise of big data, just 25% of businesses are successfully using it to optimize revenue, while the rest are losing out on millions.

The sum of money IBM believes is being thrown away may seem unbelievable, but it makes sense when you consider how often data is used in everyday working practices, and the impact that wrong data could have a result. The primary cause of bad data is simple - data decay. Data decay is estimated to be as much as 70% in B2Bs. Using out of date data is like filling a competitive egg eater’s bowl up 70% with rotten eggs - while they might look right, if they don’t stay down then the outcome isn’t going to be pretty for anybody.

...

https://channels.theinnovationenterprise.com/articles/bad-data-costing-companies-a-fortune

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:00

IT Risk Management and Technical Debt

When you shove things higgledy-piggledy into your desk drawer, just to clear space in your workspace, you have a quick solution. You also have a dirty solution, because trying to find the key to your filing cabinet will take you ages afterwards, unless you’re prepared to empty out your drawer onto your workspace – and start all over again. Yes, you’ve just experienced technical debt, first hand!

...

http://www.opscentre.com/risk-management-technical-debt/

A Rhode Island hospital agreed this month to pay $550,000 in settlements after failing to properly update business associate agreements as required under the privacy and security rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), federal authorities said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation into Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island (WIH) after receiving a report of a data breach in November 2012.

...

http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/hospital-pays-400000-hipaa-breach-penalty-obsolete-business-associate-agreement

One of the things that struck me watching today’s Ignite keynote announcement was what wasn’t said, at least not immediately: That Microsoft is a mobile-first, cloud-first company.

The company still definitely is: They boasted that they’re one of the biggest app publishers on Android and iOS and showcased endless datapoints showing Azure’s successes, including noting that it now has 34 regions, twice the number of AWS.

In fact, as my colleague at SuperSite noted, it was a non-Microsoft speaker that first used the phrase.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/09/26/microsoft-ignite-microsoft-chasing-whats-next-after-mobile-first-cloud-first/

FEMA and FCC Issue Reminder and Key Points about Test
 

WASHINGTON – As a reminder, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, September 28, at 2:20 p.m. EDT. In light of the upcoming test, the agencies share the following key informational points:

  • The purpose of the nationwide test is to ensure that EAS remains an effective means of warning the public about emergencies. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems helps to assess the operational readiness of alerting infrastructure and identify any needed technological and administrative improvements.
  • The nationwide test will be administered by FEMA, in cooperation with the FCC and National Weather Service, and with the participation of radio, broadcast TV, cable, satellite, and other service providers (known as “EAS Participants”). EAS Participants are required to file reports with the FCC after the test, which the agency will analyze to determine how the test performed.
  • FEMA’s test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages in that the public should receive both audio and on-screen text conveying that this is only a test.  Specific language will differ slightly as it will indicate that, “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.” (emphasis added.)
  • The test message will be transmitted in both English and Spanish, with EAS Participants deciding which version to use for their communities. The test is intended to last approximately one minute.
  • How EAS works: Emergency alerts are created by authorized government agencies and sent to local radio and video service providers by local connections or through a central system administered by FEMA. The radio and video service providers then disseminate the emergency alert messages to affected communities. The FCC prescribes technical and procedural rules for communications providers’ participation in this process.
  • Public safety officials need to be sure that in times of an emergency or disaster, they have reliable methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public when needed. Conducting regional and national testing supports the continued use, training, and improvement of the system.
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) will not be part of the test. 
  • The back-up date for the test is October 5, 2016, in case the September 28 test is cancelled due to widespread severe weather or other significant events.
  • The test was first officially announced on July 18, 2016. FEMA and the FCC have been coordinating with EAS Participants and other stakeholders in preparation for the test.

September is National Preparedness Month. In addition to conducting the nationwide EAS test, FEMA and the FCC encourage individuals to take action to prepare now and throughout the year. While government plays a role, each of us - including individuals, organizations and businesses - has important things we can do to be ready for the unexpected. Take time this month to be better prepared by following these steps:

  • Make an emergency plan so families know how to reconnect and reunite when an emergency strikes.
  • Download the FEMA App for disaster resources and to receive weather alerts, safety tips, and reminders (in English and Spanish) so you can have peace of mind and be ready for the unexpected.
  • Practice your preparedness. In case you are not with your family during an emergency, practice how you will communicate with each other; digitize important documents and plan a safety drill or exercise at your place of work. 
  • Visit Ready.gov. There are easy-to-use tools and resources available for families, organizations and communities for many disasters, to include floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires at Ready.gov.

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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.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:00

Data Center Stocks are Hot Internationally

Analysts and investors are increasingly excited about data center stocks, and recent performance of a data center provider that went public six years ago in Australia illustrates that the excitement isn’t limited to US markets or the short list of US-based data center giants.

Nextdc, one of the biggest data center providers in Australia, founded by the country’s well-known tech infrastructure entrepreneur Bevan Slattery, is not only the most expensive among six stocks added to the S&P/ASX 200 Index this month; it is the Australian benchmark index’s most expensive stock, period. Nextdc reached its record value last week, and analysts are bullish, according to Bloomberg.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/09/26/data-center-stocks-are-hot-internationally/

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:00

Get Ready for the Talking Data Center

It seems a given at this point that automation will play a major role in IT infrastructure management going forward, and from there it is only a small step toward artificial intelligence and cognitive computing to turn the data center into a largely autonomous entity.

But what will life, and work, be like in an automated environment, and how will humans interact with the intelligent systems that are managing the bulk of the operational workload?

Among the more intriguing aspects of this ongoing development are the twin fields of speech recognition and voice simulation. This is one area in which science fiction may have gotten it right with characters like HAL and the Starship Enterprise’s onboard computer: an overarching data environment that can process human commands and queries through speech rather than typing, clicking or tapping.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/get-ready-for-the-talking-data-center.html

In cybersecurity, there’s a certain sense of helplessness—you are mostly on your own. You are often the first and last line of defense for your information and communications; there is no equivalent of state-protected borders, neighborhood police patrols, and other public protections in cyberspace.

For instance, if your computer were hit by “ransomware”—malware that locks up your system until you pay a fee to extortionists—law enforcement would likely be unable to help you. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) offers this guidance: “To be honest, we often advise people to just pay the ransom.”

Don’t expect a digital cavalry to come to your rescue in time. As online life moves at digital speeds, law enforcement and state responses are often too slow to protect, prosecute, or deter cyberattackers. Sure, some prosecutions are happening but inconsistently and slowly. The major cases that make headlines are conspicuously unresolved, even if authorities confidently say they know who did them.

...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/patricklin/2016/09/26/forget-about-law-and-ethics-is-hacking-back-even-effective/#69ce3e0d16f5

The Business Continuity Institute - Sep 27, 2016 16:04 BST

The risks posed by cyber attacks and reputational damage are increasingly worrying small and medium-sized enterprises according to Zurich Insurance Group’s third annual global SME survey. Among respondents, concerns about cybercrime have almost tripled since 2013 (11% vs 4%), while worries about reputational damage have also increased (14% vs 8% three years ago). Globally, SMEs’ risk awareness increased over the past years as only 7% don't see any risks for their business in 2016.

European SMEs’ awareness and perception of various types of risk have increased since the survey started in 2013. Concerns about cybercrime tripled among European SMEs (12% vs 4%), while the perceived risk of reputational damage doubled (14% vs 7%). Concerns about fire risk also doubled (10% today vs 5%).

Perceived risks in Latin America differ significantly from those in other regions and, since 2013, concerns about natural catastrophes have almost tripled (14% vs 5%). Worries about the risks of damage to corporate transport – including corporate fleets and vehicles -- have more than doubled (13% vs 5%). But, on the bright side, confidence in partners and suppliers has increased (12% see risks here, as opposed to 23% in 2013).

SMEs in Asia Pacific are worried about fire, cybercrime, technological vulnerabilities, health and safety of customers or employees, and corruption, which have almost doubled. However, the fastest-growing concern is the threat of reputational damage, which rose to 12% from 2%.

In the US, risk awareness has risen across the board. Interestingly, technology failures and vulnerabilities feature among the top three risks in the US - significantly higher than in the other regions surveyed. The SMEs’ concerns over risks of theft (18% vs 9%) and damage related to corporate transport (14% vs 6%) also roughly doubled.

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

CDC: How to Be Smart (About Preparedness)

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Blog Administrator

Dramatic sky in contrast with the afternoon sun on a November afternoon in Limburg, the Netherlands

Emergencies are everywhere: from floods to flu, tornadoes to terrorists… How do you prepare for all of it?

Trying to prepare for every possibility can seem impossible. But you can be smart about preparing for the emergencies and situations you are most likely to experience. Start by looking around at where you live, the people in your life, and the places you go on a day-to-day basis. Ask yourself questions, then figure out what steps you can take.

For example:

  • Are you living in tornado alley? Pick a safe place in your home to take shelter.
  • Do you work in a large office building? Know how to evacuate during a fire.
  • Do you travel often? Make a kit with prescription and over-the-counter medicines, your health insurance cards, and copies of your prescriptions.
  • Do you have children? Make a plan with them about where to meet up if you are separated.
  • Do you have a loved one with diabetes? Have a plan if they run out of insulin or if they have low blood sugar.
  • Do you have pets? Make sure your emergency plan includes them, too.

Emergencies come in all different shapes and sizes. We often hear about preparedness in the context of natural disasters and infectious disease outbreaks, but preparedness is also about getting your flu shot every year and wearing your seatbelt when you drive. Preparedness is knowing what to do if your child starts choking or how to help if your coworker has a seizure.

Preparedness also means reaching out to those around you. Do you know someone with a disability who may need extra help when evacuating during an emergency? Are there elderly people living in your neighborhood who are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat?

Of course, something unusual can always happen. (After all, who would have anticipated Snowpocalypse 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia?) But in preparing for the most likely situations, you may find yourself better prepared for the unexpected.

Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.

Read our other National Preparedness Month blogs:

Get involved and join the #CDCPrep2016 Twitter Chat on September 27, 2016 from 1 – 2 PM EST.

Yahoo! Inc. recently announced that at least 500 million users' names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, hashed passwords, and in some cases encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers were stolen from the company's network in late 2014 in what it believes was a state-sponsored attack.

The breach, which was uncovered only recently, comes just two months after Verizon announced plans to acquire Yahoo for $4.83 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close in Q1 of 2017.

In a statement provided to CNNMoney, a Verizon spokesperson said the company only learned of the breach last week. "We understand that Yahoo is conducting an active investigation of this matter, but we otherwise have limited information and understanding of the impact," the spokesperson said.

...

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/ma-due-diligence-cyber-security-and-the-massive-yahoo-data-breach.html

(TNS) - When it comes to protecting its power grid in Virginia from cyberattack, Dominion Virginia Power considers its long experience with hurricanes a helpful template.

"It's just another challenge," said Rodney Blevins, chief information officer and senior vice president for the biggest utility in the state and one of the biggest in the country.

"One of the things that's important to understand is ... we are obsessed with the reliability of the grid," said Blevins. "To the point where, in certain parts of the organization, you almost can't get people to talk about anything else."

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Public-utilities-gird-up-to-battle-cyberthreats-to-grid.html

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

Positioning Your Business as an Early Mover

An “early mover” is a firm that quickly recognizes a unique opportunity or risk in the marketplace and uses that knowledge to evaluate its options either before anyone else or along with other firms that likewise recognize the significance of what’s developing. Early movers have the advantage of time, with more decision-making options before market shifts invalidate critical assumptions underlying the strategy.

Failure to attain “early mover status,” as we’ve defined it, can be fatal in today’s global business environment. Therefore, boards and executive management should ensure their companies are focused on the attributes that make for early mover status and implement an early warning capability that can make a difference in creating and protecting enterprise value.

...

http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/positioning-business-early-mover/

WASHINGTON — Federal Emergency Management Agency officials announced funding awards for the Fiscal Year 2016 Continuing Training Grants program.

The Homeland Security National Training Program’s Continuing Training Grants will provide $11.5 million to selected recipients for the development and delivery of innovative training programs.  These programs will be national in scope and are designed to support communities to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and natural, man-made, and technological hazards.

FEMA’s administers these grants as cooperative agreements through the National Training and Education Division and are awarded to the following recipients for a number of categories:

  • Economic Recovery: The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University receives $1,506,000.
  • Cybersecurity: The University of Texas at San Antonio, representing the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium, receives $3,015,000.
  • Hazardous Materials: Georgia Tech Research Institute receives $1 million; and The International Association of Fire Fighters also receives $1 million.
  • Rural Preparedness: The Center for Rural Development, representing the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium, receives $5 million.

This highly competitive program attracted applicants from state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, along with eligible non-profit organizations to include colleges and universities.  This year, 27 applicants competed and FEMA made five awards.

For more information on this program and to request FEMA training, please go to www.firstrespondertraining.gov.   

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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.

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

FEMA: Flood Insurance Rates Remain Unchanged

BATON ROUGE, La. – Despite the worst flooding in recent Louisiana history, flood insurance continues to be available to homeowners, renters and businesses at the pre-flood price. Widespread flood losses in Louisiana will not cause flood insurance rates to rise above scheduled annual increases, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The August flooding does not trigger remapping of flood zones, or changes in base flood elevations. That includes the remapping efforts that have been in process for several years in six of the designated parishes. Revisions of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) and Base Flood Elevations (BFE) in those parishes will continue, based on data compiled prior to the latest flood.

However, if your home or business was substantially damaged and you are rebuilding, you may need to mitigate your structures (elevate, etc.) to come into compliance with your community floodplain ordinance. It is crucial that you contact your local floodplain administrator to ensure you are in compliance and obtaining the proper building permits.

Properties located in a floodplain that have federally backed mortgages are required by law to be properly insured against known hazards, such as flooding.

Properties that were not required to have flood insurance by the mortgage lender prior to the floods may not be required to carry it when they are rebuilt. It is important to understand that even if the lender is not requiring flood insurance, it is still available to purchase.

The NFIP offers two types of coverage — building and contents. Keep in mind that your mortgage lender may only require you to purchase flood insurance for the structure. Building coverage will include the structure and attached items such as the electrical system and permanent flooring. Contents coverage will cover items such as personal belongings and furniture for an additional premium.

To find your approximate flood insurance costs and the hazard level of your area, visit www.FloodSmart.gov and enter the property address. An interactive display demonstrates the cost of flood damage by inches or feet of water that enters the house.

For an actual quote on a specific property, you should contact your insurance agent. Policies can be written by authorized insurance agencies; they are underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program administered by FEMA.

FEMA, FCC, in Coordination with State Broadcasters and Emergency Managers, test the EAS

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory nationwide test of the https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-system">Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, September 28, at 2:20 p.m. EDT to verify the delivery and broadcast, and assess the readiness for distribution of the national level test message.

The EAS test is made available to radio, television, cable, and direct broadcast satellite systems and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The message of the test will be similar to the regular monthly test message of EAS, normally heard and seen by the public:  “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.”

Significant coordination and regional testing has been conducted with the broadcast community and emergency managers in coordination and preparation for this EAS national test. The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is also a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure required for the distribution of a national message and determine what technological improvements need to be addressed.

Receiving preparedness tips and timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe. FEMA and partners are working to ensure you can receive alerts and warnings quickly through several different technologies no matter where you are–at home, at school, at work, or in the community. The FEMA App, which can be downloaded on both Android and Apple devices, is one way to ensure you receive both preparedness tips and weather alerts of your choice. Download the https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app">FEMA App today.

More information on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) is available at http://www.ready.gov/alerts">www.ready.gov/alerts.

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Background: In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems.  The new system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports over 700 local, state, tribal, and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way, helping to save lives. For more information on FEMA’s IPAWS, go to: www.fema.gov/ipaws.  For more preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.

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.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It has been more than 10 weeks since disaster assistance personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed to West Virginia in response to President Obama’s major disaster declaration of June 25, 2016. The president’s signature on the decree made federal assistance available to eligible survivors of the June 22-29 severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in 12 counties.

Although the deadline for registering for individual financial assistance from FEMA has passed, the recovery continues and FEMA disaster recovery specialists remain on the scene. Survivors of the June storms and flooding, who have registered for FEMA assistance, still have access to the agency for information about temporary housing, help with insurance claims, questions about filing an appeal, and other disaster services and resources.

Registered individuals have access to FEMA’s toll-free Helpline, seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT. Call 800-621-3362 (TTY users should call 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available.

Applicants receiving temporary rental assistance and who have a need for continuing housing assistance must apply to FEMA for approval. FEMA will evaluate the information to determine if the applicant qualifies for ongoing federal rental assistance, based on financial need. Contact the FEMA Helpline for information on how to apply.

FEMA urges registered individuals to “keep in touch” and notify FEMA of address or phone number changes, initiate appeals or reschedule inspection appointments. It is important to keep all contact information current to avoid delays in getting assistance.  

As of the Sept. 7 deadline, 8,974 West Virginia homeowners and renters have applied to FEMA for disaster assistance. To date more than $33.3 million in individual housing assistance grants and nearly $6.4 million in other needs assistance have been approved for residents of the 12 designated counties: Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers and Webster.

Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help homeowners and renters with temporary housing and essential home repairs. Other needs assistance provides funding for repair or replacement of furnishings and other personal property, transportation and other disaster-related needs such as transportation and childcare. Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare and other federal and state programs. Grants do not have to be repaid to the federal government.

Since the June 25 disaster declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), one of FEMA’s partners in disaster recovery, has approved 735 low-interest disaster loans totaling nearly $47.7 million. SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters who have applied for FEMA assistance, as well as to businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations. SBA disaster loans may cover the cost of repairing, rebuilding or replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property.

For more information about SBA loans, call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. (TTY users should call 800-877-8339). Individuals and businesses may also email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster

The State’s and FEMA’s 15 area Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) served 9,531 visitors between June 28 and Aug. 31, while FEMA-contracted housing inspectors have completed more than 7,200 inspections of disaster-damaged properties to verify damage.

Other help available to individuals:

  • Free disaster legal assistance is available to storm survivors. This service offers counseling on insurance claims, landlord-tenant issues, home-repair contracts, and the replacement of lost or damaged legal documents and other legal matters. Call the toll-free hotline 877-331-4259.
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with post-disaster stress, you are not alone. Help is as near as your phone. Call the Help for West Virginia Helpline at 844-435-7498. In addition, you can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
  • Contact West Virginia 211 ( for help finding food, childcare, crisis counseling, and many other resources available in your community.
  • West Virginians seeking information about disaster-related services and unmet needs, as well as volunteering and donating, should visit the state’s Help for West Virginia Disaster website wvflood.com.
  • Individuals who wish to help with flood response and recovery may sign up with West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) at www.volunteerwv.org or wvvoad.org.
  • Additional information on West Virginia’s disaster recovery can be found by calling the FEMA Helpline 800-621-3362 or visiting: www.DisasterAssistance.gov; the flood pages at www.WVflood.com; fema.gov/disaster/4273; twitter.com/femaregion3; and fema.gov/blog.

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is accepting applications for individuals to serve on the new Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWs, subcommittee of the National Advisory Council (NAC).

As mandated in the IPAWs Modernization Act of 2015, the subcommittee will develop and submit recommendations for an improved integrated public alert and warning system to the NAC. The subcommittee will consider common alerting and warning protocols, standards, terminology, and operating procedures to ensure standards and operating procedures exist for a national public alert warning system.

Currently IPAWS is a modernization and integration of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure. Federal, state, local, tribal and territorial alerting authorities use IPAWS as a way to alert and warn the public about serious emergencies using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and other public alerting systems from a single interface. 

The IPAWS subcommittee will be comprised of federal officials from FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce and the National Council on Disability, in line with Congressional mandated membership guidelines.

The FEMA Administrator and the NAC will appoint members from applicants representing the following disciplines to ensure a variety of expert perspectives are reflected in the subcommittee:

  • Local, state and tribal government officials;
  • Emergency managers and first responders;
  • Vendors, developers and manufacturers of communications systems;
  • Broadcasting, cable or satellite industry officials;
  • National organizations representing either people with disabilities, functional needs, the elderly, or limited English proficiency; and
  • Consumer privacy advocates.

Subcommittee appointment terms will begin in 2017 and end upon the termination of the IPAWS Subcommittee in April 2019.  The IPAWS Subcommittee will meet approximately four times a year, twice in person and twice via webinar.

Individuals interested in serving on the NAC’s IPAWS Subcommittee are invited to apply for appointment by submitting a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to the Office of the National Advisory Council, by fax, email, or mail. Letters of recommendation may also be provided, but are not required. Applications and/or nominations must also include the following information: the applicant’s full name, home and business phone numbers, preferred e-mail address, home and business mailing addresses, current position title and organization, and the discipline area of interest (i.e., emergency management). Applications will be accepted until October 6, 2016.

Members selected for the council serve without compensation from the federal government.  However, consistent with the charter, members receive travel reimbursement and per diem, under applicable federal travel regulations. Registered lobbyists, current FEMA employees, Disaster Assistance Employees, Reservists, FEMA contractors, and potential FEMA contractors will not be considered for subcommittee membership.

For more information on the NAC, IPAWS Subcommittee and application procedures visit:  www.fema.gov/national-advisory-council.

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Background: In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems.  The new system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports over 700 local, state, tribal, and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way, helping to save lives. For more information on FEMA’s IPAWS, go to: www.fema.gov/ipaws.  For more preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.

Background: The NAC consists of up to 35 members, all of whom are experts and leaders in their respective fields. The members of the NAC are appointed by the FEMA Administrator and are composed of federal, state, tribal, local, and private-sector leaders and subject matter experts in law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, hospital, public works, emergency management, state and local governments, public health, emergency response, standard settings and accrediting organizations, representatives of individuals with disabilities, infrastructure protection, cyber security, communications, and homeland security communities.

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.

BATON ROUGE, La. — If your house flooded and you did not have flood insurance, you may have received some federal financial assistance for the August flooding. But if your home is in a floodplain and you hold a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, you may be required to buy flood insurance.

This requirement applies when a building has been damaged and is located in an area that is at high risk of flooding. These high-risk areas are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).

In high-risk areas, there is at least a one in four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. You may be restricted to only rental assistance in a future disaster unless you buy flood insurance and keep the policy in effect.

A flood-insurance policy protects you financially even when a presidential disaster is not declared or if you live in a parish that was not designated for federal assistance.

Once you receive federal financial assistance, you must keep flood insurance coverage at your address even if the damaged building is replaced by a new one. If you sell your home, you are required to inform the new owners that they must maintain flood insurance coverage on the building. Often, an existing flood-insurance policy can be transferred to a new owner with no lapse in coverage.

You may receive a Certificate of Flood Insurance for a Group Policy as a part of your federal Individuals and Households Assistance program (IHP) grant. This policy provides minimal coverage on the home equal to the maximum IHP grant currently available. For the Louisiana August 2016 floods, the required premium provides coverage of $33,000.

  • Group Policies have a term of three years, after which you will be required to purchase and maintain a Standard Flood Insurance Policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until you are no longer the homeowner or renter at that location. In order to avoid any lapse in coverage, it is important to apply for your new coverage at least 30 days before the expiration of the Group Policy.
  • You may cancel your participation in the Group Policy at any time during its policy term, provided that you have purchased your own NFIP flood insurance coverage.

 If you are a renter and receive federal financial assistance, flood-insurance coverage must be maintained on the contents for as long as you live at the flood-damaged rental property. The requirement for flood insurance is lifted once you move from the building.

But, because federal law mandates the purchase of flood insurance as a condition of disaster funding, an applicant who does not comply with the flood insurance obligation may become mostly ineligible for future disaster assistance. It’s that important.

If you do not live in a flood zone but your home was flooded, you do not have to maintain flood insurance. Even without the legal requirement, it is a wise decision to purchase flood insurance.

Even though flood insurance isn't federally required in moderate- to low-risk areas, homeowners and businesses that have mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders may be required to purchase flood coverage by the mortgage holder. Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods.

In fact, people outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file more than 20 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood-insurance claims and receive one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding. When it's available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest.

With all that you are going through, don’t let this vital coverage slip through the cracks. Protect yourself and your family from future financial loss by purchasing and maintaining flood insurance coverage.

For more information about the NFIP and flood insurance, call 800-427-4661 or contact your insurance company or agent.

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

Ransomware Threats Jump 300%

Businesses have seen a huge increase in ransomware threats—300% from 2015, according to the FBI, which also reports there were 2,400 ransomware complaints in 2015. In addition to its growing frequency, the means of attack have also improved significantly, as hackers get better at social engineering and at developing malware.

Unlike other types of cyberattack, ransomware attacks are not about extracting data, they are about freezing access, holding businesses functionally hostage, according to Risk Management. When this type of malware infects a system, it encrypts files and documents and demands a ransom, typically in the form of digital currency such as bitcoin, in exchange for a decryption key.

The most frequent targets of attacks, 23%, were government entities, according to Hiscox. The category of business services was second at 18% and finance and insurance institutions followed with 13% of the attacks.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/ransomware-threats-jump-300/

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

What is #SafeForWork?

Every weekday morning, I sit down at my desk and log into my email, Facebook, Slack and LinkedIn accounts. I browse status updates and articles, flipping between cat pictures and business articles. I use my best judgment when clicking through to news articles and websites – I know that one wrong click could, unintentionally, land me in hot water with our IT or Human Resources departments.

A phishing email, profane language, inappropriate pictures – these #NSFW circumstances all compromise my company and my professional reputation.

While your business might not have a robust IT or Human Resources department to monitor internet usage, it's still vitally important that you think about what you do online. What you do on the internet impacts your company's reputation, as well as yours. Are you subjecting your clients to risk of data breach by using freemium file-sharing services? Do you pass sensitive data through unprotected emails?

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https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/23/what-is-safeforwork/

Hardly a week goes by that headlines aren’t touting some tale of a major cloud services provider suffering an outage that leaves customers hanging for hours or days.

In recent years, massive cloud disruptions have hit all the major players, from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Salesforce.com.

A pair of massive service outages involving two of the largest cloud players this month comes at a time when the industry is arguably on the verge of eradicating any lingering concerns about the security or reliability of public cloud.

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http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/cloud-outages-microsoft-google-downtime-offers-reminder-cloud-isnt-perfect

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

The Value of Auditing Corporate Culture

Many successful organizations attribute their superior performance and accomplishments to their organization’s culture. In a 2015 study by Duke University of 1,900 executives around the globe, 79 percent said culture is among the top five things that make their company valuable. But only 15 percent said their own corporate culture is where it should be, and 92 percent said improving their culture would enhance company value.

Many recent high-profile scandals, such as those at Toshiba, Volkswagen, FIFA and Baylor University, have shown the adverse effect of having toxic culture.  Toshiba’s $1.2 billion profit inflation scandal, which occurred over seven years and came to light last summer, was called “the most damaging event for the brand in the company’s 140-year history” by the outgoing CEO.  The Independent Investigation Committee concluded that “there existed a corporate culture at Toshiba where it was impossible to go against the boss’ will.” This led to the dismissal of the CEO, two former CEOs and multiple board members.

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http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/value-auditing-corporate-culture/

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

Sampling as a Compliance Strategy

In the technology age in which we live, CCOs often come face to face with a new phenomenon – too much information or data. TMI is not something to laugh at nor ignore. CCOs often face situations where they need to understand what is occurring through a monitoring or audit function. In those cases, CCOs have to decide whether it is worth the cost in money and/or resources (e.g. personnel, time) to review every piece of information to see if some event or trend can be discerned.

Luckily, there is a less burdensome way to solve this problem. It is a well-understood concept – sampling. Even when I took a basic statistics class and learned about sampling, it was easy to see why this would be a good solution — less time, less work and relevant results.

The concept of sampling is a practical solution to many difficult issues that come up for CCOs in managing a compliance program.

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http://blog.volkovlaw.com/2016/09/sampling-compliance-strategy/

According to the results of a HyTrust survey of 400 attendees at the recent VMworld 2016 conference, more than a quarter (28 percent) of organizations that use a public cloud are doing nothing to encrypt the data they store there.

Thirty-two percent of respondents are encrypting data using the cloud provider's solution, while 21 percent are deploying a separate data encryption solution.

Forty-seven percent of respondents said security was their main reason for avoiding cloud deployments, and 54 percent said their old approaches to security would not work for future cloud deployments.

...

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/28-percent-of-organizations-dont-encrypt-data-in-public-cloud-environments.html

One of the biggest obstacles to good cybersecurity is the failure to recognize its need. MSPs often run into this problem with clients that, whether they realize it or not, operate under the false impression that “it won’t happen to me.”

But cyber attacks are increasingly common, and all businesses are vulnerable. In a recent Ponemon Institute survey, 55 percent of respondents said they had experienced a cyber attack, and 50 percent of companies had suffered a data breach in the previous 12 months.

Defending against cyber attacks gets tougher by the day; many companies lack the budget or skills to properly build up their defenses. This being the reality, it would stand to reason that more and more organizations would welcome a managed security services (MSS) approach. Yet, two-thirds of organizations in a study by Raytheon said they would use MSS only after experiencing “a significant data loss.”

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http://mspmentor.net/blog/getting-customers-stop-turning-blind-eye-cybersecurity

While the worst-case scenario approach is a good one to use in order to reflect on organizational needs and the impacts of a disaster, it often brings an improper sense of safety.

So, should you plan for a catastrophic event or a localized disruption? When we work with organizations on business continuity, the scenario that almost always comes up is the “smoking hole” – whether it is a complete loss of the data center or the destruction of the headquarters building. This worst-case scenario is useful for planning, but there are two questions that should be considered as we put plans and strategies together for business and technology resiliency. What is the potential impact of an event, and what is the likelihood of it happening? Will it cause a catastrophic loss (the worst-case scenario), or will it cause a localized failure that will still have a significant impact on the business? Too many organizations fall into using only worst-case scenarios, thinking that with the “smoking hole” plan in place, their business is now adequately prepared to respond to and recover from a disaster.

But, based on statistics and our experience over the past 17 years, an organization is most likely to experience a localized outage rather than a catastrophic event.  In the last several months, what issues have been in the news? Security breaches, human error, and single points of failure have caused significant business impacts. There may be some of you who were impacted by the two recent airline outages. Those were not “smoking hole” scenarios. Data breaches, both large and small, have had an impact on many of us. I have received notice of security breaches from more than one company where I am (or have been) a customer. I now have credit monitoring in place from multiple identity theft vendors, all provided by the impacted companies.

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http://www.mha-it.com/2016/09/worst-case-scenario/

Insider threats get a lot of press, and deservedly so. Different studies have shown just how dangerous the insider threat is. Almost every organization is vulnerable to employee error or maliciousness.

However, employees aren’t your only “insider” problem. Third-party vendors can wreak havoc on any company’s security – just ask Target about that – and IT leaders are concerned about the security risks that third parties pose, according to a new Enterprise Strategy Group survey commissioned by Seclore.

In the executive summary, ESG discussed the reasons why IT departments have these concerns. Two that jumped out at me included:

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/it-departments-admit-concerns-about-third-party-vendor-risks.html

When Was the Last Time You Practiced Your Plan?

Plenty of companies have some sort of emergency plan in place and even a few of those practice the plan on a regular basis with their employees. Yet, nearly 60 percent of American adults say they have never practiced what to do in a disaster at work, school, or home in the past year.

Even those companies who do have a plan in place often find their plan was completely insufficient in the event of an actual emergency. What is the problem? We all know it’s important but we mostly believe it won’t happen to us and if it did, we’d know what to do. That simply is not the case. As we’ve all been warned, “it’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.”

Critical events come in all forms: fire, natural disasters, power outages, IT outages, hazardous chemical spills, terrorism, work and school shootings, hostage situations, bomb threats, and structural failures. Did I leave anything out? Likely so. I list these not to scare, but to illustrate how many things could go wrong and why it’s so critical to have an emergency notification system in place, practiced, and understood.

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https://www.alertmedia.com/why-so-many-emergency-communications-plans-fail

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

BCI: The riskiest countries in the world

Inadequate infrastructure and weak logistic chains substantially increase the risk that an extreme natural event will become a disaster. This is a core finding of the World Risk Report 2016, produced by the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University and the Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft – Gemeinsam für Menschen in Not, in cooperation with the University of Stuttgart.

Nature cannot be controlled and humans can only influence to a limited degree whether, and with what intensity, natural events are to occur. But they can take precautions to help prevent a natural event from becoming a disaster. It is this vulnerability of a society that forms the basis for the World Risk Index, which calculates the disaster risk by multiplying vulnerability with exposure to natural hazards (cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, foods, and sea-level rise). This risk is especially high wherever natural events hit vulnerable societies. While a low level of vulnerability is not a guaranteed protection against disasters, it can reduce the risk.

Societal factors, such as nutrition, medical services and governance, decide to a large extent whether a natural hazard becomes a disaster,” said Dr. Torsten Welle, Senior Scientist at IREUS. “But through targeted interventions the impacts of disasters can be reduced and important lessons can be learned from recognized weaknesses.

The index assesses the risk of disaster in 171 countries and the island state of Vanuatu once again displays the greatest risk. The United Kingdom comes in at 131st place, while the United States is 127th, Canada is 145th and Australia is 121st.

The top ten countries with the highest risk according to the report are:

  1. Vanuatu
  2. Tonga
  3. Philippines
  4. Guatemala
  5. Bangladesh
  6. Solomon Islands
  7. Brunei Darussalam
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Cambodia
  10. Papua New Guinea

The top ten countries with the lowest risk according to the report are:

  1. Qatar
  2. Malta
  3. Saudi Arabia
  4. Barbados
  5. Grenada
  6. Iceland
  7. Bahrain
  8. Kiribati
  9. United Arab Emirates
  10. Sweden

The risk of disasters remains high in 2016. From 1980 onwards, a significant increase was recorded in the number of reported disaster events worldwide. Estimated damage levels continue to reach new peaks. And while this trend has been on a downward trajectory since 2012, this could change at any time. The 2015 statistics are a stark reminder that there is still an urgent need for action despite this decline: The United Nations recorded 346 reported disasters, more than 22,000 deaths, almost 100 million affected persons and economic damage totalling approximately US $66.5 billion.

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

Run Hide Fight

Do you know what those three action verbs are referring to?  No, that’s not a playground game.

Those three verbs are what may save your life when an Active Shooter is in your vicinity.  They are what the FBI and DHS recommend as to how to respond in that type of situation.  If you didn’t immediately know what they were, then someone in your organization has not trained your fellow employees for this type of incident.

But, wait.  Whose responsibility is it to train your organization’s employees?  Most companies recognize Active Shooter as one of their top threats but they have not prepared for this scenario.  So as Business Continuity professionals, should you take a wait and see attitude – wait for Human Resources to add a mandatory brief video to their training programs and hope that this will be enough?  Obviously not.

As a Business Continuity professional, you have plans in place to deal with managing risks.  But did you consider an Active Shooter?

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http://www.bcinthecloud.com/2016/09/run-hide-fight/

Pictured Above: Mail-Gard VP Michael Henry and Client Services Manager Jessica Secreta at the Mail-Gard booth at DRJ Fall World 2016 in Phoenix, AZ.

 

Mail-Gard has been securing and ensuring print-to-mail continuity for 20 years. Every year for the last two decades, we’ve made an appearance at Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ)’s Fall World event to stay in sync with the pulse of the industry.

DRJ Fall World 2016, held this year in Phoenix, gave us the opportunity to network with almost 900 people(!) – some current clients, some fellow disaster recovery professionals – and discuss not only what we do, but the exceptional level of service we provide. This year in particular allowed us to join the conversation about key topics in corporate safety, critical communications and the wider disaster recovery world.

Trends Shaping the Disaster Recovery Industry

With technological advancements like security and barcode scanning, the ways marketers send and receive mail have become even more complex, and DRJ Fall World attendees took notice. To complement this shift and ensure continuity, testing different customer applications is vital to a print-to-mail recovery effort. In fact, in 2015 we conducted over 90 on-site customer mailing tests that consisted of various package sizes and configurations.

Fall World attendees wanted to know how Mail-Gard’s disaster recovery processes work and how quickly we can recover a client’s critical communications in the event of an outage or disaster. Many were surprised to learn our response time is within 15 minutes of a declaration call, and we have a seasoned and dedicated team that can swing into action 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It’s what we do!

In addition to business continuity updates, I made a point to attend the “Extreme Event: Active Shooter/Armed Intruder!” session presented by David Smith of PWI, Inc. The session outlined strategies to include in risk mitigation efforts when dealing with an armed intruder at a place of business. It was a fascinating session and brought to light the unfortunate, but necessary, training that is needed in today’s workplace.

Helping the Direct Marketing Industry Stay Aware and Prepared

IWCO Direct and Mail-Gard VP Marketing & Corporate Communications Debora Haskel had the opportunity to present at this year’s Fall World event and highlighted some of the less-considered factors of a critical communications recovery plan and how they can impact a business’s security. The presentation, “Critical Communications Recovery: Are You as Prepared as You Think You Are?” focused on the role that Mail-Gard and its clients play in formulating and activating a recovery plan. The session also gave attendees a ‘peek behind the curtain’ of disaster recovery planning and offered information on what a business needs in the event of a disaster, when it’s needed and what to look for when choosing a recovery vendor.

Staying Ahead of the Disaster Recovery Game at DRJ Fall World 2016

My overall takeaway from this year’s event – and I suspect that most attendees would agree – is that critical communication recovery services are as important today as they were when Mail-Gard first started 20 years ago. Maybe even more so. As security and technologies change rapidly, they invite new threats that need to be assessed and accounted for.

Education, making connections and securing new partnerships were among the primary objectives of our team during the conference. Fortunately, the DRJ conference allows us the opportunity to connect with our peers and stay ahead of the latest trends in the industry.

For more on Mail-Gard’s attendance at the 2016 DRJ Fall World conference or how Mail-Gard can identify business continuity plans that are right for you, please get in touch with me.

 

Blog Author

Michael Henry
Vice President of Mail-Gard with 30 years of experience in direct mail. Specializes in leading and directing operations teams by simplifying, staying focused and being relentless. Proud to be part of an organization that cares about its people. Longtime Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holder who also loves the Phillies and Flyers, being near the water, and coaching his kids’ sports activities.

View More Posts by Michael

Friday, 23 September 2016 00:00

The Rise and Fall in Compliance Costs

Many leaders of financial services companies complain about the rising cost of compliance and fraud detection. Larger institutions fear they are not seeing the economies of scale that typically arise with size. When it comes to compliance, the greater “surface area” and the greater complexity of environment offset the traditional economies of scale.

Increasing costs inevitably create a demand for creative cost containment. The usual proposed solutions are automation, reviews of capital or operating expenses and outsourcing.  All three of these are combining to stem the tide of rising compliance costs, but all require re-engineering of business operations to achieve those savings.

Historically in financial services, automation of business interactions – ranging from deposits and withdrawals to derivatives trading – was the first driver of business volume growth.  However, as the amount of transactions and other data requiring review grew, so did compliance costs, and businesses had incentives to move from manual to automated auditing and reporting processes.

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http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/rise-fall-compliance-costs/

For several years, information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) have been converging. In commercial buildings, building automation systems (BASs) are trending toward more IT integration as building owners and facility managers see the value the technology creates. However, this increasing connection and interconnection of building systems also exposes them to malicious attacks from cyber criminals.

There have been a number of high-profile cyber security attacks recently, from Anthem WLP +% to Sony to Target TGT -0.13%. The FBI now ranks cyber crime as one of its top law enforcement activities. Most of these attacks have focused on stealing credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other forms of personal information. But it’s important to remember that these types of attacks are not the extent of the damage that could be done. The Stuxnet worm was designed to attack programmable logic controllers and was discovered in 2010 after it had ruined almost one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear reactors. In some ways, this attack served as a proof of concept of attacks that could target building systems.

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/pikeresearch/2016/09/13/cybersecurity-and-intelligent-buildings/#322db9b73150

Citrix Director is capable of monitoring a XenDesktop and XenApp environment spanning a forest configuration where the users, XD Delivery controller, VDAs and Citrix Director can be located in same/different forests. 

When Citrix Director interacts with these components located on different forests, there is a need for trust relationship configured between some of the components to not get into any failures on Citrix Director due to trust issues. This blog talks about the recommended trust relationships needed between some of the components of XenDesktop and XenApp and some other configurations needed for using Citrix Director in multiforest environment.

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https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/12/using-citrix-director-in-a-multiforest-environment/

A fire extinguishing test at a Bucharest data centre belonging to the Romanian arm of ING saw the bank’s customers unable to make card payments, ATM withdrawals and online transactions for several hours on Saturday.

The bank says that services were knocked out for around 10 hours thanks to the damage caused when it tested its extinguisher system, which expels a mix of nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide, known as inergen.

Inert gas is used to combat fires at data centres because it does not normally damage electronic equipment. It is stored in cylinders and released at high pressure out of nozzles spread around the site. The high-pressure release of the gas produced a loud noise – over 130 decibels – and the associated vibration destroyed dozens of hard drives.

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https://businessresilienceforum.com/business-continuity-incident-data-centre-fire-test-knocks-out-banking-services/

Thursday, 22 September 2016 00:00

7 Ways IT Pros Can Boost Data Analytics Skills

It's no secret that data analysts and data scientists are some of the highest paid and most sought after professionals in technology and IT. Linda Burtch, managing director of Burtch Works, an executive recruitment firm specializing in data analytics and data science pros, has told InformationWeek that the demand for these particular professionals is the highest she's ever seen in her 30 years in the business.

Her most recent salary survey of data scientists, released in April 2016, places the base salaries of individual contributors in the range of $97,000 to $152,000, not including bonuses.

For IT pros that are looking to make a career change, shifting to the data analysis realm and even aspiring to the data scientist specialty could provide new opportunities and a bigger paycheck. It could also provide broader choices for career options.

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http://www.informationweek.com/strategic-cio/team-building-and-staffing/7-ways-it-pros-can-boost-data-analytics-skills-/d/d-id/1326855

Thursday, 22 September 2016 00:00

How Cloud Computing Alters Data Center Design

There are two principal classes of data center customers.  First, there’s service providers, whose consumption patterns are relatively rigid and whose requirements are spelled out in the SLAs.  Second, there are enterprises, whose utilization and resource usage patterns — due in large part to the cloud service delivery platforms upon which they rely — can be all over the map.

Should a data center provider compartmentalize its operations to serve the needs of both customer classes separately?  Or should it instead implement a single design that’s flexible, elastic, and homogenous enough to address both classes — even if it means deploying more sophisticated configuration management and more hands-on administration?

“In a multi-tenant world, you design for the latter,” responded Dave Leonard, ViaWest’s chief data center officer.  “And even in a single-tenant world, I’m convinced that it’s the wrong answer to go for the former.”

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/09/12/viawest-cloud-computing-alters-data-center-design/

The FBI advised against paying the ransom when it was hit with a ransomware attack. Cybercriminals don’t like that advice, so we’re seeing a new tactic with ransomware: Cybercriminals are combining ransomware attacks with DDoS attacks. According to Invincea’s blog post:

We recently found a ransomware variant that not only holds the victim’s machine and data hostage until a ransom is paid, but also exploits the compromised machine as part of a potential DDOS attack. This means that while the victim is unable to access their endpoint, that same endpoint is being used to deny service to another victim. Two attacks for the price of one.

We know that ransomware attacks are on the rise; it’s a topic I have been covering all year. DDoS attacks are also on the increase. According to a Verisign DDoS Trends Report, DDoS attacks have jumped 75 percent since last year. eSecurity Planet added:

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/dual-threat-coming-from-ransomware-and-ddos-attacks.html

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 00:00

When Diligence is Not Given its “Due”

I find myself quibbling with compliance terms – hyper focus on small issues is not a positive trait. I often urge clients and colleagues to focus on issue of more significance and leave the smaller ones for another day. Hence, my recent criticism over “due diligence” policies and procedures for third party intermediaries. A more appropriate title is “risk management.

A due diligence inquiry of a potential third party is not a one time review – in fact, risk management requires continuous monitoring and assessment of third parties starting with the onboarding, operations, renewals, and other important times needed to review a third party’s operations. Viewed in this context, third party due diligence is actually a continuous risk management loop that repeats itself over time.

Aside from continuous risk management functions, I also find that acquisitions or joint venture proposals present another important transaction subject to due diligence review. Even assuming the acquired party satisfies due diligence review for an acquisition, there is continuous monitoring requirements, especially when operating an ongoing business that is being integrated into the overall corporate fabric of the acquiring company.

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http://blog.volkovlaw.com/2016/09/diligence-not-given-due/

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 00:00

What’s New in Citrix ShareFile

In 2016, we have delivered significant improvements to Citrix ShareFile. We have already had over 70 product releases across the ShareFile tools and the ShareFile platform.

Below is a highlight of the most important features we have released throughout this year.

Information Rights Management is here! With IRM, documents can be secured even after they are downloaded to a user’s device, meaning data security is no longer at risk once a user has a copy of a file locally. Instead security lives directly within the file. This allows end users to continue working the way they need to in order to get work done while also allowing IT to retain full control of the file. To deliver this new capability, ShareFile partnered with Seclore, a leader in information rights management. With Seclore, ShareFile provides unmatched breadth of support for file formats, endpoint devices and document capabilities when working with protected files.

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https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/13/whats-new-in-citrix-sharefile/

Brian Lee, a practice leader in CEB's compliance and legal practice, keeps a keen eye on the information overload happening at enterprises. Here he provides insight into the dangers of collecting data for its own sake, and offers six questions IT professionals can start asking to create a sensible data retention strategy.

There is more data available to organizations today than ever before. In 2015 alone, customers, employees, and other users created about 7.9 zettabytes of data globally -- and that number is expected to reach 35 zettabytes in 2020.

The type of information companies are collecting is also multiplying -- from traditional sources such as customer mailing addresses and phone numbers to more advanced demographics, web histories, shopping preferences, and even biometric data.

Advances in technology, computer power, and analytics mean companies can collect and process data in almost real-time. This may lead executives to believe that the more data they have, the greater their advantage. However, collecting a virtually unlimited amount of data can create a serious threat for organizations, because the amount collected often outstrips the ability to protect it.

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http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/do-you-really-have-big-data-or-just-too-much-data/a/d-id/1326867

One of the bigger challenges associated with any Big Data project is mastering the interplay between all the technologies such an initiative entails. Between Hadoop and a host of associated platforms such as the Apache Spark in-memory computing framework and the Kafka messaging system, there’s a lot that can go wrong.

Looking to provide IT organizations with a means of actually monitoring the performance of Big Data environments, Unravel Data this week launched a namesake performance intelligence platform for Big Data applications.

Unravel Data CEO Kunal Agarwal says that Unravel, fresh off raising an additional $7 million in funding, has spent the last few years analyzing over eight million jobs run on Big Data platforms. It has used that information to create a catalog of events that in one way or another lead to performance degradation of a Big Data application. It is now using that repository to compare events in specific Big Data environments to determine the root cause of any given Big Data application issue, says Agarwal.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/unravel-data-launches-big-data-monitoring-platform.html

Tuesday, 20 September 2016 00:00

Think You Have A Mold Problem?

Allergy sufferers often experience symptoms that include sneezing, a stuffy nose, sore eyes and nasal congestion. Many people have these symptoms, and they almost always think that they are caused by allergies. Most of the time, this is a good bet, but if you ever notice that your symptoms manifest themselves only when you are at home, you need to consider that mold may be causing your problems.

We don’t want to be alarmist, but mold in your Carson City home is never a good thing. If you notice any of the following, you may want to get your home checked out:

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http://nationaldisasterrecovery.org/think-you-have-a-mold-problem-what-to-look-for-in-your-home/

In both hockey and investing, it’s important to skate where the puck is heading.

It might seem counter-intuitive that a private data center company building in secondary markets could impact future earnings for the big publicly held data center REITs, but it appears there are some game-changing developments underway.

EdgeConneX is a portfolio company of Comcast Ventures; its other investors include: Charter Communications, Akamai, Cox Communications, and Ciena, as well as private equity firms Brown Brothers Harriman and Providence Equity Partners.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/09/13/can-edgeconnex-disrupt-incumbent-data-center-providers/

At a Teradata Partners 2016 conference, Teradata announced that it is not only making its database available on both public and private clouds, IT organizations for the first time will be able to launch queries against those databases as if they were one logical entity.

Via a Borderless Analytics initiative, Teradata is extending the reach of Teradata QueryGrid and Teradata Unity to make it possible to create queries that can be launched across up to 32 logical Teradata nodes that IT organizations can also from a management perspective orchestrate, according to Imad Birouty, director of Teradata product marketing.

Meanwhile, via a complementary Teradata Everywhere initiative also announced today, those instances of Teradata can now run on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure public clouds in addition to clouds managed by Teradata. Teradata databases can also be deployed on top of VMware or using the Teradata IntelliFlex platform that IT organizations can deploy themselves.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/teradata-launches-borderless-analytics-initiative.html

The Travel Risk is Real

You don’t have to look long to find news of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, political unrest, and other safety threats around the world. It can be a scary place, especially if you’re a frequent traveler. Not too long ago, business travelers only had to be concerned with logistics and language barriers. Today, they have to be on alert everywhere they go, both home and abroad.

The Global Business Travel Association found millennials are nearly twice as likely to want to travel more for business than Baby Boomers and 57% of millennials believe technology can “never replace face-to-face meetings to get business done.” These numbers help explain the boom in business travel. Nearly 500 million business trips were taken in 2015 and that number is expected to grow considerably in the coming years.

...

https://www.alertmedia.com/how-companies-can-use-incident-communications-software-to-protect-themselves

FEMA, FCC, in Coordination with State Broadcasters and Emergency Managers, test the EAS

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory nationwide test of the https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-system">Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, September 28, at 2:20 p.m. EDT to verify the delivery and broadcast, and assess the readiness for distribution of the national level test message.

The EAS test is made available to radio, television, cable, and direct broadcast satellite systems and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The message of the test will be similar to the regular monthly test message of EAS, normally heard and seen by the public:  “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.”

Significant coordination and regional testing has been conducted with the broadcast community and emergency managers in coordination and preparation for this EAS national test. The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is also a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure required for the distribution of a national message and determine what technological improvements need to be addressed.

Receiving preparedness tips and timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe. FEMA and partners are working to ensure you can receive alerts and warnings quickly through several different technologies no matter where you are–at home, at school, at work, or in the community. The FEMA App, which can be downloaded on both Android and Apple devices, is one way to ensure you receive both preparedness tips and weather alerts of your choice. Download the https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app">FEMA App today.

More information on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) is available at http://www.ready.gov/alerts">www.ready.gov/alerts.

###

Background: In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems.  The new system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports over 700 local, state, tribal, and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way, helping to save lives. For more information on FEMA’s IPAWS, go to: www.fema.gov/ipaws.  For more preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.

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.

Monday, 19 September 2016 00:00

IT Service Management and Employee Engagement

Does talking about these items in the same breath seem incongruous to you? After all, IT service management is typically viewed as technology at the service of an enterprise and its end-users, helping productivity, rather than being linked directly with motivation.

However, employees in IT department can strongly influence the quality of IT service management. Logically, their engagement and motivation is therefore important if the business is going to be fully supported by its IT.

Yet some perceptions of ITSM performance sometimes seem to act against such desirable engagement, rather than fostering it.

...

http://www.opscentre.com/service-management-employee-engagement/

Monday, 19 September 2016 00:00

Comparing Cloud Vendors: A Primer For IT

Public cloud providers offer either infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or software-as-a-service (SaaS). A few are recognized as providing a third type distinct from those two -- platform-as-a-service (PaaS). But over the last two years, the distinctions first set out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on different types of cloud have blurred.

Now, an IaaS or SaaS provider that doesn't also offer a development platform is in danger of losing customers to competitors. Users are coming to the public cloud, not just for compute cycles or software services, but also to develop their next generation of business applications. That further demand gives Microsoft and IBM advantages that AWS and Google sometimes struggle to match.

...

http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/software-as-a-service/comparing-cloud-vendors-a-primer-for-it/d/d-id/1326848

Sunday, 18 September 2016 00:00

BCI: The riskiest countries in the world

 

 

Inadequate infrastructure and weak logistic chains substantially increase the risk that an extreme natural event will become a disaster. This is a core finding of the World Risk Report 2016, produced by the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University and the Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft – Gemeinsam für Menschen in Not, in cooperation with the University of Stuttgart.

Nature cannot be controlled and humans can only influence to a limited degree whether, and with what intensity, natural events are to occur. But they can take precautions to help prevent a natural event from becoming a disaster. It is this vulnerability of a society that forms the basis for the World Risk Index, which calculates the disaster risk by multiplying vulnerability with exposure to natural hazards (cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, foods, and sea-level rise). This risk is especially high wherever natural events hit vulnerable societies. While a low level of vulnerability is not a guaranteed protection against disasters, it can reduce the risk.

Societal factors, such as nutrition, medical services and governance, decide to a large extent whether a natural hazard becomes a disaster,” said Dr. Torsten Welle, Senior Scientist at IREUS. “But through targeted interventions the impacts of disasters can be reduced and important lessons can be learned from recognized weaknesses.

The index assesses the risk of disaster in 171 countries and the island state of Vanuatu once again displays the greatest risk. The United Kingdom comes in at 131st place, while the United States is 127th, Canada is 145th and Australia is 121st.

The top ten countries with the highest risk according to the report are:

  1. Vanuatu
  2. Tonga
  3. Philippines
  4. Guatemala
  5. Bangladesh
  6. Solomon Islands
  7. Brunei Darussalam
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Cambodia
  10. Papua New Guinea

The top ten countries with the lowest risk according to the report are:

  1. Qatar
  2. Malta
  3. Saudi Arabia
  4. Barbados
  5. Grenada
  6. Iceland
  7. Bahrain
  8. Kiribati
  9. United Arab Emirates
  10. Sweden

The risk of disasters remains high in 2016. From 1980 onwards, a significant increase was recorded in the number of reported disaster events worldwide. Estimated damage levels continue to reach new peaks. And while this trend has been on a downward trajectory since 2012, this could change at any time. The 2015 statistics are a stark reminder that there is still an urgent need for action despite this decline: The United Nations recorded 346 reported disasters, more than 22,000 deaths, almost 100 million affected persons and economic damage totalling approximately US $66.5 billion.

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News

Business disruption in France highest in Europe

Aug 04, 2016 14:39 BST

​Civil unrest is significantly more disruptive to business in France than in any other western economy, reveals a new global index released by ​Verisk Maplecroft, which rates the country ‘high risk’ alongside emerging markets such as Brazil and South Africa. With a deep-rooted culture of political protest and strikes, the country is ranked 16th most at risk globally in the Civil Unrest Index.

Risks posed by natural hazards to major cities across the world

Apr 15, 2015 10:29 BST

The strategic markets of Philippines, China, Japan and Bangladesh are home to over half of the 100 cities most exposed to natural hazards, highlighting the potential risks to foreign business, supply chains and economic output in Asia from extreme weather events and seismic disasters, according to new research from global risk analytics company, Verisk Maplecroft.

Amid all of the head-spinning technological innovations that have hit the enterprise over the past decade, the overriding theme is agility. Enterprises that do not build agility into their application and service capabilities will not survive the transition to a digital economy – simple as that.

But agility is a moving target, since it can manifest itself in so many ways across complex data architectures and is measured in terms of degrees, not absolutes. So no matter how agile you think you are, there is always the chance that someone is ready to out-agile you.

According to Deltek Vice President Neil Davidson, agility is paramount these days for one simple reason: Customers expect it. With digital services replacing legacy business models at a rapid clip, failure to adapt means failure to capitalize on new market opportunities and revenue streams. The biggest inhibitor to agility, of course, is rigid, inflexible infrastructure that requires a lot of time, effort and money to repurpose for new services, ultimately diminishing the value of that infrastructure and the data it contains. Make no mistake, the agility challenge is huge – Gartner estimates that only 30 percent of digital transformation initiatives will succeed – but the alternative is the inevitable decline of the enterprise as a competitive force.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-never-ending-journey-to-the-agile-enterprise.html

Human-caused climate warming increased the chances of the torrential rains that unleashed devastating floods in south Louisiana in mid-August by at least 40 percent, according to a team of NOAA and partner scientists with World Weather Attribution (WWA) who conducted a rapid assessment of the role of climate on the historic heavy rain event.

“We found human-caused, heat-trapping greenhouse gases can play a measurable role in events such as the August rains that resulted in such devastating floods, affecting so many people,” said Karin van der Wiel, a research associate at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and the lead author. “While we concluded that 40 percent is the minimum increase in the chances of such rains, we found that the mostly likely impact of climate change is a near doubling of the odds of such a storm.”

Extreme rain risk rising

Models indicate that the return period for extreme rain events of the magnitude of the mid-August downpour in Louisiana has decreased from an average of 50 years to 30 years. A typical 30-year event in 1900 would have had 10 percent less rain than a similar event today, for example, 23 inches instead of 25.

For the assessment, scientists conducted a statistical analysis of rainfall observations and used two of NOAA’s high-resolution climate models to understand how the odds have changed for such three-day events between the early 20th century and the early 21st century. The results were consistent using observational data and climate models.

The research focused on the central US Gulf Coast, and investigated events as strong as that observed at the height of the storm (August 12-14) to provide a regional context and a broader assessment of risk. The climate model experiments involved altering the climate based on levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, aerosols such as soot and dust, ozone and natural changes in the sun’s radiation and from volcanic eruptions for various periods of time to assess how extreme rainfall events respond to climate changes.

www.noaa.gov

This is part three in a series of articles on Machine Creation Services (MCS) Storage Optimization (MCSIO).  

The first post in the series—Introducing MCSIO Storage Optimization—gave an overview of the technology and architecture. The second, Reducing shared storage IO by over 90% with MCS Storage Optimization, highlighted how MCSIO can reduce shared storage load data from a series of tests performed. This post shares insights gained from running these tests and from a wider understanding of the technology that may be useful to consider for future deployments of XenApp and XenDesktop.

The tests conducted have successfully shown that, with MCSIO, you effectively eliminate I/O traffic from your shared storage. It has highlighted that the IO characteristics of the MCSIO worker and its redirected IO traffic is dependent on the MCSIO configuration and the size of temporary memory cache.

...

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/12/considerations-of-using-mcs-storage-optimisation/

Evernote — the popular note taking and productivity startup with 200 million users — has built its reputation around an app that lets you record and track all your life’s details hold them there, for life. Today, the company is shifting gears on the question of how it will keep hold of and track that information: Evernote is migrating all of its data, including some 5 billion notes, to Google’s Cloud Platform. As part of that, it will also start to use Google’s machine learning APIs to help access and use that data in different ways.

As a result, Evernote will be shutting down its previous storage architecture that was based around a private cloud infrastructure, along with some of its own tech. Evernote’s new CTO Anirban Kundu told me the first two areas that will be replaced by Google’s machine learning APIs are its voice recognition for speech-to-text translations; and natural language processing, used to help search for contextual content.

Evernote says it will start the migration to Google in early October, with “a complete migration by the end of 2016.”

...

https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/13/evernote/

The US Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has issued a revised Information Security booklet, which is part of the FFIEC Information Technology Examination Handbook.

The revised booklet addresses the factors necessary to assess the level of security risks to a financial institution’s information systems. The booklet also helps examiners evaluate the adequacy of the information security program’s integration into overall risk management.

The Information Security booklet describes effective information security program management, including the following phases of the life cycle of information security risk management:

  • Risk identification
  • Risk measurement
  • Risk mitigation
  • Risk monitoring and reporting.

The FFIEC Information Technology Examination Handbook is available at http://ithandbook.ffiec.gov/

Thursday, 15 September 2016 00:00

Water Safety

Most Americans gave little thought to whether their drinking water was safe prior to this past spring. After all, it seemed only natural to rely on our country’s rigorous regulations to protect us from the dangers of unsafe drinking water. However, all of that changed with the Flint water crisis. But if you think that disaster was the exception not the rule, think again. Let’s take a closer look at the precarious state of the water infrastructure in this country, along with why communication is a critical part of safeguarding public health. 

An Ailing Water Infrastructure System 

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the country’s drinking water an overall grade of “D” (or “poor”) on its recent report card. Its dire conclusion? “At the dawn of the 21st century, much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States. Assuming every pipe would need to be replaced, the cost over the coming decades could reach more than $1 trillion, according to the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

...

http://blog.sendwordnow.com/water-safety

Wednesday, 14 September 2016 00:00

How Symantec's New COO Measures Security Success

Symantec acquired security vendor Blue Coat in a $4.65 billion deal that closed on August 1. As part of the deal, the Blue Coat management team, including President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Fey came on board to manage the new combined entity.

One of the key things that Fey brings into the mix is a focus on execution and operational discipline. In a video interview, Fey explains how he will facilitate the needs of multiple product teams and how he will define success.

"The world has changed, the concept of burn and grow at all cost is not viable or sustainable; shareholders, the market and customers want viable companies," Fey said.

...

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/how-symantecs-new-coo-measures-security-success.html

At a Riverbed Disrupt event today, Riverbed Technology expanded its portfolio of software-defined wide area networking technologies via a series of integrations delivered via the cloud.

The latest version of the Riverbed SteelConnect software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) now not only spans Internet and MPLS networks, it can be connected to network services being delivered via cloud platforms. Support for Amazon Web Services (AWS) is being provided starting today, while Microsoft Azure support is planned for early 2017.

Other new features being delivered in SteelConnect 2.0 include support for native dynamic routing and integration with the rest of the Riverbed SteelCentral portfolio of management as well as Riverbed WAN optimization and load balancing software.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/riverbed-extends-reach-of-wan-portfolio-into-the-cloud.html

Wednesday, 14 September 2016 00:00

You can have it all in your next data center

According to a 2015 Ponemon Institute report, companies say 52% of their business applications will be in the cloud, hosted, or colocated in the next two years. In today’s expanding digital business environment, IT expansion needs are always on the horizon.

Business leaders know that building, or building out a data center can be an expensive, risky and time consuming process that distracts key resources from core business objectives.

If, however, new data center expansion needs are in your future, the experienced team at CyrusOne can develop the best data center plan and construction solution for your growth strategies.

...

http://www.cyrusone.com/blog/can-next-data-center/

Sergei Tchesnokov explains why he believes that a security information and event management solution is the most effective way to manage information security risks and to develop a risk-based cybersecurity framework.

Intellectual property and funds stolen, personally identifiable information exposed, reputation ruined. The consequences of cybercrimes are numerous and the list of victims is constantly growing; as are the risks threatening those companies that haven’t yet rethought their approaches to preventing information security breaches. With $15 million as the average cost of a cybercrime in the US, as reported by the Ponemon Institute in 2015, it’s not surprising that cybersecurity risks are now included in the top 3 global business risks preceded only by business interruption and market developments (Allianz Risk Barometer 2016).

Relying on security best practices

Trying to adapt to the new cyber-insecure reality, companies develop corporate cybersecurity guidelines that include security best practices and recommendations stipulating the major pillars of effective information security risk management. And here, surprisingly, there is room for optimism: the Global State of Information Security Survey 2016 by PwC says that 91 percent of companies follow a risk-based cybersecurity framework.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/index.php/news/technology/1389-managing-information-security-risks-with-a-siem-solution

A server closet in the corner of an office or in a hospital may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about data centers, but the reality is that an enormous amount of the world’s IT capacity sits in small rooms just like that.

They may be small, but they have been growing in importance in recent years. Retailers put more and more IT capacity in their stores to support new digital customer experiences, while organizations like hospitals and universities are consolidating their infrastructure, meaning the footprint that’s left behind becomes more critical, according to JP Valiulis, who oversees marketing for thermal management products at Emerson Network Power.

“These closets are becoming a little bit more strategically important,” he said.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/09/12/emerson-intros-mobile-app-for-managing-tiny-data-centers/

Wednesday, 14 September 2016 00:00

After the evacuation – what staff need to know

Employees don’t have the same communication needs as first responders, but after an emergency, they are likely to have the following questions. Whether it is part of the emergency response plan or the BCP, having a plan to answer them is the first step in effective communications after a crisis.

Where Do I Go for Information?
In the initial phases of a disaster, it might make sense to have employees stay at the safe location that has already been established as an evacuation checkpoint. If everyone who does not have a response role remains at these assembly areas, it facilitates the sharing of information and helps ensure that the messages shared with employees are consistent.

Pre-planning the phone numbers, websites, meeting location, or whatever other information employees may need to know following a disaster allows the information to be printed on cards or papers that can be handed out so that it is easier for everyone to remember and follow the instructions after they leave the facility. This also prevents employees from calling departments or supervisors who may not have the information that they need to know.

...

https://businessresilienceforum.com/after-the-evacuation-what-staff-need-to-know/

BATON ROUGE, La. – FEMA has granted an extension for Louisiana National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders affected by August’s severe storms and flooding to file proof-of-loss claims.

You now have 120 days from the date of your loss to file a flood insurance claim if you’re a Louisiana NFIP policyholder. The extension doubles the 60-day deadline NFIP usually requires for policyholders to submit a fully documented, signed and sworn proof-of-loss claim.

FEMA determined Louisiana policyholders need more time to file claims given the recent flooding’s magnitude.

The proof-of-loss is included in the claims package that documents your flood losses. The claims package should include:

  • Photos or video of your flood damage.
  • A comprehensive and itemized list of what was damaged.
  • Receipts, if possible, for your damaged items along with any other supporting documents that show the value of what you lost.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to begin processing your claim.

FEMA has streamlined its process to better service flood insurance claims and answer questions. You may call 800-621-3362 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and select Option 2. If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

Call-center staff are available to assist you with information regarding your policy, offer technical flood guidance to aid in recovery, and respond to general as well as complicated questions about the NFIP. FEMA can transfer you to your insurance carrier for additional assistance if you have questions specifically about your insurance claim.

Storms, they are a’brewin’

Have you checked the weather lately? The 2016 hurricane season is starting out with a bang. NOAA has already issued several advisories for both the Atlantic and Pacific. Take a look at some of the latest headlines from the Weather Channel:

“Gulf of Mexico ‘Hot Tub’ Could Fuel Hurricane Season” and  “Hurricane Season Forecast Update: 10 More Named Atlantic Storms Expected.” There are millions of people in harm’s way and hundreds of families and business bracing for the deluge.

Even those hundreds of miles inland often feel the impact of hurricanes and tropical storms. It is estimated that 10,000 people die annually from hurricanes, mostly due to flooding.

...

https://www.alertmedia.com/how-mass-communication-software-can-prepare-you-for-the-2016-hurricane-season

Tuesday, 13 September 2016 00:00

Marketplace Empathy

Safe Harbor Consulting has been successful in assisting a number of organizations with their Table Top Exercise Programs for business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management solutions.  One of the first challenges we face in the exercise planning process is to settle on the right scenario for the exercise.

Of course, the first thing we do is to get our client to forget about the scenario for a moment and list those things within your programs that you want emphasized in the exercise.  For example, we ask questions like:

...

http://safeharborconsulting.biz/blog2/2016/09/07/marketplace-empathy/

The Business Continuity Institute - Sep 13, 2016 15:56 BST

This week I have been in Oman delivering training and carrying out an exercise for a government organization. They have a good robust plan in place. If they lose their office they will continue to have their IT up and running as it is housed in a third party data site and they also have work area recovery spaces at the same site. As their organisation is about providing policy and finance to the organizations they are responsible for, they are under no illusion that they may experience some downtime. With plans in place they rest assured that it would have little impact on their customers.

The scenario for the exercise was a cyclone which took out their primary data centre and flooded their office. They responded to the scenario by invoking their DR plan and switching to their secondary data centre, sending some staff to their work area recovery (WAR) location and others worked from home. By the end of the exercise, of course there were some issues, but overall they were pretty sorted.

In my report I am going to suggest that instead of repeating the same exercise next year, they look at practicing other parts of the plan so that they holistically have exercised all areas, not just the core of the plan. It is sometimes the auxiliary parts which can trip up a plan. I also like to suggest to my clients that they don’t always have to do a high preparation, high cost, half-day exercise. Short exercises can have as many benefits as a long exercise.

The following are a few exercises that I will suggest to them:

  • At Scottish Power when I was the BCM I used to run a call out exercise three times a year called “Bronze Receiver” to test whether I could get hold of the senior managers in the incident team out of hours. It was a good test to show that we could get enough people and roles to man the incident team. It also helped raise the profile of the BCM with the senior managers of the organization! It took 2-3 hours of my time but it gave them assurance people that could be contacted. If you have a notification system then you can use it, with the benefit of testing the system, getting people familiar with it and it is very little work for the BCM.
  • Practice the first team meeting after an incident. Instead of going for a full blown exercise get participants to come to the meeting with a scenario, pull one out of hat, and then have the first team meeting as if the scenario had just taken place. The team can practice working to an agenda, think through the issues and identify the actions the team members would have to carry out. As the first incident team meeting should take no more than 40 minutes your exercise would only take an hour including the debrief.
  • If part of your recovery strategy is for staff to work from home, then practice this. Have a work from home day and see if it can actually happen. Give lots of notice and perhaps even have extra people on the IT help desk to help people who have difficulty logging on to systems. Once people have worked from home and are aware of some of the difficulties (slow connections, need to take their laptop home, lack of access to files etc) you may have to adjust your strategy or put some more work and training into make it work. Once you have done it a number of times then have a ‘no notice’ one and you can practice your call cascades at the same time telling people not to come to work the next day!
  • If you have work area recovery spaces then you should have tested them to make sure your staff can access all the systems they require, can take calls, are familiar with their surroundings and how to get to the WAR location. Further exercises can be done with little or no notice.
  • The other areas I will suggest they look at are some of the auxiliary issues to the recovery. If they have a casualty or casualties how are they going to deal with them, including some of the longer term issues such as assigning a liaison manager to the family, funerals and anniversaries? Dealing with the press and PR can be another issues as well as dealing with the HR issues of people working from home or working at a recovery centre.

So once you have a good working recovery plan in place, don’t go through the motions of doing the same exercise every year with the learning points diminishing each time. Get the team thinking about other aspects of the recovery which can often be done without a lot of time or expense but adds value and robustness to your ability to recover after an incident.

Charlie Maclean-Bristol is a Fellow of the Business Continuity Institute, Director at PlanB Consulting and Director of Training at Business Continuity Training.

The Havelock North water contamination crisis is a painful reminder of how much worse the impact of infectious outbreaks can be when proper planning isn’t in place, an emergency planning specialist says.

Dr Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor’s research centres on the best way businesses and other organisations can prepare for rare, extreme events such as pandemics, terrorist strikes, natural disasters and economic recession.

“Better planning could have minimised unintended consequences and downstream effects that make the disaster worse,” she says. The fact that contaminated water was brought in to Havelock North in a tanker was “staggering”.

...

https://businessresilienceforum.com/business-continuity-incident-water-contamination/

By Mario Merlino, Assistant Commissioner, Pest Control and Veterinary Services, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygeine

 

New York City helicopter used for larviciding.

No one told the Aedes mosquito that New York is the city that never sleeps.

The type of mosquito that can spread Zika virus (Zika) is most active during the day and hides at night when our city’s mosquito control efforts are in full swing, meaning that our scientists had to find a way to reach it during pre-dawn hours. The solution? Wake it up, force it to take flight, and then kill it.

This is just one of many innovations New York is using to bolster the fight against Zika.

A tale of two mosquitoes

By the time the Zika outbreak was making news, causing birth defects and threatening pregnant women, New York City already had over a decade of experience in tackling mosquito problems related to the spread of West Nile virus. In facing Zika, we have been able to apply many of our existing resources and lessons learned from the West Nile virus response.

However, the mosquito that carries Zika is different than the one that carries West Nile virus, and it needs to be handled differently. New York is home to Aedes albopictus, which has been known to carry Zika – although, unlike the Aedes aegypti of the south, it has not yet been determined how likely Aedes albopictus is to spread the virus to humans in the United States. Because this is still unknown, people need to protect themselves.

To find out more about the risks, we need to catch the mosquitoes and test them. But we can’t use the same traps to catch the Aedes albopictus that we use to catch the West Nile virus-carrying Culex. Culex mosquitoes can be trapped with a combination of carbon dioxide and light. Being daytime creatures that prey mostly on people, Aedes albopictus don’t fall for the same tricks. So we developed traps that use human pheromones to lure them in.

Building on what we have

Aedes albopictus mosquito feeding.
Aedes albopictus mosquito

Meanwhile, some of the things we have always done for West Nile virus work well in the current response.

We know from previous mosquito-control efforts that pesticides are a last resort. Although there are lots of ways to kill a mosquito, West Nile virus taught us that an effective response takes cooperation on many fronts. In New York, we have laboratories for testing, disease control experts to track cases in people, and a call center that manages tests and information from clinicians. Our communication department gets the word out because the best thing we can do for viruses like West Nile and Zika is educate people about how to prevent mosquito bites – wearing the right repellent, removing standing water, and staying indoors when you can.

Many of the resources we acquired for fighting West Nile virus are proving indispensable for fighting Zika. Ten years ago, we got a hand-me-down helicopter from the NYPD, and we’ve been able to use this for aerial spraying over marshlands and unpopulated areas. In the city, we use the same late-night spray trucks. A police car moves ahead of the truck, warning anyone who may still be out on the street. The distinctly New York voice bellowing from the loudspeaker (that of retired assistant commissioner Allan Goldberg) is even the same one we’ve always used.

 Sharing what we know

Zika presents us with a very steep learning curve, and it reinforces the need for transparent communication. We’ve set up an interactive website where we can share what we’re discovering with the public. We put out data on a weekly basis: people can zoom in and out on their screens to see where we’re finding mosquitoes. We want everyone to understand about the preventive work we’re doing to help keep Zika at bay.

The complex nature of Zika reveals the strongest and weakest points of the public health system. One thing in particular public health has always struggled with is how to change people’s behavior, which is critical and must happen if we want to stop Zika. We really hope that pregnant women or women who plan to become pregnant will not travel to areas with Zika, but it’s hard to stop people from visiting family or simply enjoying the world.

So far, all of the reported Zika cases in New York – including, as of August, 49 among pregnant women – have been the result of global travel. But just because we haven’t seen local transmission doesn’t mean the potential isn’t there.

This is why we’ve expanded our efforts by hiring extra staff and extending the areas where we do mosquito control and education. We need to continue to collaborate across agencies and in the field – and, in fact, all over the world – to manage a complex response that touches on so many areas. Working together and staying vigilant is our only hope for getting – and staying – ahead of this potentially devastating disease.

Posted on September 12, 2016 by Mario Merlino, Assistant Commissioner, Pest Control and Veterinary Services, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygeine

Monday, 12 September 2016 00:00

Emergency Management Agencies Ready for Zika

As Zika virus cases increase in the southern United States, emergency management agencies here are training for this latest health crisis.

As of Aug. 29, there were 16,610 confirmed Zika cases in the U.S. Worse, the days of the disease coming from outside the country ended in July 2016, when Florida health officials confirmed that the first four cases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties were transmitted by local mosquitoes.

Here is how three emergency management agencies are training to cope with Zika in their jurisdictions.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/health/Emergency-Management-Agencies-Ready-for-Zika.html

A document leaked to Insurance Age reveals that Acturis suffered a major power failure in June due to a National Grid lightning strike.

Titled: Acturis System Resilience and Disaster Recovery it stated that a lightning strike impacted power supply to its main production data centre at Global Switch in London at 17:04 on 23 June.

Initially, the emergency back-up generators kicked in as planned but, after several minutes of operation, two of the back-up generators in one of the power stations failed at 17:14.

The report continued: “At this point the power source was transferred back to the mains supply, but in order for this to take effect, a momentary (300 milliseconds) loss of power was required at 17:15. The result of this momentary loss of power to the Acturis System was a complete system shut down.”

The Acturis System was restored to full operation in 2 hours.

...

https://businessresilienceforum.com/business-continuity-incident-ups-failure-hits-insurance-service-provider/

SSP Worldwide has come under fire from disgruntled brokers, with many still struggling to access the insurance software house’s cloud platform nearly two weeks after a datacentre power outage knocked it offline

The downtime since 26 August 2016 has severely hampered the day-to-day operations of insurance brokers across the UK who rely on the SSP Pure Broking software-as-a-service (SaaS) system to trade.

The system is used, according to SSP, by 40% of the UK’s brokers to track insurance renewals and remind customers to reinsure their vehicles, as well as source quotes and purchase products from third-party insurance providers.

...

https://businessresilienceforum.com/cloud-providers-business-continuity-capabilities-under-fire/

When Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey on Oct. 29, 2012, flooding streets and subways, the news galvanized engineers at Facebook FB +0.48% headquarters in Silicon Valley.

“It was a wakeup call,” said Jay Parikh, Facebook’s vice president and head of engineering and infrastructure. Although Facebook’s two data center complexes in North Carolina and Virginia had no problems staying up, engineering leaders suddenly realized they needed to prepare for natural disasters so they could keep hundreds of millions of people online. That led to the formation of Project Storm, a tiger team of about two dozen leaders of various Facebook technologies dedicated to stress-testing the entire network in case one or more data centers or regions went dark.

Though Parikh has previously revealed that Facebook does this kind of shutdown to test the network’s resiliency, he used the code-name Project Storm for the first time recently at the company’s third annual @Scale conference in San Jose. Here’s an edited conversation in which Parikh offered so-far undisclosed details about the efforts.

...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2016/09/11/interview-how-facebooks-project-storm-heads-off-data-center-disasters/#751351a24465

Compliance professionals are familiar with the phrase “tone at the top,” but what exactly does it mean?

Unlike other compliance program components, it cannot be easily formalized and implemented in a policy or procedure. Yet tone at the top is critical to building a culture of compliance – employees and managers do not live in a vacuum, they will reflect the importance of ethical business practices shown to them by the managers, executives, and board members above them. But how exactly do you build your tone at the top?

Here, I’m going to focus on arguably the most effective means to ensure that your tone at the top is moving your culture of compliance in the right direction – training.

...

http://blog.volkovlaw.com/2016/09/effective-ethics-compliance-program-first-train-board-senior-executives/

Whether you experience good times or bad times, everything is an opportunity to learn and grow.  Too often we seem to wear blinders and trudge full speed ahead hoping we reach our final goal, which if all goes according to plan – and it rarely does – we achieve our aspirations.  But when we get to the destination we often forget what we might have learned along the way, or worse, paid no heed to anything as we moved forward and thus, don’t end up learning anything from our experience.   Learning from our experiences and becoming more aware of what we’re doing happens as we’re actively working on activities, not when we’ve completed them.   That’s not to say you don’t look back and see how far you’ve come – you also need to know how you got there.  This happens allot with Business Continuity Management (BCM) / Disaster Recovery (DR) programs; training and awareness is usually moved to the end of the program or when there’s allot of plans, processes, protocols and procedures in place when awareness itself must begin at the beginning – followed by training opportunities.

...

https://stoneroad.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/bcm-dr-awareness-training-begins-at-the-start/

Earlier in August, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a request for information (RFI), seeking suggestions by today from the private sector on a wide range of cybersecurity issues.  NIST is acting on behalf of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, which is led by former White House national security advisor and my colleague at O’Melveny, Tom Donilon. (I have not reviewed, discussed, or been privy to any non-public information relating to the responses that NIST has received in response to the RFI). The goal is to improve cybersecurity, in part, by fostering partnerships between government—at the federal, state, and local levels—and the private sector to create cybersecurity technologies, policies, and best practices for businesses in all industries. NIST is no stranger to cybersecurity, as many readers will be familiar with NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework, which collects relevant standards to help an organization manage cybersecurity risk.

The RFI covers a broad range of topics, including critical infrastructure cybersecurity, identity and access management, international markets, and the Internet of Things. For executives, the RFI is an opportunity to focus the government’s attention on their companies’ greatest concerns.   Here’s what we might expect some of the suggestions to be:

...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/roncheng/2016/09/09/what-to-expect-from-the-obama-administrations-cybersecurity-suggestion-box/#6730dfee51b3

A recent Datto survey of 1,100 managed service providers worldwide has found that ransomware causes $75 billion a year in damanges to small and medium sized businesses in the U.S., with downtime resulting from ransomware often costing companies more than $8,500 per hour.

Ninety-five percent of respondents said ransomware attacks are becoming more frequent.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said a ransomware attack had led to business-threatening downtime. The average ransom demanded ranged from $500 to $2,000, though more than 10 percent reported a ransom larger than $5,000. Seven percent of respondents said payment of the ransom did not result in the return of data.

...

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/malware/u.s.-small-businesses-lose-75-billion-a-year-to-ransomware.html

As wearable technologies become increasingly popular, they are attracting the scrutiny of regulators around the world.  In addition to being used for business purposes, wearable devices provided by employers are likely to be utilised by employees for personal applications, such as fitness trackers and contactless payment. 

The number of wearable devices is certainly on the rise. One estimate from ReportsnReports calculates that wearable device shipments will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29% between 2016 and 2020, and that by 2020, wearable devices will represent a market worth $40 billion with over 240 million annual unit shipments.

Wearable technology is predicted to be big business – but what does it include? As well as the increasingly ubiquitous smart watches and fitness bands, it is predicted to extend into more niche products such as smart clothing, smart glasses and even smart jewellery, with designers including Swarovski and Fossil launching new products in recent times.

...

http://blog.krollontrack.co.uk/the-world-of-data/wearables-included-corporate-policies/

Device security was, is and always will be a big issue. The main security tool to date, of course, is the password, but to put it bluntly, not too many people are fans. Fingerprint scanning has made some headway over the years. Iris scanning is another approach that has been around the periphery for many years, and there are signs that it’s on the verge of becoming more common.

Last month, Samsung released the Galaxy Note7 which, WirelessWeek’s Diana Goovaerts notes, comes with iris scanning. The story features an interview with Delta ID CEO Salil Prabhakar, who is not a fan of voice recognition and palm reading technology, for convenience and accuracy issues. Fingerprint and iris scanning score higher, at least with Prabhakar, who said that iris scanning offers the same level of security as six-digit personal identification numbers.

It is useful to have an idea of how iris scanning works. Lamont Wood at Computerworld takes a close look; the first differentiation is that a person’s iris, barring injury, remains the same throughout his or her life. That is not true for other biometric markers. There are also a lot of places to check: An iris has 225 points of comparison. A fingerprint only has 40. Vendors are reluctant to deeply detail how their systems work due to fear that they will become targets.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-and-telecom/iris-scanning-may-be-the-next-big-step-in-security.html

(TNS) - Fifteen years ago, American self-confidence shattered amid the death and debris of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania and four hijacked aircraft.

The ripple effect has been felt ever since.

Before these terrible terrorist attacks, we believed history was on our side. Perhaps rightly so — the forces of democracy and capitalism had torn down the walls of communist tyranny, and the world was poised for an era of “perpetual peace” enforced by unchallenged U.S. power. In fact, foreign policy was barely discussed during the 2000 presidential election. The world was going our way.

Then Sept.11, 2001, happened. It was a shock because it was not supposed to happen.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Since-911-our-fear-has-harmed-us-more-than-terrorists-have.html

Friday, 09 September 2016 00:00

Delta: Data Center Outage Cost Us $150M

The Delta Airlines data center outage that grounded about 2,000 flights over the span of three days in August cost the company $150 million, the airline’s representatives told the audience of a transportation industry conference in Boston Wednesday.

The number is extraordinarily high, illustrating that major airlines have a lot more at stake when designing and managing critical infrastructure than most other data center operators.

The average cost of a single data center outage today is about $730,000, according to an Emerson Network Power-sponsored study by the Ponemon Institute, released earlier this year. Of the 60-plus data center operators surveyed for the report (PDF, registration required), the costliest reported outage caused the operator to lose about $2.4 million.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/09/08/delta-data-center-outage-cost-us-150m/

Friday, 09 September 2016 00:00

New Jersey Unveils Text-to-911 Capabilities

Citizens in the state of New Jersey have a new tool at their disposal should they need help in an emergency situation. On Sept. 7, officials unveiled a new text-to-911 capability that will allow residents living anywhere in the state to interact with emergency dispatchers via text message.

The tool has been a topic of much discussion following recent high-profile mass shootings, which occured in areas where the ability to text emergency responders was not an option.

The feature allows citizens to directly message dispatchers and is a critical part in getting better information to first responders during an emergency event, said Chris Rodriguez, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP), at an event at Rutgers University.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/next-gen-911/New-Jersey-Text-To-911.html

Good news for cyber insurers. A majority of companies continue to have network security and data privacy insurance, and are making their purchase decisions faster and experiencing fewer purchasing challenges than in 2015.

The findings come in the newly-released 2016 Network Security and Data Privacy Study by Wells Fargo Insurance.

While in 2015 the study showed that 22 percent of companies buying insurance took more than 12 months to make the purchase decision, in 2016 just 8 percent of companies are currently taking that long, while 59 percent are taking six months or less.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=4570

Even while comfort levels with cloud computing are rising, there is still a great deal of concern about cloud security. Sound familiar? It should--that was the boilerplate theme of media coverage around cloud computing security a couple of years ago, and it’s the same today.

Back then, the conversation trigger was yet another research report detailing the security risks that companies encountered as they migrated data to the cloud. While the cloud was portrayed as an essential technology tool helping businesses become more agile and innovative, the mandatory caution was that all this could all come asunder if done without due attention to basic security precautions.

Remarkably, it's a couple of years later and the storyline hasn’t changed. Hardly a week passes without more data testifying to the cloud’s increasing penetration and its status as the new normal in the enterprise. Yet the same basic security concerns remain.

...

http://mspmentor.net/cloud-services/why-you-shouldn-t-lose-sleep-over-cloud-security

In the United States, workplace injuries and illnesses happen at a rate of 3.2 cases per 100 full-time workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that if your organization employs 100 people, on average, at least three of them will experience a workplace injury or illness this year. Are your workplace safety programs working effectively to prevent these incidents?

Of course, a full safety audit is quite an involved process. But what if you want to quickly assess one or two programs, without running through an entire audit?

To get started, try these quick tips:

...

https://www.rockdovesolutions.com/blog/4-quick-ways-to-audit-your-workplace-safety-programs

Thursday, 08 September 2016 00:00

Uberisation and Business Continuity

So much of business is being scrutinized through the lens of uberisation that it would be an omission (and possibly a dangerous one) to neglect a quick squint at business continuity.

Unless you have been living an extraordinarily sheltered life, you will already have heard of Uber – if only because of the way taxi drivers complain about it.

Uber is a new business model that connects customers with providers in one-time supply relationships, as and when services are needed. Uber does it specifically with taxis, putting customers in contact with private car drivers, although the concept is now also being applied more widely. But what does this have to do with business continuity?

...

http://www.opscentre.com/uberisation-business-continuity/

Thursday, 08 September 2016 00:00

The Costs of Corruption

We always hear about the macroeconomic impact of corruption. Using large figures in the billions and even trillions (5 percent of global GDP) and painting catastrophic pictures of societal harm, anti-corruption advocates paint a terrifying picture of global, regional and specific country harm. These figures are fairly well established between world and regional development banks and provide ample motivation to join the fight against corruption.

Add to these economic costs the impact that corruption has on every day lives and the picture becomes frightening. Economic harm to a country to the already impoverished has a direct and immediate harm. While corrupt officials and business people line their pockets with money intended for economic development or basic government services and financing, the people in need continue to suffer. This is not an exaggeration when you consider the impact of corruption on emerging or developing economies.   Advanced economies continue to suffer from corruption, albeit at a lower rate than developing or emerging economies.

...

http://blog.volkovlaw.com/2016/09/the-costs-of-corruption/

Jennifer Archie is a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins. She possesses broad investigations, litigation, and counseling experience advising clients from emerging companies to global enterprises across all market sectors in matters involving computer fraud and cybercrime, privacy/data security compliance and program management, advertising and marketing practices, information governance, consumer fraud, employment, and trade secrets. Archie has particular experience defending clients in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state consumer protection investigations and preparing for and leading the response to complex and large-scale data breach incidents.

Serrin Turner is a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins and a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Government Investigations Practice and Financial Institutions Industry group. He leverages his extensive government litigation experience and background in cybercrime and data protection issues to represent clients in their most critical cyber security matters.

...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherskroupa/2016/09/07/legalities-of-a-cyber-breach-heed-your-in-house-counsel/#c531a252412d

As part of our responsibilities as Business Continuity professionals, we spend a significant amount of time writing and following up on documentation, not the least of which is writing business continuity, crisis communication, crisis management, and technical recovery plans. Ensuring that the plans are written and up to date is only half the challenge. The other half – the real challenge (and higher priority, in my opinion) – is to ensure that the documentation is functional and accurate. What is the best method to ensure plans are functional? Business Continuity and Recovery Testing.

Testing requires time, equipment, resources, and expertise to run. Organization of these resources and performing an exercise can be difficult. What are the benefits?

...

http://www.mha-it.com/2016/09/benefits-of-business-continuity-and-recovery-testing/

(TNS) - Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes, and Southern Californians are often reminded about the potential risks and dangers that include wildfires, earthquakes, flash floods and Santa Ana winds.

Preparation is important when it comes to taking the edge off anxieties and also lessening the blow if tragedy happens.

If peace of mind isn’t motivation enough, consider that September is National Preparedness Month and National Fire Protection Week follows Oct. 9-15. They serve as important reminders that there is no better time than the present to formulate a home disaster plan or to revisit one.

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/National-Preparedness-Month-How-to-be-ready-for-the-next-emergency.html

The Business Continuity Institute - Sep 08, 2016 12:22 BST

In recognition of her outstanding contribution to the business continuity and resilience industry, the outgoing Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute - Lorraine Darke - was awarded an Honorary Masters degree by Buckinghamshire New University at a graduation ceremony at the Wycombe Swan Theatre.

On receiving her award, Lorraine commented: "I am greatly honoured to accept an Honorary Masters degree from the University in a personal capacity but, more importantly, in my role as Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute. There are many parallels between Buckinghamshire New University and the BCI. We are both institutions that respond to meet the demands of the current global environment – an environment that continues to change and evolve in an increasingly unstable and fragile world.

"While partnering with the university it has been my pleasure to work alongside Phil Wood who heads the School for Management and Professional Studies at the university. Phil has contributed significantly to the development of business continuity as a discipline - working with us to launch our Diploma, educating students at both Diploma and Certificate level, and contributing to the debate on the value and role of business continuity within the protective disciplines.

"Organizations are striving to become more resilient and both the BCI and the university are able to provide skills to individuals who, in turn, help organizations work towards this aim. I believe that the world is a stronger and safer place through the work of both the university and the institute and I trust that our partnership will endure as we continue the important challenge of building a more resilient world."

Lorraine was in esteemed company as others who were awarded such an honour included Olivier Rabenschlag, Head of Creative at Google, and Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer in England.

Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice-Chancellor of Bucks New University, said: "We are proud and honoured to bestow these honorary awards. Our awardees are chosen in recognition of their outstanding achievements in their fields and because they are an inspiration to our graduating students. We are delighted to recognise such a celebrated group of individuals this year."

Wednesday, 07 September 2016 00:00

FEMA: Thirty Seconds Now, Could Save a Life Later

Take action for National Preparedness Month, Download the FEMA App

PHILADELPHIA – September is National Preparedness Month! Are you ready for when disaster strikes? What if there were an app to make you more aware of severe weather, help you prepare for an emergency and ultimately make you, your friends and family more disaster ready? Would you download it?

The FEMA app is free to download on the App Store and Google Play. It’s packed with features that make it useful and informative too, and allows you to:

  • Get weather alerts;
  • Get safety tips;
  • Prepare an emergency kit checklist; and
  • Get safety reminders.

Every minute counts when severe weather threatens. Nearly half a million Americans already have the FEMA app. So take 30 seconds today and download the FEMA App for free on the App Store and Google Play.

Be a Leader. You can help make difference and lead your family, organization, or business to take action and prepare. Whether it’s during the morning meeting at your office, at lunch with a friend, or at dinner with your family; take 30 seconds in your day to encouraging others to download the App and make a difference in their future!

On any given day, you may just find it to be the most important app on your phone.

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. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.

Citrix consistently puts the customer—specifically the end user—at the forefront of our designs. Citrix Receiver works like an app store that users are already familiar with, and that app store concept is consistent on every device they use to access their corporate apps and desktops.

What’s more, our HDX protocols ensure the fastest printing, file saving and app launching. We know that in order for your virtual apps and desktop deployment to be successful, you need user adoption. And your employees are not going to use something that is difficult or cumbersome.

To provide additional flexibility to your employees, Citrix offers Remote PC Access, allowing remote access to their physical desktop when outside of the office. They gain simple and secure access without the complications and delays that come with traditional VPN, including multiple logins and an overall slow experience.

...

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/07/user-experience-security-flexibility-citrix-has-it-others-dont/

Wednesday, 07 September 2016 00:00

Why The Hybrid Cloud Now Has The Edge

The computing edge is still the centre of attention, as the hype transitions to a more mainstream reality and its role as a key digital accelerant is cemented.

Indeed, by inherently bringing the computing power closer to the user and application with a precision and control that drives savings and performance, the edge emerges as the ultimate buffer against today’s data onslaught which demands a level of agility only matched by watertight resistance.

The almost instant analysis and interaction generated when small computing devices are integrated into the very edge of the network makes the data in this fertile space more valuable and easier to control - a fluidity no better illustrated than in the complex environs of the industrial context.

...

https://channels.theinnovationenterprise.com/articles/why-the-hybrid-cloud-now-has-the-edge

Wednesday, 07 September 2016 00:00

Big Data Is Way Too Big To Die

When survival is on the line, size really does matter.

As the traditionalist data analytics professionals dig their heels in and refuse to give into the Big Data deluge, it is fast becoming clear that the volume of evidence for the new movement is too substantial to deny. There is far more data in NoSQL stacks than there was in SQL, Hadoop has long since superseded Oracle in terms of volume and data 'oceans' are now taking the place of data lakes.

The fact that the industry still has teething troubles is not relevant - it is Big, and it is here to stay.

...

https://channels.theinnovationenterprise.com/articles/big-data-is-way-too-big-to-die

Wednesday, 07 September 2016 00:00

Endpoint Security: Is Anti-virus Dead?

More and more, the question being asked about endpoint protection and anti-virus isn’t “Who should we use?” but, rather, “Do we even need anti-virus anymore?”

Traditional anti-virus refers to those anti-virus-focused clients that used to be commonplace, like Norton and McAfee. While that method of protection worked in the past, the efficacy of it is starting to decrease, and that’s why some new vendors are arguing that, overall, anti-virus is dead.

...

http://mspmentor.net/blog/endpoint-security-anti-virus-dead-0

Wednesday, 07 September 2016 00:00

What Is Involved In Smoke Removal?

Smoke removal is a vital step in restoring a home after a fire. Unfortunately, this can also be one of the most challenging and time-consuming parts of the restoration process given that smoke removal commonly requires access to high-powered, industrial-grade tools that can only be obtained by professional fire damage remediation services. Moreover, it is vital that smoke removal is started as quickly as possible after a fire has occurred in the home, to prevent soot and smoke from permeating the furnishings, ceilings, and walls. It is important to note that it can be dangerous to enter the property after a fire has occurred due to the likely hood of structural and water damages. Although its best to work with a trusted fire damage restoration company when in need for smoke removal, it is nice to know that there are certain aspects of this process that you may be able to handle on your own.

Before performing smoke removal efforts of any type, it is vital to have your home professionally inspected and deemed safe to enter as this can help you to avoid causing additional damages to the property and sustaining physical damages of your own. Remember that homes that have sustained fire damage could be unstable and placing pressure on the boards might result in a collapse and personal injury. You may be at risk for electrocution as well if a qualified electrician has not yet inspected the home. Thus, having your home cleared for entry is the first and most vital step in smoke removal.

...

http://nationaldisasterrecovery.org/what-is-involved-in-smoke-removal/

When Hurricane Hermine threatened the southeastern United States, AppRiver once again activated its free Digital Disaster Preparedness Service (DDPS). First made available in 2005, DDPS is a service designed to prevent businesses from losing email in the event of a mail server outage. We’re offering it at no charge to our friends in the path of storms like Hurricane Hermine—or any other natural disaster throughout the year.

So what exactly is the DDPS? DDPS is a special offering of AppRiver’s Email Continuity Service to businesses that lie within the cone of uncertainty in advance of a natural disaster. The cloud-based service averts email loss and bounced messages by redirecting an organization’s email to one of AppRiver's secure data centers, while also blocking any spam and virus messages. Once the danger passes and connectivity is restored, AppRiver will forward all outage-period email back to the company's servers, free of charge.

...

http://mspmentor.net/blog/don-t-let-bad-weather-create-perfect-storm-your-business

When the worst does happen, there’s a natural human reaction to minimize the problem.

One way this happens is that you try too quickly, with too little information, to categorize the risk, deal with it and move on – but then it changes shape, takes on new context and suddenly the problem looks different and your response is inadequate.

Many years ago I handled the crisis communications for the UK operations of a leading global beer brand. It seemed to have a peculiar knack for suffering crises which arrived in disguise.

...

https://www.rockdovesolutions.com/blog/the-crisis-illusion-now-you-see-it-now-you-dont

The Business Continuity Institute - Sep 07, 2016 11:19 BST

The growing emphasis on resilience at an operational and organizational level has led many people to consider what the future holds for professionals in business continuity and resilience roles. In recent years, the Business Continuity Institute and PwC have both been discussing this issue at great lengths, but would like to understand more about what those in the profession think too.

The BCI has devised a short survey to establish how those in the profession approach their role, what their aspirations are, and what they think the future might hold for both their organization’s resilience and their own career. 

The survey will only take about seven minutes to complete and can be found by clicking here. All respondents will be offered a complimentary PDF copy of the final survey report, as well as being entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Amazon voucher (or equivalent value in another currency).

What were the contract terms? Where is the contract? Who signed off on it? What do I need to know?

Imagine you are sitting down with your CEO and he is firing all of these questions across the table, giving you barely enough time to say “I don’t know” before he moves on to the next, getting angrier and angrier with each response. If you – whether you’re a chief counsel, a first-year legal hire or somewhere in between – are unable to come up with the necessary answers your CEO and company requires, how do you think the rest of the company, from procurement to sales to services, will have the necessary answers they need to remain compliant?

Well, they won’t. Without true end-to-end contract visibility, legal teams will never have the complete confidence of total compliance, nor the ability to provide the necessary insights that drive business outcomes.

...

http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/driving-corporate-compliance-end-end-visibility/

Sure, as a CIO or IT manager, you know what IT risk management is. It’s all about applying risk management principles to IT, including the adoption, ownership, operation and influence of IT within the larger context of the enterprise but in terms of risk management language, are these principles communicated properly across the organisation?

Now try to explain that to your board directors and get beyond their glassy-eyed stare to help them understand how vital this is to the survival and success of the company, and to get their green light on any necessary budget. The following five tips could help to get a meaningful dialogue going.

...

 http://www.opscentre.com/adjusting-risk-management-language-business-colleagues/

Most facilities managers would agree that their lot is a varied one.  This can also apply to their involvement with their organisations Business Continuity Plan and in this article we’ll look at where FMs fit into the overall plan and how they can contribute to the development, maintenance and execution of the business continuity plan.  The availability and operability physical property is absolutely fundamental to business operations for the majority of organisations and there are many issues related to protecting and recovering physical facilities.

Where there is no full-time business continuity manager (and surveys have shown that around 80% of organisations that do have a formal plan, do not devote full time resources to its maintenance and upkeep), the facilities manager tends to be  the main “owner” of plan maintenance activities  together with other key functions such as IT and HR.  So, for many organisations, the facilities managers are not only a key part of the plan, they are a principal catalyst for ensuring the continued relevance of the plan.

When we consider the broad spectrum of activities that make up comprehensive business continuity plan there are many activities that a facilities manager might take ownership of at the various stages of plan development and maintenance.  A business continuity programme goes through several stages during it’s development and implementation and all can involve the FM in some way:

...

https://businessresilienceforum.com/business-continuity-how-the-facilities-management-fits-in/

Tuesday, 06 September 2016 00:00

FEMA Speaks Your Language

BATON ROUGE, La. – If you or someone you know wants to apply for federal disaster assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency probably can provide a translator or interpreter who speaks your language.

When you call the FEMA helpline, 800-621-3362, you will be asked in English to press “1” for English, or in Spanish, to press “2” for Spanish. If you do not press “1” or “2”, and do not hang up, an English-speaking registration assistant will answer and a language translator will be brought on line to assist the caller in registering for FEMA assistance. FEMA is able to provide translators for most languages.

To register, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA helpline. Help is available in most languages and phone lines are open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. An American Sign Language interpreter can be made available at the Disaster Recovery Center when you visit.

Disaster survivors who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585 to register. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. All disaster recovery centers are accessible and equipped with tools to accommodate disaster survivors who need disability-related communication aids. Each disaster recovery center provides communication accessibility tools for people with communication disabilities.

For information call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or www.fema.gov/disaster/4277.

Tuesday, 06 September 2016 00:00

NoSQL Databases: An Enterprise Necessity

Relational databases have long been a staple in enterprise IT. But demand for different kinds of databases has grown in recent years. And, according to a new Forrester Wave report, "NoSQL is not an option -- it has become a necessity to support next-generation applications."

What's so great about NoSQL? The non-relational technology can support scale-out architecture which leverages low-cost compute servers, clustered to deliver performance of large high-end symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) servers, Forrester Research said. Plus, NoSQL offers a flexible schema-less model providing the capability to store, process, and access any type of customer or business data. It can support structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data.

And NoSQL can lower data management costs, because many NoSQL solutions are open source, and others sell for much less than a full version of commercial relational database management solutions.

...

http://www.informationweek.com/software/information-management/nosql-databases-an-enterprise-necessity/d/d-id/1326724

When discussing emergency notification, most conversations typically focus (rightly) on outbound alerting capabilities (particularly telephone calls). While outbound alerting is clearly the most utilized functionality of a notification system, business continuity professionals should not overlook capabilities for inbound communications that can also be essential for informing people in a crisis. The ability for stakeholders to call into an automated system, navigate menus, and retrieve information could be an important addition to any notification strategy.

For inbound communications, resiliency professionals generally deploy two approaches: Recipient Message Boards and Shared Message Boards.

...

http://blog.sendwordnow.com/the-role-of-inbound-communications-in-your-emergency-notification-strategy-2-0

The enterprise, as always, is at the forefront of virtually all the multiple technology revolutions taking place today. From Big Data and the Internet of Things to virtual infrastructure and digital business processes, IT is driving the transformation from old-style systems and infrastructure to highly available, highly intelligent applications and services.

But sometimes it helps to stop for a moment and see where all this is headed and what work, and life, would be like if all of these developments come to fruition. To my mind, the most consequential advancements are coming in the areas of the IoT and artificial intelligence. How, exactly, will the world function once it has access to a global, interconnected computing environment that touches every device on the planet? And what are the ramifications of giving this thing the ability to learn?

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/ai-and-the-iot-are-we-truly-prepared-for-whats-coming.html