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Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:52

An Unpredictable Spring

 

Be Prepared Header

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.” – Mark Twain

While spring officially sprung in late March, it’s only been in the last few weeks that we’ve seen the characteristically unpredictable weather that ushers in the fun-in-the-sun summer. During spring, temperatures can swing back and forth between balmy (high 80s in Georgia this week) and frigid (in the 40s in Wyoming). Sunny days may be followed by a week of stormy weather; sometimes extreme weather changes can occur even within the same day.

Below are the most common types of severe spring weather:

Be Ready for Tornadoes Infographic

  • Thunderstorms cause most of the severe spring weather. They can bring lightning, tornadoes and flooding. Whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, thunderstorms can occur. For much of the world, this happens in spring and summer.
  • Tornadoes, often called twisters, are rapidly rotating columns of air that are connected to both the ground and the cloud.  Tornado Alley – the Great Plains region of the United States – is most active this time of year.  Already in 2014, there have been more than 30 deathsExternal Web Site Icon due to tornadoes.
  • Flooding, which is most common in and near mountainous areas due to snow melt, is another condition of spring.  As are mudslides, like the one in Oso, Washington, in late March.  Mudslides happen when heavy rainfall, snowmelt, or high amounts of ground water cause soil to be uprooted.   
  • Wildfires are most common in the Western United States and wildfire season usually starts in May and runs through August.  According to the National Interagency Fire Center, this year’s wildfire season could be dangerousExternal Web Site Icon.

Because spring weather can be so unpredictable, you may be unprepared when severe weather hits—especially if you live in a region that does not often experience these types of events. And when severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and death increases. So planning ahead makes sense; prepare for storms, floods, and tornadoes as if you know in advance they are coming, because in the spring, they very likely will.

Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes and floods requires specific safety precautions. Still, you can follow many of the same steps for all extreme weather events. You should have on hand:

  • A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
  • An emergency evacuation plan, including a map of your home and, for every type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
  • A list of important personal information, including
    • telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends
    • insurance and property information
    • telephone numbers of utility companies
    • medical information
  • A first aid kit may include:
    • non-latex gloves
    • assortment of adhesive bandages
    • antibiotic ointment
    • sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
    • absorbent compress dressings
    • tweezers
    • scissors
    • adhesive cloth tape
    • aspirin packets (81 mg each)
    • First aid instruction booklet
  • A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • An emergency kit in your car

Remember to help prepare your family members and neighbors for the possibility of severe weather too. Tell them where they can find appropriate shelter as soon as they are aware of an approaching storm. Make sure to run through your emergency plans for every type of severe weather. Show family members where emergency supplies are stored, and make sure they know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home.

Unfortunately, few of us get much advance notice of a severe weather event. Often times when we become aware of an approaching storm, we have little time to prepare for it.  But, we know what season it is, and even if this spring doesn’t bring any severe weather to your area, being prepared can help you at any time of the year.

Are there any stories of your own spring preparedness that you want to share with us?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 16:27

The World’s Most Resilient Cities

How do you invest, source and expand responsibly?

Picking the right place to do so may make or break your efforts. At least, that’s the theory of London-based property company Grosvenor. With that in mind, the company analyzed 160 data sets to assess the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of the world’s “50 most important cities” to determine which are the most resilient, with resilience defined as “the ability of cities to continue to function as centers of production, human habitation, and cultural development despite the challenges posed by climate change, population growth, declining resource supply, and other paradigm shifts.”

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/the-worlds-most-resilient-cities/

Traditional cyber security is now inadequate for today’s threat landscape and must be superseded by ‘cyber resilience’, demanding more vigorous action from company boardrooms.

This was the main message of a panel of industry experts at the international cyber summit hosted by IT Governance in London on 8th May.

The event, ‘New Standards in the Global Cyber War’ included speakers from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, British Standards Institution (BSI), international professional organization ISACA, and AXELOS, a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and services group Capita plc that runs the Best Management Practice portfolio.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07205.html

A recent survey among 250 UK CIOs and IT leaders has revealed that nearly half of respondents are plagued by regular IT performance and availability issues. 48 percent of respondents experience availability and outage issues at least once a week; and 21 percent of these experience downtime every day.

ControlCircle, UK provider of managed and cloud-based services, commissioned the ‘IT Growth and Transformation’ survey with Vanson Bourne, to explore IT budget alignment and how CIOs are managing IT as well as innovation.

Overall, smaller organizations (employing between 251-500 employees) report a higher level of service excellence across the board. Even in this group, only 46 percent claim excellence in quality of service, regardless of budget. Among larger enterprises, only 20 percent of respondents believed they were achieving ‘best effort’ in quality of service, regardless of cost control.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07206.html

Rogue employees continue to be the biggest threat to information security, according to 37 percent of IT professionals polled at Infosecurity Europe 2014. The poll conducted by BSI, the business standards company, investigated perceived threats to information security and how businesses are responding.

The poll found that despite taking measures to combat the risks, 37 percent of businesses still see employees as biggest threat to information security, ranking the insider threat, higher than cyber-attacks (19 percent) and bring your own device (BYOD) (15 percent).

In order to reduce the risk to their business, over half (52 percent) have implemented an internal information security policy, 47 percent have provided staff training and 63 percent are either certified (29 percent) or operating in compliance (34 percent) with ISO 27001, the international Information Security Management System Standard. A further 23 percent indicated they were looking to certify in the immediate future.

However, confidence in security measures to protect against risks is relatively low with under half (46 percent) stating they are confident in the measures their firm has taken. One in ten are not confident at all, yet unsurprisingly in organizations that are certified to ISO 27001 the levels of confidence in security measures rise to 78 percent.

“It’s no surprise to see insider threats as the biggest risk to information security as employees will always be the one thing that cannot be controlled,” said Suzanne Fribbins, Risk Management Expert at BSI. “Employees don't necessarily have to be malicious to put a company at risk; they may just not understand the possible risks associated with their actions. Research has shown that effective staff training can halve the number of insider breaches, by ensuring employees understand the importance of information security and their role in protecting businesses critical information.”

Commitment from senior management is essential if an organization is to manage information security effectively. Encouragingly, 73 percent of respondents believe senior management is dedicated to information security. But 54 percent do not feel the necessary resources are allocated to it, despite this being one of the key ways in which top management can demonstrate its commitment to protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information.

The poll also found that over three quarters (77 percent) of organizations are increasingly being asked for ISO 27001 as a customer requirement when bidding for new business.

www.bsigroup.com/infosec

Computerworld — When the White House issued its big-data privacy report on May 1, it recommended the passage of federal breach legislation "to replace a confusing patchwork of state standards." Although that may have sounded like good news to the development community -- the folk who generally bear the brunt of complying with such security requirements -- it's only a step in the right direction if your goal is falling off of a cliff.

Having one federal standard rather than a large number of state standards is an unquestionably good thing. I'm not arguing against that. But the exceptions spelled out in the report and one rather obvious omission make the whole effort rather pointless. (Let's leave aside the question of whether putting any nuanced business problem in the hands of Congress and expecting them to figure out a realistic solution is akin to administering an astrophysics final to your pet rock. No need to belabor the obvious.)

Let's start with what the report recommends. In discussing big data, it makes a reasonable point: "Amalgamating so much information about consumers makes data breaches more con-sequential, highlighting the need for federal data breach legislation to replace a confusing patchwork of state standards. The sheer number of participants in this new, inter-connected ecosystem of data collection, storage, aggregation, transfer, and sale can disadvantage consumers."

...

http://www.cio.com/article/752773/One_Law_to_Rule_All_Data_Breaches_But_Let_s_Make_it_a_Real_Law

Computerworld — In an Internet of Things (IoT) world, smart buildings with web-enabled technologies for managing heat, lighting, ventilation, elevators and other systems pose a more immediate security risk for enterprises than consumer technologies.

The increasing focus on making buildings more energy efficient, secure and responsive to changing conditions is resulting in a plethora of web-enabled technologies. Building management systems are not only more tightly integrated with each other, they are also integrated with systems outside the building, like the smart grid.

The threat that such systems pose is two-fold, analysts said. Many of the web-enabled intelligent devices embedded in modern buildings have little security built into them, making them vulnerable to attacks that could disrupt building operations and pose safety risks.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/752772/With_the_Internet_of_Things_Smart_Buildings_Pose_Big_Risk

The purpose of an Incident Readiness Program is to enhance the ability to respond effectively to any business disruption and restore those assets (Business Processes, facilities, technology, suppliers and people) that are critical to the delivery of that organization’s Products & Services.

The Planning Phase of the program enables the organization to identify the critical assets at risk, prioritize the resumption of business processes, map dependencies necessary for effective response & recovery, and develop actionable plans. Testing and exercises should be designed to find the gaps in recovering those critical assets – both strategic and operational. The Incident Management component of the program establishes the organizational structures and tools for command, control and communication during a disruptive incident.

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http://ebrp.net/4-elements-to-create-an-incident-ready-program/

LINCROFT, N.J. -- As Deputy Coordinator of the Oceanport, N.J. Office of Emergency Management, Chris Baggot has weathered a lot of storms.

But nothing so profoundly altered the landscape of his community like Hurricane Sandy.

The 3.7 square mile town on the Shrewsbury River was devastated by the storm. Five hundred of the 2000 homes in this close-knit community were substantially damaged or destroyed. Oceanport also lost its police station, its borough hall, its ambulance squad building, its library and its courthouse.

Some 18 months after the Oct. 29, 2012 hurricane, 71 families were still unable to return home.

The Baggot family is among them. The Baggots have been renting a one-bedroom apartment in the nearby community of Eatontown while they await the demolition and reconstruction of their home on Blackberry Bay.

While they were approved for an RREM grant of $150,000 to underwrite the rebuilding, a rough winter delayed the start of construction on their replacement home. Once the weather improves and contractors break ground, it will be another six to nine months before Chris, his wife, Wendy, and college-age son, Zachary, will be able to enjoy life in Oceanport once again.

“I’m a Sandy survivor. We don’t use the word ‘victim,’’’ he says.

He carries A picture of Chris BaggottChris Baggot: From Sandy Survivor to Sandy Recovery Coordinatorthat perspective into his role at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s New Jersey Sandy Recovery Office, where he recently became a CORE employee after joining FEMA as a Local Hire in December of 2012.

It was his second time assisting his fellow New Jerseyans as a FEMA employee:  Baggot was also recruited as a Local Hire in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Hired initially as a project specialist for Public Assistance, Baggot moved on to become a Cost Estimating Format reviewer, Quality Assurance lead, Operations task force lead and finally, CORE Operations Task Force Lead.

In that capacity, he explains, “I oversee the life cycle of a Public Assistance project from the writing stage all the way through to obligation.”

Baggot’s personal experience with the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy has underlined his understanding of the importance of the FEMA mission in helping communities rebuild and become more resilient.

“It sure is nice when people say to you, ‘Look, we need this; we need that,’ and you can give it to them in a reasonable way,” says Baggot, “and it’s nice when you can manage expectations when people ask for the moon and stars. That’s not really what we’re there to provide. We’re there to get them back to pre-disaster conditions.”

He has plenty of praise for his colleagues at FEMA, who came here in the immediate aftermath of the storm to help the hard-hit residents of New Jersey get back on their feet.

“The FEMA people that I’ve had the opportunity to work with have really been great.” He’s also enjoyed observing their surprise at how different New Jersey is from its “What exit?” stereotype.

“They talk about how beautiful it is – they thought it was all blacktop,” Baggot says with a laugh.

http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4086/updates/sandy-one-year-later


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.

Fast Rollout of Digital Lifestyle Services in the Tera Era with Allot Service Gateway Tera

WOKING, Surrey – Wick Hill is now shipping Allot Service Gateway Tera, a high-performance DPI-based platform built to power the deployment of Digital Lifestyle Services in fixed and mobile data networks on the path to software-defined networking (SDN) and cloud-based network services (NFV).

Ed Kidson, product sales manager at Wick Hill, commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for the channel to deliver a smooth migration path towards SDN and virtualisation, at the same time as minimising capital investment.” 

Allot Service Gateway Tera has already received multimillion dollar orders from four different mobile and fixed line operators worldwide, including a $4M deal announced earlier this year and a $5M dollar deal announced earlier this month.

Allot Service Gateway Tera provides a unified framework for both physical and virtual service deployment across any access network, serving as a single point of integration for network- and cloud-based services. The new offering includes real-time traffic management, video optimization, policy enforcement, application-based charging, and security services such as Parental Control and Anti-DDoS. 

Allot Service Gateway Tera supports Service Chaining to value-added services, with high-density 100GE and 10GE connectivity. The platform is built to manage 15 million active subscribers and provides up to 2Tbps in a Tera-cluster.

Allot Service Gateway Tera also supports breakthrough network analytics, allowing operators to collect a variety of data sets from their networks and analyze them according to application, subscriber, device, topology and context. It works with Allot ClearSee Analytics solution to turn big data into valuable business insights needed to drive service profitability and customer satisfaction.

About Wick Hill

Established in 1976, value added distributor Wick Hill specialises in secure IP infrastructure solutions. The company sources and delivers best-of-breed, easy-to-use solutions through its channel partners, with a portfolio that covers security, performance, access, networking, convergence, storage and hosted solutions.

Wick Hill is part of the Wick Hill Group, based in Woking, Surrey with sister offices in Hamburg. Wick Hill is particularly focused on providing a wide range of value added support for its channel partners. This includes a strong lead generation and conversion programme, technical and consultancy support for reseller partners in every stage of the sales process, and extensive training facilities. For more information about Wick Hill, please visit http://www.wickhill.com/company/company-profile or www.twitter.com/wickhill

About Allot Communications

Allot Communications Ltd. (NASDAQ, TASE: ALLT) is a leading global provider of intelligent broadband solutions that put mobile, fixed and enterprise networks at the center of the digital lifestyle and workstyle. Allot’s DPI-based solutions identify and leverage the business intelligence in data networks, empowering operators to analyze, protect, improve and enrich the digital lifestyle services they deliver. Allot’s unique blend of innovative technology, proven know-how and collaborative approach to industry standards and partnerships enables network operators worldwide to elevate their role in the digital lifestyle ecosystem and to open the door to a wealth of new business opportunities. For more information, please visit www.allot.com.  

Forward Looking Statement

This release may contain forward-looking statements, which express the current beliefs and expectations of Company management. Such statements involve a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause our future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include risks relating to: our ability to compete successfully with other companies offering competing technologies; the loss of one or more significant customers; consolidation of, and strategic alliances by, our competitors, government regulation; lower demand for key value-added services; our ability to keep pace with advances in technology and to add new features and value-added services; managing lengthy sales cycles; operational risks associated with large projects; our dependence on third party channel partners for a material portion of our revenues; and other factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's annual report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements in this release are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made only as of the date hereof, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Trademark Notice

Allot Communications, Allot Service Gateway Tera and Allot ClearSee Analytics are trademarks of Allot Communications. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 14:57

Improving Compliance with Data Science

The days when organizations talked about data in terms of megabytes and gigabytes are long gone. Today, they talk about data in terms of petabytes and zettabytes — big data with massive potential, if they know what to do with it.

Increased access to powerful analytics, combined with the maturing capabilities of open architecture, cloud computing and predictive analytics are helping more organizations get better with data. Yet, in many cases, organizations are moving too slowly to keep up, and they may not be considering all of the risks.

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/improving-compliance-with-data-science/

CIO — Organizations are increasingly focusing on building enterprise data applications on top of their Hadoop and NoSQL infrastructure. But even as that's happening, Hadoop itself is becoming much more diverse and complex. That's a potential headache for developers seeking to build applications on top of that data infrastructure, but data application platform specialist Concurrent, primary sponsor of the open source Cascading application framework, sees it as an opportunity.

While Apache Hadoop began as a combination of Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) for file storage and MapReduce for compute, there are now a growing number of options for compute in Hadoop, including Apache Tez (a framework for near real-time big data processing), and the soon-to-be-released Apache Spark (a framework for in-memory cluster computing) and Apache Storm (a distributed computation framework for stream processing). Hadoop distribution vendor MapR even offers an alternative to HDFS in its distribution.

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http://www.cio.com/article/752747/Cascading_Allows_Apps_to_Execute_on_All_Big_Data_Fabrics

As organisations evolve, they need to re-evaluate their degree of preparedness in the different business continuity management disciplines. In the networked partner model that has become common today, risk management, governance over recovery, crisis communications and talent management all need updating, compared how things used to be in the vertically integrated enterprise. Changes made in the way an organisation approaches these items then need to be mapped into the appropriate BCM documents. But is this as simple as it sounds?

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/mapping-networked-business-continuity-disciplines-into-documents/

In this age of data and science, it’s easy to underestimate the role of storytelling in human history. But the importance of storytelling is demonstrated by science, according to Louis Cozolino, a psychologist and professor of psychology at Pepperdine University.

In his book, “The Social Neuroscience of Education,” Cozolino says we’ve evolved to remember and tell stories as a way of retaining important information about our community, our world and ourselves.

In fact, a well-told story creates a “nexus of neural network integration” in all parts of the brain, Cozolino states.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/add-impact-to-data-analytics-by-tapping-our-primal-past.html

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 14:51

How the RIMS Risk Maturity Model Works

Hack Wilson was an MLB star in the 1920’s, but he had a drinking problem. Realizing his potential, Hack’s manager pulled him into the dugout and said, “If I drop a worm into a glass of water, it swims around fine. If I drop it into a glass of whiskey, it immediately dies. What does this prove?”

Hack responded, “If you drink whiskey, you’ll never get worms.”

Hack’s observation, while misguided, provides a lesson in the difficulty of training and educating employees. Over the next several weeks, I hope to provide a step by step walk through of the RIMS Risk Maturity Model (RMM) for enterprise risk management (ERM), and while doing so provide a framework that can be used to educate, implement, and enhance the ERM program at your own organization.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/how-the-rims-risk-maturity-model-works/

Looking back at the 20th Century, the way that the World conducted its ‘business’ and managed its affairs seems far removed from what we have become in the 21st Century. The momentous political and social effects of two global conflicts (with clashes of ideology and encompassing acts of incredible inhumanity) and the alignments of nations, politics, economies and business endured for a significant time.  Only as the last century drew to a close did change on a significant scale become apparent, driven by exposures of the weaknesses of both capitalism and socialism. The growing awareness and dialogue of populations through technology and the media about the state of the World and what they could to influence it began to influence behaviours at a higher level.  However, even as we thought that a shift in attitudes was happening the ‘old’ ways of national self interest and competition continued unabated through so-called periods of change such as the 1960s.  Even the end of the Cold War only realigned the World to some degree, and despite the changes in international trade, commerce and private rather than state-driven enterprise, old mistrusts remain.   While the empires of the future have yet to fully show their hands, they will be compelled to emerge from a rigid, two-sided and confrontational past to direct and manage the diverse, mobile, connected and aware populations that either they serve, or that serves them.  Of course, recent events have highlighted some regressional thought and attitudes that reach far back into history.

...

http://buckssecurity.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/the-future-of-resilience-starting-in-on-making-sense/

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 13:45

Executives and Risk: A Cautionary Tale

It’s been hard to determine a point of entry on the next book I’m writing.  What I thought initially would be a grand compendium of operational risk scenarios,  a reference manual of sorts for CEOs, has morphed into something more selective: identifying perhaps a dozen of the most costly forms of financial loss that are a direct function a failure to take steps that could mitigate, transfer, or otherwise manage risk.  From this book, CEOs and boards of directors will be able to identify proposals or programs with a high level of risk and determine cosciously at what level they should be involved.

I’ve been somewhat encouraged by reading lately of relevant neuroimaging studies which purport to explain how “the executive brain” works, [1] especially how it works under pressure, making decisions.  In one study by Bain, of 1,001 managers in global companies, [2] only 77% of those surveyed felt their company “chooses the right course of action;” only 68% felt their firm’s speed of decisions matched that of their competitors; and only 76% felt that their firm “executes decisions as intended.” In another study referenced by Blackman, he quotes the director of the research organization called NeuroLeadership Institute, David Rock, who says that “people who are good at strategy are better at sensing or feeling their way through strategies, rather than relying only on logic and being rational.”

...

http://anniesearle.createsend.com/t/ViewEmailArchive/r/9DCD65AEE2769CF02540EF23F30FEDED

Now that computers and the Internet are a regular part of our daily lives, the digital world increasingly contains potential evidence for all types of activity ranging from individual criminal actions to activity that may be relevant to a business litigation or investigation. Forensic investigations seek to uncover this evidence and then perform analysis in order to gain a full understanding of an end user’s activity on a given computing device. In recent years, traditional computer forensics, or “dead-box analysis,” has begun transitioning into “live-box analysis,” meaning more analyses are performed on volatile systems, such as live computer work stations and mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones. Given the growing use of these mobile technologies for professional purposes, understanding the nuances of preserving, extracting and analyzing electronically stored information (ESI) from them is paramount to the success of any such investigation. Additionally, the policies established by the organization and its legal team to protect that data will be critical in defending this recovery moving forward.

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/data-on-the-move-the-evolution-of-mobile-tech-and-compliance/

On May 5, 2014, Target Corporation Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel resigned after having been with the company for 35 years, another casualty of the massive data breach that continues to damage the nation’s third-largest retailer. The data breach already claimed the job of Target Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob, who resigned shortly after the breach had been discovered and disclosed. But both of these high-profile resignations pale in comparison to the impact on Target itself, its business, its profits and its future.

The data breach occurred around November 12, 2013, at which time hackers began to access more than 40 million credit card numbers and 70 million addresses, phone numbers and other personal information. From that time through February 1, 2014, Target spent a whopping $61 million responding to the breach. This total does not include the costs (and potential liability) incurred in the more than 90 lawsuits filed against Target by their customers and banks, and it does not account for the fact that Target’s holiday sales fell by more 46 percent from the same quarter in the previous year due to shaken consumer confidence. Also, the $61 million does not capture the spectacle of Target Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan appearing before the Senate and testifying that Target was “deeply sorry” but that it failed to have responded to multiple intrusion warnings from its software prior to the breach.

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/protecting-yourself-against-data-breach-dont-be-a-target/

Failed mergers and acquisitions can be a real business continuity threat; however better management of M&A information risks can reduce the possibility of things going wrong.

By Charlotte Marshall

We are all creatures of routine and habit; we seek certainty and comfort in the familiar, especially when it comes to work, so the prospect of a company being completely overhauled is a daunting experience for many employees. But that is what happens when one firm acquires another; suddenly, for the acquired firm, everything is changing and fears begin to arise about job security, additional or reduced responsibilities, new relationships between the two firms and different ways of working.

Yet company mergers and acquisitions are a fact of business life as firms seek to grow, expand their portfolio or enter new markets. Over a third of office workers (37 percent) in Europe have been through a company merger or acquisition [1]; and with the European economy recovering, M&A activity is expected to increase significantly this year.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1177.html

There is an interesting article in the latest edition of ‘The Economist’, discussing ‘The Decline of Deterrence’; the contention being that the US’s recent approach to the World and its issues is allowing different and opposing forces to come into play and influence the future.

In terms of the shape of global activity; we are currently in something of a “power hiatus”; with a continuing realignment of focus towards China (at the moment) and perhaps away from what we may consider to be the traditional US dominance of World politics. If we consider the global activity of the US and its change in recent years, there has been a significant change from the “global policing” approach to a more circumspect and perhaps hesitant approach to involvement in the activities of other nations.

And as ‘The Economist’ says: it is perhaps worth questioning the issues related to this-what fills the gap when there is a hiatus such as this? From my point of view, in the Organisational Resilience context, where will this have an effect upon organisational and business capabilities in the short and longer term?

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http://buckssecurity.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/the-future-of-resilience-power-hiatus-or-full-stop/

By Deborah Ritchie

A groundbreaking report on antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance reveals the severity of this -- now very much established -- public health risk. The World Health Organisation's report provides the most comprehensive picture of drug resistance to date, incorporating data from 114 countries. The results are cause for high concern, documenting resistance to antibiotics, especially “last resort” antibiotics, in all regions of the world.

“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” says Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for Health Security.

“Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.”

...

http://www.cirmagazine.com/cir/Major-report-on-antibiotic-resistance-reveals-serious-risks.php

Open source applications and tools certainly are taking a beating lately. Heartbleed sent millions of people into a panic about changing passwords (and based on my Facebook feed and the online forums I follow, panic is the right word to describe it). Now the Covert Redirect bug, a security flaw affecting OAuth and OpenID has popped up.  Both of these are important elements of secure logins to many popular domains, ranging from Google to Facebook to Microsoft.

CSO Online quoted CloudLock's Kevin O’Brien on the issue:

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/lessons-to-be-learned-from-covert-redirect.html

Network World — It's been a month since the Heartbleed Bug set off a stampede to patch software in everything from network gear to security software as it quickly became evident that vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL encryption code had been very widely deployed.

Heartbleed, which would let a savvy attacker capture passwords or digital certificates, for example, came as a shock when the OpenSSL Group disclosed it on April 7 because it impacted an estimated 60% of servers worldwide ... and much more. But has it been the catastrophe that some feared?

So far, the consensus seems to be no, though some think pinning down Heartbleed-based break-ins is not easy. At best, Heartbleed has been a mammoth inconvenience everywhere as passwords and certificates were swapped out in what became a patching marathon around the globe.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/752645/Heartbleed_Was_a_Headache_But_Far_From_Fatal

Three recent studies provide a great reminder of the threats of data breach—and the role workers and IT departments play in either maintaining a company’s defense or letting malware storm the gates.

In its 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon identified nine patterns that were responsible for 92% of the confirmed data breaches in 2013. These include: point of sale intrusions, web application attacks, insider misuse, physical theft/loss, miscellaneous errors, crimeware, card skimmers, denial of service attacks, and cyber-espionage. They have also identified the breakdown of these patterns in various industries, highlighting some of the greatest sources of cyber risk for your business:

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/new-studies-highlight-sources-patterns-of-data-breach-and-how-to-do-better/

A growing number of public companies with complacent SOX programs are facing restatement and penalties from improper disclosures, improper revenue recognition and improper expense recognition. A fear of non-compliance with SOX and COSO 2013 has increased the risk that companies will adopt narrowly focused programs that attempt to mitigate the immediate regulatory compliance risks while failing to address the true intent of these regulations. It is a classic case of complying with the “letter of the law” and not its intent. The solution is for internal audit to lead through risk management assurance.

SOX compliance is now a routine process for most companies. How can we then explain the rapidly growing number of restatements and recognition complaints when companies certify they are in compliance?

I agree with Norman Marks, who believes that “complacency and denial” is being perpetuated by routine and checklist-like reviews.  Norman recently wrote about his favorite role that internal audit (IA) plays in an organization.  He describes that role as a fighter against “complacency and denial” that can be perpetuated by routine and checklist-like COSO [and SOX] reviews where it easy to utter “we have completed our quarterly review of the top risks and believe they are effectively managed.” He compares this delusional form of risk management to an “ostrich sticking his head in the sand while the battle rages around him and saying I looked up an hour ago.” Read Norman’s Blog on CAE Risk Intelligence.

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http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/fight-sox-complacency-to-reduce-your-risk-of-restatement/

Regulatory and legislative change has assumed the prime position as the leading risk for Australian and New Zealand businesses in 2013/2014, followed by concern regarding deteriorating local economic conditions and the impact of people risk.

These are the major findings of Aon’s 12th annual Australasian Risk Survey, which provides a snapshot of the risk management practices of 380 businesses operating in 15 key industry sectors, including 23 of the ASX top 100 Australian companies.

According to the survey, the top ten risks to Australian and New Zealand businesses are:

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07199.html

The number seven crops up in many contexts: the Seven Wonders of the World, the seven dwarfs, and now the seven levels of cyber security. Let’s start with the different levels of threats posed by hackers. In order of increasing severity, we have: script kiddies (hacking for fun); the hacking group (often the first level of threat for SMBs); hacktivists (politically/socially motivated); black hat professionals (expert coders); organised cyber-criminals; nation states (NSA-style); and finally, the automated malicious attack tools that can infect huge numbers of organisations. With these seven levels of threats, what are the solutions?

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/is-seven-the-magic-number-for-it-security/

Today we published a new Forrester Wave: Social Risk & Compliance (SRC) Solutions, Q2 2014. This report evaluates 10 vendors emerging to help organizations enable companywide use of social media while providing the necessary controls and oversight to mitigate associated risks and enforce compliance.

Why now

Use of social media today is rampant.

It’s no longer just your marketing team that uses social media for business purposes. Employees across the entire organization use social media for personal and professional reasons, leveraging social to drive real business for your company. The opportunities to enhance your brand, deepen customer relationships, and glean new customer insights are all too valuable to ignore -- but the risks are real too.

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http://blogs.forrester.com/nick_hayes/14-05-07-announcing_the_social_risk_compliance_src_solutions_wave

Thursday, 08 May 2014 16:06

What if...?

Keynote speaker and facilitator at this year’s BCI Executive Forum, Dr James Bellini sets the scene and identifies some of the major issues that will face business continuity professionals in the years ahead:

As a futurologist of many years’ standing I am regularly confronted with requests to ‘predict’ the outcome of some activity or development in the world of tomorrow. On occasion I’m even asked the name of the winner of an important upcoming horse race, or the score line of a major soccer match a few weeks hence. If only my crystal ball were that magical ... but it also reveals a basic misunderstanding of what futurology is all about.

I see my task as threefold: to apply a reality check on popular perceptions of the world around us, to create a framework for examining how ‘the future’ might unfold and to identify one or two possible future events or issues that would, if they actually occurred, pose very serious challenges for either business, government or the wider society – or all of these together.

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http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2014/05/what-if.html

Generally speaking, I think internal auditors do a good job of assessing risks and developing risk-based audit plans. But there is always a danger that unfamiliar risks may be overlooked or that rapidly emerging risks will render even the best-crafted audit plans obsolete. If you typically undertake risk assessments only once or twice a year, you may not have incorporated several risks that have suddenly burst onto the radar of management or the Board of your organization.

Here are some areas that should be in our risk crosshairs in 2014:

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/5-risks-that-should-be-on-the-internal-audit-radar-now/

A new study, “The Valuation Implications of Enterprise Risk Management Maturity,” released by the Journal of Risk and Insurance, has found that organizations exhibiting mature risk management practices realize a value growth potential of up to 25%.

The survey is the first wholly independent research project that confirms the value connection of mature enterprise risk management practices in organizations. Using data from the RIMS Risk Maturity Model (RMM) gathered from 2006 to 2011, Mark Farrell, the paper’s author and the actuarial science and risk management program directorat Queens University Management School of Belfast (QUMS) and Dr. Ronan Gallagher of the University of Edinburgh Business School, provided evidence through this research that firms that have reached mature levels of enterprise risk management qualities exhibit a higher firm value. The broad data set encompassed publicly-traded organizations from a variety of industries. Nearly half the data tabulated by the researchers were submitted by RIMS members.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/strong-erm-program-gives-companies-higher-market-value/

The Ponemon Institute has published its ninth annual Cost of Data Breach Study, which was sponsored by IBM.

According to the benchmark study of 314 companies spanning 10 countries, the average consolidated total cost of a data breach increased 15 percent in the last year to $3.5 million. The study also found that the cost incurred for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information increased more than nine percent to a consolidated average of $145.

Interestingly, the research was able to provide quantified evidence for the advantages of linking information security management and business continuity management programs, finding that the involvement of business continuity management reduced the cost of a data breach by an average of almost $9 per record.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07192.html

On May 5, 2014, Target announced the resignation of its CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, in large part because of the massive and embarrassing customer data breach that occurred just before the 2013 U.S. holiday season kicked into high gear. After a security breach or incident, the CISO (or whoever is in charge of security) or the CIO, or both, are usually axed. Someone’s head has to roll. But the resignation of the CEO is unusual, and I believe this marks an important turning point in the visibility, prioritization, importance, and funding of information security. It’s an indication of just how much:

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http://blogs.forrester.com/stephanie_balaouras/14-05-05-if_you_are_ceo_of_a_consumer_organization_you_have_a_new_job_responsibility_security

Small and medium sized business (SMBs) in the UK are missing out on possible insurance deals that could be available to them if only they had a business continuity plan in place. This is according to a survey conducted by Cloud Direct of more than 500 UK SMBs.

The survey of 558 business and IT decision-makers revealed that 54% of respondents were unaware there were insurance benefits to having a business continuity plan, yet the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba) has long committed to supporting business resilience measures with reduced insurance premiums and excesses. To promote this stance in 2012, they conducted a joint survey with the Cabinet Office, which found that 83% of insurers questioned would give a discount or improve terms to a business interruption policy if a business continuity plan were in place.

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http://www.thebci.org/index.php/about/news-room#/news/smbs-missing-out-on-insurance-perks-due-to-no-business-continuity-planning-83651?utm_source=rss

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Many business activities and the resources that support them can be disrupted by severe weather. In fact, a survey by the Chartered Management Institute, in association with the BCI, BSI and the Cabinet Office, found that 54% of businesses reported being disrupted by severe weather in 2012, making it the number one cause of business disruption for the fourth year running. Most recently the winter of 2013/14 has been reported as the wettest winter in England and Wales since records began with heavy rainfall and storms causing widespread flooding and disruption.

It is not possible to say that climate change alone is causing the increase in these disruptive events. Other changes are putting more value at risk, such as increasingly lean and complex supply chains and development in vulnerable locations. However, what is clear is that both the frequency of severe weather events and the value at risk are increasing. This has implications for business continuity and broader business objectives.

Organizations need to be prepared for severe weather regardless of the cause. This can involve making physical, operational or strategic changes and includes actions that tackle the likelihood of damage or disruption as well as those aimed at managing its impacts. It can include preparing for opportunities as well as threats.

In partnership with BSI, the Environment Agency has developed a Smart Guide on Adapting to Climate Change using a business continuity management system. Aimed at BC professionals, the guide is freely available and is intended to help:

  • Understand how climate change is influencing their risks
  • Take the lead on managing such risks
  • Be confident that their BCMS will remain effective during disruptive events
  • Make the case for additional resources to implement BC or adaptation measures
  • Communicate effectively about risk management from severe weather and the approach to climate change adaptation both internally and externally.

The Smart Guide can be downloaded for free from here.

Being able to show a valid certificate for business continuity management is becoming increasingly important. Firstly, you can expect to parlay your hard-won certificate into financial advantage for your company in several ways. Secondly, many customer organisations also now insist that you demonstrate business continuity certification as a condition for doing business. The BS 25999-2 standard has been a popular benchmark of excellence in this area. However, this standard has now been superseded by ISO 22301:2012. If you currently hold BS 25999-2 certification, the BSI (British Standards Institution) states it will expire by 31st of May, 2014. The solution is to recertify under ISO 22301:2012. What does that mean in terms of impact?

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/bs-25999-2-to-iso-22301-will-your-business-continuity-certification-still-be-valid/

Thursday, 24 April 2014 17:00

FERMA launches 2014 benchmarking survey

By staff reporter

The Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) has launched its 2014 Benchmarking Survey of European risk and insurance management, in association with its national association members in 20 European countries.

The FERMA Benchmarking Survey, which takes place every other year, is among the widest expression of the views of risk and insurance managers across Europe with more than 800 responses in 2012. An independent research company, Toluna, will collect the responses and compile the results.

To create the 2014 Benchmarking Survey, FERMA worked extensively with its member associations plus five commercial partners: AXA Corporate Solutions, EY, Marsh, XL Group and Zurich. Based on this collaboration, the survey will ask risk and insurance managers for their views on:

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http://www.cirmagazine.com/cir/FERMA-launches-2014-benchmarking-survey.php

By staff reporter

An investment in safety and a proactive risk management strategy can provide real returns in terms of fewer accidents, lower costs, higher quality and a stronger reputation. These are among the findings of a new paper released by ACE Group that explores strategies for managing risk in the construction industry. The report reviews the importance of building a strong safety culture, and outlines the components of an effective construction risk management programme.

Building an Effective Strategy for Managing Construction Risk explains the need for a robust risk management strategy administered by safety and risk management experts who have a deep understanding of construction risk.

...

http://www.cirmagazine.com/cir/New-report-explores-best-practices-for-managing-construction-risk.php

Thursday, 24 April 2014 16:58

BCI launch new 2020 Group

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The first meeting of the Business Continuity Institute's new 2020 Group was held on the 22nd April at Credit Suisse's offices in Canary Wharf in London. The 2020 Group is a new Think Tank set up by the BCI to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Institute and to provide thought leadership to the industry as it prepares to face the challenges of the future.

Chaired by Lyndon Bird FBCI, the BCI’s Technical Director, and made up of senior figures from the industry, the purpose of the 2020 Group is to debate key issues relating to business continuity under the wider umbrella of resilience and produce high quality publications or academic journal articles that will provide value to those working within the industry. The 2020 Group will provide visionary insight into challenges facing business continuity practitioners, how the discipline is positioned in the risk landscape, and examine emerging trends.

In order to provide focus to the work of the group, it was decided to concentrate on trying to answer the question "What will BCM look like in 2020?" This question complements this year’s BCI Executive Forum in Amsterdam where discussion will centre on possible future business, political and cultural changes that will impact BCM as a discipline.

Speaking at the launch of the group, Lyndon Bird commented: "There is a need to think about the direction business continuity is taking. It may be the BCI's 20th anniversary, but instead of just celebrating the past, we thought it more appropriate to focus on the future and take stock of what is happening in an evolving discipline."

http://www.thebci.org/index.php/about/news-room#/news/bci-launch-new-2020-group-82891

Techworld — The number of cyberattacks directed at cloud infrastructure is still below that experienced by on-premises data centres but will probably reach parity at some point, an analysis by security-as-a-service provider Alert Logic has suggested.

The firm's Cloud Security Report [reg required] looked at 232,364 verified security incidents at 2,212 organizations in North America and Western Europe over a 6-month period last year using the firm's own intrusion system, finding a predictable rise in attacks across all environments.

The top attack types for cloud hosting providers (CHPs), which formed 80 percent of the sample, centred on brute force attacks on credentials and scans for vulnerable software, both seen by seen by 44 percent of its customers. This find is significant because for the first time the numbers roughly match the percentage of customers reporting such incidents in on on-premises data centres.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751924/Criminals_Increasingly_Attack_Cloud_Providers

The answer is clear, says the Linux fan. The Linux operating system has proven its dependability time and time again. If NASA uses Linux for the International Space Station, and Oracle and IBM make it a strategic plank in their systems platform, organisations everywhere can also rely on this open system for day-in, day-out business continuity. Not so fast, says the Microsoft Windows Server aficionado. Not only has the latest version, Windows Server 2012, made even bigger strides towards robust, continuous operation, but you’re also forgetting about several other BC factors that are just as important.

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/is-a-windows-or-linux-server-better-for-business-continuity/

Countless hours and thousands of words have been spent extolling the need to get Senior Management buy-in for Business Continuity – an admirable effort.  Yet so little has been written about capturing the attention of BCM’s largest audience – line managers.  We shouldn’t assume that the threat of punishment (the ‘stick’) will suffice to gain their cooperation; instead we ought to dangle incentives (the ‘carrot’).  And the most valuable of these incentives is Knowledge Capture.

The old adage “You don’t miss your water ‘til your well runs dry” is applicable to Business Continuity Planning.

Documenting your Business Continuity strategies and alternatives presents a great opportunity to capture knowledge that exists in your organization, but may not be widely known (or may be hidden).

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http://ebrp.net/knowledge-capture-gain-more-valued-from-bcm-planning/

Most everyone who wants to be on the cloud has done so by now, in one form or another. In fact, many organizations that have yet to embrace the technology formally may be surprised to learn that their employees are already doing so informally.

But even among those with cloud policies in place, it is surprising to leading cloud experts how flimsy many of them are. To be sure, most organizations have detailed notions as to how to get on the cloud via virtualization and logical abstraction, but thought is rarely given to what to do with the cloud once it is established.

Author and technology analyst David Linthicum recently noted that while most enterprises are adept at deploying new technology, there is often a lack of planning as to how it can be utilized to produce the maximum benefit. For example, few strategies include items like governance for either services or resources. This is a biggie because without governance, you merely have another infrastructure stack to deal with rather than a cohesive data environment. Operations planning is also needed, unless you want your new cloud environment to suffer a “slow but sure death.”\

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/youre-on-the-cloud-but-do-you-have-a-plan.html

Thursday, 24 April 2014 14:56

New maritime risk rating system launched

By Deborah Ritchie

A new maritime risk rating system has been launched. The International Maritime Risk Rating Agency (IMRRA) was founded with the support of a number of major oil companies in their attempts to unify areas of marine risk assessment and management, making them more transparent and comprehensive. The commercial shipping industry transports more than 90% of the world’s cargo, and with this new system, IMRRA believes it can reflect unprecedented transparency in marine risk.

The new site has gone public with its oil tanker risk rating system, employing numerous major industry databases that are then compiled and refined into one field for further analysis and calculations before being assessed against a Risk Criteria Matrix. Key factors related to tanker safety are pinpointed, assessed and assigned numerical weighting values.

London-based IMRRA provides information on almost every tanker vessel currently operating in the oil shipping industry, allowing direct comparison with aggregated data, industry standards and the average risk calculation to provide an accurate overall score of any given vessel’s risks.

...

http://www.cirmagazine.com/cir/New-maritime-risk-rating-system-launched.php

Andrew Griffin details six principles for ensuring that your organization is truly crisis ready.

Most of the work done in the name of crisis management is in fact crisis preparedness. “Are you ready to face the worst?” is a question that boards ask, regulators ask, governments ask and investors ask. They want to know that an organization and its senior management are in an advanced state of crisis preparedness. This article looks at how an organization can become ‘crisis ready’.

1. Preparing policy

Principle: Crisis management is a distinct component of an organization’s wider resilience framework.

Crisis management policy should explain how the organization thinks about and prepares for crises as a distinct component of a wider resilience framework.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1172.html

By Dr. Jim Kennedy, NMCE, CRISC, CEH, CHS-IV, MRP, CBRM

Based on all of the diligent work of IT and information security organizations corporations and government agencies are beginning to see real progress on protecting their operations against external threats. However, the bad news is that we are being faced with a more difficult challenge of protecting our information assets from insider threats.

Insider attacks (data leakage, intellectual property theft, and data corruption and/or loss) account for as much as 80 percent of all computer and Internet related incidents and crimes. 70 percent of corporate attacks causing at least $20,000 of damage and threats that could have impact on national security are the direct result of malicious trusted insiders.

In fact, the US Secret Service - National Threat Center has indicated that: “The greatest information security threat facing your organization is in your office right now. It has the ability to bypass the physical and logical controls you have put into place to protect the perimeter of your network and has already obtained credentials to access a significant portion of your infrastructure.”

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1171.html

By Charlie Maclean-Bristol, MBCI, FEPS.

Throughout Scotland, at the moment, all conversations seem to quite quickly move on to the topic of the independence debate. I was sitting in the lounge bar of the Coll Hotel, on the Island of Coll, and could hear a lively debate going on in the public bar. It was a measured conversation and good points were being made on both sides. Most people I know seem to have made up their mind, so when I hear the issue being discussed it is usually just a rundown of the latest news and developments.

In terms of the debate within businesses there is a rather different attitude. Many public sector organizations have been told they are not allowed to talk about independence at all. Other organizations are keeping their head down, saying nothing publicly as they know they don’t want to be seen to belong to either camp, for fear the vote goes the wrong way and then there is a backlash against those who spoke out. For me it seems that only the large companies, such as Standard Life and Shell, that Scotland needs as much as they need Scotland, have the luxury of making their feelings on independence clear.

So what has Scottish independence got to do with business continuity?

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1173.html

The de Blasio administration has released a comprehensive diagnostic report on New York’s response to Hurricane Sandy, including an extensive set of recommendations to provide financial relief to homeowners and businesses and engage communities directly in the rebuilding process.

The report represents a major overhaul of currently active recovery programs—including expediting the process for families and businesses currently rebuilding and expanding eligibility for immediate relief; using the rebuilding and recovery process to expand economic opportunity and create job pathways for more New Yorkers; and improving coordination within the city and across levels of government. The report also provides details on the city’s infrastructure-related efforts to rebuild a stronger, more resilient New York to protect against future extreme weather and climate change.

The report follows a number of improvements made since January to cut red tape.

The full report is available here (PDF).

As businesses increasingly rely on external parties for critical services, they become more vulnerable to business interruptions. This is especially true when such businesses know little about their third party vendors' resiliency and recovery capabilities, according to a new PwC US whitepaper, which examines the effects that vendor resiliency, or lack thereof, can have on an organization's business continuity strategy.

Entitled, ‘Business continuity beyond company walls: When a crisis hits, will your vendors' resiliency match your own?’, the PwC report also notes that risk becomes greater when the organization has a limited understanding of its own business interruption threats, resiliency status and recovery capabilities and strategies.

"In a world of ever increasing dependence on third party vendors, you need to know if you can count on the other party when a crisis strikes," said Phil Samson, principal in PwC's Risk Assurance practice and the firm's Business Continuity Management services leader. "It's all about transparency - asking the right questions and pushing the right levers to determine whether your vendors will be able to weather a serious business interruption and quickly resume business as usual. The more you know about your own needs, your vendor's capabilities, and the robustness of your resiliency plans, the more comfort you'll have about staying on track toward your long-term strategic and operational goals even when faced with adverse developments."

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07169.html

Last week, news about yet another data breach at major retail outlets surfaced. As Krebs on Security reported, Michaels Stores Inc., which includes Michaels Arts and Crafts and Aaron Brothers stores, admitted that its stores suffered two different eight-month-long breaches over the past year. Approximately three million credit card numbers were compromised in these attacks.

These breaches are a big deal—especially as seen in conjunction with other high-profile retail breaches. Millions of consumers have been victimized in these security breakdowns, at no fault of their own.

It is no wonder that a new survey from research firm GfK found that an overwhelming majority of consumers, 88 percent, voiced concerns over the privacy of their information and data. According to eSecurity Planet:

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/consumers-uneasy-about-privacy-as-more-companies-report-data-breaches.html

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 15:40

The Green Data Center in the Real World

In an ideal world, all energy would be free, data resources would be unlimited, and every day would be Christmas, Easter and your birthday rolled into one.

But as my grandma always told me, “this ain’t a perfect world, kid.” As you can probably guess, grandma wasn’t one of those sweet, little old ladies who sat in rocking chairs all day knitting sweaters.

Enterprise executives, and the environmental lobbies that are prodding them, need to get real about two key aspects of the burgeoning “green data center” movement. The first is that no matter how often you place the word “free” in front of an eco-friendly endeavor – free heat, free cooling, free power – none of it is truly free. There is both a financial and environmental cost to everything we do.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-green-data-center-in-the-real-world.html

Monday, 21 April 2014 13:41

For your bookshelf

n the coming months there will be some new books from us and our alumni which aim to contribute to areas of organisational resilience and assist in knowledge development; perhaps even encourage some debate:

‘In Hindsight’, edited by Robert Clark, is a collection of case-study based analyses related to continuity and organisational resilience carried out by an international cohort of our postgraduates with backgrounds and experience in multiple sectors

...

http://buckssecurity.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/for-your-bookshelf/

Enterprises today are still choosing to outsource many IT functions despite the sometimes negative views of the practice. For many businesses, the only way to affordably provide skilled IT services is to sign on with an outsourcing company. If your company is considering the option of outsourcing some of its IT processes, management should create a list of areas of concern and go through each scenario prior to signing on the dotted line with an outsourcer.

The foremost concern for the enterprise should, of course, be security and privacy. How would email, smartphones, instant messaging, VPNs, and even documents and paperwork be affected by outsourcing some IT services to a company overseas? Are your networks ready to handle such risk? Are proper governance and procedural documentation in place to spell out what is and is not allowed and how outsourcing issues will be handled?

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-tools/before-you-outsource-consider-risks-and-security.html

Among the previous articles you’ve read in our blog, you may have noticed that besides discussing how good business continuity management can save organisations from disaster, we also like to point out where it can also simply save you money. Here’s one of those cases. Satellite communications may intuitively seem to be more expensive than landline links. It’s easy to assume that with project and launch costs running into astronomical amounts, it won’t necessarily be the cheapest option for making phone calls or network connections. But is that really the case?

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/smart-satellite-communications-and-business-continuity-benefit/

CSO — As "bring your own device" (BYOD) reshapes the way organizations handle technology, how do we handle the uncertainty of legal liability and security concerns?

The answer lies in considering how BYOD changes the entire organization. Change is scary. More so when the impacts of the change, including legal liabilities, are unclear and relatively untested.

Change is also an opportunity. Employees are excited about BYOD and the chance to use devices they prefer. This gives security an opportunity to support the business, enable individuals, and improve security.

To ensure BYOD increases value while also increasing security requires different thinking and an approach that brings people together in a series of conversations.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751585/3_Ways_the_Right_Conversation_can_Reduce_BYOD_Legal_Liability

Thursday, 17 April 2014 13:04

A New Era for Data Center Hardware

The enterprise industry is changing, and with it the data center itself. Virtualization, software-defined infrastructure and cloud computing are all changing the equation that organizations use to build and finance their data support capabilities, which has led many pundits to predict the end of the data center as we know it.

And perhaps it’s true, as I mentioned a few days ago, that we are on the verge of utility-style virtual data environments, but the bottom line is that no matter how services and applications are delivered, they have to reside on physical infrastructure somewhere. So even if enterprises of all stripes start shedding their local data centers for on-demand virtual infrastructure, it’s a safe bet that demand for enterprise-class hardware and middleware will remain vibrant for some time.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/a-new-era-for-data-center-hardware.html

CHICAGO – Spring in the Midwest brings the potential for severe weather, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging everyone to take steps now to ensure your family is prepared. Don’t forget to consider the safety of your finances before a severe storm threatensyour area.

“Don’t hinder your recovery if disaster strikes. Take the time now to ensure criticaldocuments are safely stored, valuables are adequately insured, and potential spending needs are planned for,” said Andrew Velasquez III, regional administrator, FEMA Region V.

Rememberthese three steps: Identify, Enroll & Plan.

1. Identify your important documents and place them in a safe space: You can use FEMA’s Safeguarding Your Valuables activity and Emergency Financial First Aid Kit to help get you started.

• Scan important records such as medical records and financial documents, and save the files on disk or flash drives. Password-protect the data you have stored and keep the backup records in a safe deposit box or other off-site location.

• If you have no way to scan/copy records, store them in a flood and fireproof home safe or a safe deposit box. Avoid storing on the floor of a basement, especially if it is prone to flooding.

• Include any records that you may need immediately, such as medical records or medical contact information, in your disaster kit.

2. Enroll in online banking, direct deposit and/or Go Direct to minimize disruptions to receiving paychecks or any government benefits you may receive.

• Consider keeping a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks on hand in case ATMs or credit cards are not working.

3. Plan ahead of time to recover by considering your post-disaster needs and preparing for them now.

• Make a record of your personal property for insurance purposes, and if possible, take photos or a video of your home. Consider keeping a copy on a CD or flash drive in your disaster kit, so that you can provide it to your insurance company following a loss.

• Ensure you’re adequately insured. Contact your insurance agent to review your insurance coverage so your home is financially protected.

• Identify potential spending needs now, and plan for ways to meet those needs.

• Store contact information for all of your financial institutions; after a disaster contact your credit card company, your mortgage lender, and other creditors to let them know about your situation.

For valuable resources on financial readiness before a disaster, visit www.ready.gov/financialpreparedness. For even more readiness information follow FEMA Region V at twitter.com/femaregion5 and facebook.com/fema. Individuals can always find valuable severe weather preparedness information at www.ready.gov/severe-weatheror download the free FEMA app, available for Android, Apple or Blackberry devices.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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

Thursday, 17 April 2014 13:02

Lessons Learned from Winter’s Wrath

What a winter. As the “polar vortex” pushed cold weather from the arctic all the way to the deep south in the United States, severe snow storms and frigid temperature cost the American economy billions. While there have been obvious physical losses, such as roof collapses and endless potholes to repair, three less evident balance sheet exposures have wreaked havoc across a broad swath of industries. People are paying attention to the economic impact of the weather (witness #frozenomics on Twitter, a term coined by CNBC).  Here are some of the weather-related exposures we are watching:

  1. Event cancellations. This season’s major snowstorms and unrelenting freeze forced the cancellation of countless events, from conferences, to sporting events. Event hosts have suffered not only lost revenue from attendees, they forfeited the merchandise sales and “sunken costs” – from signage to non-refundable food and beverage deposits -of their suddenly defunct events. Even those that staged events far from the possibility of snowflakes felt the fallout, as airlines cancelled flights in record numbers. (Some 13,500 flights were cancelled in one week in February alone. ) In many cases, attendees just could not make the trip, as winter weather halted transport to even sunny locales.

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/lessons-learned-from-winters-wrath/

CIO — The amount of electronic information (e.g., documents, images, emails, videos) organizations produce is staggering. Storing all your digital data in your data center can be expensive. That's why cloud storage -- which often comes at a fraction of the cost of storing the information on-premises -- has become increasingly popular.

But before you think of storage in the cloud, you need to be sure to clearly identify your needs, says Chris Poelker, vice president, Enterprise Solutions, FalconStor Software, a provider of data protection, virtualization, backup, disaster-recovery and deduplication services. "Is high performance [and availability] important, or are you just looking to archive data?"

You should also do some research before choosing where to store your digital data, as not all cloud storage vendors (and service level agreements, or SLAs) are the same.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751584/9_Things_You_Need_to_Know_Before_You_Store_Data_in_the_Cloud

Richard Chambers, CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA, shares his personal reflections and insights on the internal audit profession.  

Generally speaking, I think internal auditors do a good job of assessing risks and developing risk-based audit plans. But there is always a danger that unfamiliar risks may be overlooked or that rapidly emerging risks will render even the best crafted audit plans obsolete. If you typically undertake risk assessments only once or twice a year, you may not have incorporated several risks that have suddenly burst onto the radar of management or the board of your organization.

Here are some areas that should be in our risk crosshairs in 2014:

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http://www.theiia.org/blogs/chambers/index.cfm/post/5%20Risks%20That%20Should%20Be%20On%20the%20Internal%20Audit%20Radar%20-%20Now!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 14:38

Big Data Security Context

CSO — I just finished up a lengthy tour through Latin America and Asia, as described in many of my latest blogs. Most recently I was in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). I had the opportunity to work with various government agencies, organizations within critical infrastructure and general enterprise businesses across ANZ. Their primary topic of interest: big data. More specifically, they were interested in determining what needs to be part of a successful big data security strategy.

Years ago some organizations throughout ANZ viewed cyber security in the same way they viewed physical security in response to nation-state threats. Because ANZ has a land and sea gap physically separating them from other countries, there was a feeling of separation and protection from the nefarious activities that might be happening around the world. Of course others realized, as almost all do today, that cyber attacks have grater range than a jet fighter or ICBM regardless of whether they're perpetrated by nation-states, cyber criminals or activists. To address this issue, organizations are trying to optimize their use of big data security by letting the machines do the heavy lifting and allowing the humans to manage by exception.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751546/Big_Data_Security_Context

Everyone makes mistakes, but for social media teams, one wrong click can mean catastrophe. @USAirways experienced this yesterday when it responded to a customer complaint on Twitter with a pornographic image, quickly escalating into every social media manager’s worst nightmare.

Not only is this one of the most obscene social media #fails to date, but the marketers operating the airline’s Twitter handle left the post online for close to an hour. In the age of social media, it might as well have remained up there for a decade. Regardless of how or why this happened, this event immediately paints a picture of incompetence at US Airways, as well as the newly merged American Airlines brand.

It also indicates a lack of effective oversight and governance.

While details are still emerging, initial reports indicate that human error was the cause of the errant US Airways tweet, which likely means it was a copy and paste mistake or the image was saved incorrectly and selected from the wrong stream. In any case, basic controls could have prevented this brand disaster:

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http://blogs.forrester.com/nick_hayes/14-04-15-key_lesson_from_the_us_airways_fail_marketers_need_help_managing_risk

When it comes to IT security, the complexity of managing all the technologies involved often seems like a clear-cut case of insult being continuously added to injury.

Looking to address that complexity issue, Trend Micro today announced an upgrade to the Trend Micro Complete User Protection suite of endpoint security software that makes it much easier to both deploy a mix of IT security technologies as well as acquire them in the age of the cloud.

Confronted with a dizzying array of security products in and out of the cloud, Eric Skinner, vice president of solutions marketing for Trend Micro, concedes it’s very likely that customers are unprotected simply because they failed to acquire the right type of security product to address a particular class of known threats. The primary reason for that failure, says Skinner, is often the complex line card of products that security vendors present to customers. Presented with a raft of options and a limited budget, customers often wind up making a best guess as to which endpoint software to deploy.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/trend-micro-reduces-endpoint-security-complexity.html

With so many data centers making up the firmament of the cloud these days, it’s only natural that a pantheon of service providers would emerge to offer disaster recovery as a cloud service.

The latest cloud service provider to join the list of vendors offering such services is VMware, which today is unfurling the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service Disaster Recovery offering as part of its public cloud service.

Angelos Kottas, director of product marketing for the VMware Hybrid Cloud unit, says the VMware disaster recovery service is designed to replicate virtual machines over a wide area network every 15 minutes. Recovery point objectives (RPOs) for the service can be set for anywhere between 15 minutes to 24 hours.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/vmware-leverages-the-cloud-to-provide-disaster-recovery-service.html

It is hard to imagine any people, collectively, being better prepared for earthquakes than the Japanese. Their country is one long seismic zone, which at any moment could, literally, rock and roll. Every Sept. 1, across the archipelago, Japanese engage in exercises devoted to disaster awareness: what to do should the worst happen. The occasion resonates with history. On that date in 1923, the Great Kanto earthquake devastated Tokyo and nearby Yokohama, unleashing fire and fury that left more than 100,000 people dead. After that, Japan resolved that it would prepare for whatever cataclysm nature might throw at it.

And yet.

When a huge earthquake struck Kobe in southern Japan in January 1995, killing more than 6,400, the national government and local officials stood accused of foot-dragging — a slow response that, among other failings, cost some people their lives and left as many as 300,000 others out in the cold, homeless for far too long. Comparable indictments of the authorities were heard in 2011 after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, which overwhelmed parts of northeastern Japan and created the enduring nuclear nightmare at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/us/promises-of-preparedness-followed-devastating-earthquakes-and-yet.html

The MSc Organisational Resilience (OR) at Buckinghamshire New University is loading up with students very rapidly.  The MSc OR is designed to meet the requirements of business, public and private sectors globally and the professionals who are either currently employed in its disciplines or who seek to develop advanced capability.  Our approach has been to design and deliver an accessible postgraduate programme that reflects sector currency and assists in the drive towards further professionalism and research capabilities.  This, we believe, is crucial to developing fluency what is becoming recognised as a coherent, rather than distinct and completely separable, group of linked subjects.  In this programme; the development of mastery in understanding of these links, in their applicability to organisations and business, and the high-level knowledge, confidence and capability necessary to be fully effective as an OR professional are considered to be essential and explicit educational outcomes.

To support and as an adjunct to these requirements, the MSc OR is also designed to meet the needs of students who are, or who aspire to be, employed as managers and as sector influencers in the wide subject area of OR.  There are many currently working in the sector that have long-term experience and are seeking validation and evidence of this through the achievement of postgraduate qualification. In particular, applied postgraduate programmes and awards are considered to be the most desirable and required awards by companies and employers.  Industry also requires, because of the growing inter-relationship and blurred boundaries between the various elements, and the constant development of new risks and the need to mitigate them; the development of organisational and individual capability and knowledge across a range of contributing areas.   Therefore, this programme is designed to educate those with a specialist interest in the following areas and sub-disciplines:

...

http://buckssecurity.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/msc-organisational-resilience-loading-up/

CIO — It's hard to resist the sparkly nirvana that big data, leveraged appropriately, promises to those who choose to embrace it. You can transform your business, become more relevant to your customers, increase your profits and target efficiencies in your market all by simply taking a look at the data you probably already have in your possession but have been ignoring due to a lack of qualified talent to glean value from it.

Enter the data scientist — arguably one of the hottest jobs on the market. The perfect candidate is a numbers whiz and savant at office politics who plays statistical computing languages like a skilled pianist. But it can be hard to translate that ideal into an actionable job description and screening criteria.

This article explains several virtues to look for when identifying suitable candidates for an open data scientist position on your team. It also notes some market dynamics when it comes to establishing compensation packages for data scientists.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751478/4_Qualities_to_Look_for_in_a_Data_Scientist

Computerworld — The IT response to Heartbleed is almost as scary as the hole itself. Patching it, installing new certificates and then changing all passwords is fine as far as it goes, but a critical follow-up step is missing. We have to fundamentally rethink how the security of mission-critical software is handled.

Viewed properly, Heartbleed is a gift to IT: an urgent wake-up call to fundamental problems with how Internet security is addressed. If the call is heeded, we could see major improvements. If the flaw is just patched and then ignored, we're doomed. (I think we've all been doomed for years, but now I have more proof.)

Let's start with how Heartbleed happened. It was apparently created accidentally two years ago by German software developer Robin Seggelmann. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Seggelmann said, "I was working on improving OpenSSL and submitted numerous bug fixes and added new features. In one of the new features, unfortunately, I missed validating a variable containing a length."

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751504/With_Heartbleed_IT_Leaders_Are_Missing_the_Point

So what will you choose: public cloud, private cloud – or perhaps a solution in between? The flexibility and scalability of the cloud have also made it well suited to partial use, namely the hybrid cloud solution. Those who can’t quite make up their mind can have as much or as little of the cloud as suits them. However, it’s better still to approach this resource with a clear IT strategy in mind and to make a hybrid cloud solution a deliberate choice, rather than a vague default. Here are two possibilities that could drive a hybrid cloud decision.

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/successfully-sitting-on-the-fence-with-hybrid-cloud/

IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau) — Canada's tax authority and a popular British parenting website both lost user data after attackers exploited the Heartbleed SSL vulnerability, they said Monday.

The admissions are thought to be the first from websites that confirm data loss as a result of Heartbleed, which was first publicized last Tuesday. The flaw existed in Open SSL, a cryptographic library used by thousands of websites to enableA encryption, and was quickly labeled one of the most serious security vulnerabilities in years.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) blocked public access to its online services last Tuesday in reaction to the announcement, but that wasn't fast enough to stop attackers from stealing information, it said on its website.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751475/First_sites_admit_data_loss_through_Heartbleed_attacks

IDG News Service (Washington, D.C., Bureau) — More U.S. Internet users report they have been victims of data breach, while 80 percent want additional restrictions against sharing of online data, according to two surveys released Monday.

While nearly half of all U.S. Internet users avoid at least one type of online service because of privacy concerns, according to a survey by marketing research firm GfK, 18 percent reported as of January that important personal information was stolen from them online, a poll from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found. That's an increase from 11 percent last July.

"As online Americans have become ever more engaged with online life, their concerns about the amount of personal information available about them online have shifted as well," Mary Madden, a senior researcher at Pew, wrote in a blog post. "When we look at how broad measures of concern among adults have changed over the past five years, we find that internet users have become more worried about the amount of personal information available about them online."

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http://www.cio.com/article/751473/Data_Breaches_Nail_More_US_Internet_Users_Regulation_Support_Rises

“We don’t need no education . . .”

I couldn’t help but think of that line from a Pink Floyd song when I saw the headline on an eSecurity Planet article, “Majority of Employees Don’t Receive Security Awareness Training.”

The article goes on to report on a study by Enterprise Management Associates called Security Awareness Training: It's Not Just for Compliance. The study interviewed 600 people at companies of all sizes, from the very small to the very large, and what it found was that more than half of employees not working in IT or security receive no security awareness training. However, business size did make a difference – midsize businesses fared the worst when it comes to security education.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/lack-of-security-awareness-training-puts-data-and-networks-at-risk.html

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 14:11

Is the Virtual Data Center Inevitable?

Given the state of virtual and cloud-based infrastructure, it’s almost impossible not to think about end-to-end data environments residing in abstract software layers atop physical infrastructure.

But is the virtual data center (VDC) really in the cards? And if so, does it mean all data environments will soon gravitate toward these ethereal constructs, or will there still be use cases for traditional, on-premises infrastructure?

Undoubtedly, a fully virtualized data operation offers many advantages. Aside from the lower capital and operating costs, it will be much easier to support mobile communications, collaboration, social networking and many of the other trends that are driving the knowledge workforce to new levels of productivity.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/is-the-virtual-data-center-inevitable.html

I saw an encouraging sign the other day in a Tech Target 2014 Market Intelligence report.  It provided a list of the top IT projects for this year based on a survey of IT professionals.  Number one of the list was server virtualization.  And number two?  Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR).

That’s big news for us at the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council.  It’s our mission to raise awareness of the need for BC/DR planning and help IT professionals to benchmark their current DR practices and implement ways to improve DR planning and recovery in the event of an outage or disaster.

So, given the results of the Tech Target report, you need to ask yourself where BD/DR falls on your list of priorities this year.  Maybe you’ve got a formal plan and a budget for BC/DR but many companies still do not.  That doesn’t mean you can’t start to develop and/or improve your business continuity strategy today.

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http://drbenchmark.org/where-is-bcdr-on-your-list-of-priorities/

Monday, 14 April 2014 15:08

Take Off the Blinders

It’s been an extraordinary month, with scenarios that include a missing plane (see Divya Yadav’s research note); another round of deaths at Fort Hood just as the report on lessons learned in the Washington Shipyard was released; a Supreme Court decision that makes us wonder if the justices believe that free speech is the same as money; and, right in our backyard, a devastating mudslide from which not all the bodies have been removed.

The month also included the first meeting of the mayor’s City of Seattle Disaster Recovery Plan Executive Advisory Group, of which I am a member. This group is charge with imagining how recovery efforts, not the response itself, might proceed, and to consider how some planning now might make decisions easier to make after a catastrophic event such as an earthquake:  “what policy changes, planning or other strategies should be acted on now?  How will we ensure we have the necessary resources (staff, equipment, facilities, etc.) to get back to acceptable levels of service and to meet our legal mandates?”

...

http://anniesearle.createsend.com/t/ViewEmailArchive/r/ED5F90523766F0B22540EF23F30FEDED

Monday, 14 April 2014 15:05

AI Gets its Groove Back

Computerworld — Try this: Go online to translate.google.com.

In the left-hand input box, type, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." In the right-hand box, decide which language you want it translated to. After it's translated the first time, copy the translated text and paste it into the left-hand box for conversion back into English.

If you don't get exactly the original text, the back-translation will in all likelihood still reflect at least part of the original thought: That the actions of the subject fell short of his or her intentions and not that the wine was good but the meat was tasteless, which the phrase could mean in a literal translation.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751443/AI_Gets_its_Groove_Back

IDG News Service — Four researchers working separately have demonstrated a server's private encryption key can be obtained using the Heartbleed bug, an attack thought possible but unconfirmed.

The findings come shortly after a challenge created by CloudFlare, a San Francisco-based company that runs a security and redundancy service for website operators.

CloudFlare asked the security community if the flaw in the OpenSSL cryptographic library, made public last week, could be used to obtain the private key used to create an encrypted channel between users and websites, known as SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Security Layer).

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http://www.cio.com/article/751440/Tests_Confirm_Heartbleed_Bug_Can_Expose_Server_39_s_Private_Key

Due to the complexities of making products, most manufacturers are used to having large influxes of data from machines, processes, shipping, etc. What may be new to these companies, though, is having tools to retrieve actionable information from these piles of Big Data.

LNS Research and Mesa International teamed up to compile a survey of manufacturers on how they are using new technologies. Among the information gathered was how these companies felt they could use Big Data from the manufacturing plants and the overall enterprise. Of the more than 200 responses, 46 percent felt that Big Data analysis could help them “better forecast products” and production. Another 39 percent believed that Big Data mining will allow them to “service and support customers faster.” Other metrics from the survey include:

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/big-data-can-provide-manufacturers-bigger-efficiencies.html

The number of countries with downgraded political risk ratings grew in the last year, as all five emerging market BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) saw their risk rating increase, according to Aon’s 2014 Political Risk Map.

As a result, countries representing a large share of global output experienced a broad-based increase in political risk including political violence, government interference and sovereign non-payment risk, Aon said.

The 2014 map shows that 16 countries were downgraded in 2014 compared to 12 in 2013. Only six countries experienced upgrades (where the territory risk is rated lower than the previous year), compared to 13 in 2013.

Aon noted that Brazil’s rating was downgraded because political risks have been increasing from moderate levels as economic weakness has increased the role of the government in the economy.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3627

Monday, 14 April 2014 15:01

Business Continuity Flash Blog

On Tuesday 18th March 2014, as part of the Business Continuity Awareness Week activities, we witnessed the first ever BC Flash Blog. This is probably a new term to most readers, it is a virtual Flash Mob – but instead of a dance routine the participants wrote and published their own blog post or article.

The event featured 22 writers, from all sectors of the BC industry – and from various corners of the globe. All the articles were on the same subject, and published at the same time. In keeping with the BCAW theme, the subject was “Counting the costs, and benefits, for business continuity”, with each writer taking their own, unique, perspective on this issue.

If you haven’t already done so, you can find links to all 22 of these blogs here. If we do nothing else, we can at least pay these writers the respect of reading their work.

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http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2014/04/business-continuity-flash-blog.html

CSO — Size matters when it comes to security, according to Davi Ottenhelmer. Ottenhelmer, senior director of trust at EMC, titled his presentation at SOURCE Boston Wednesday, "Delivering Security at Big Data Scale," and began with the premise that, "as things get larger, a lot of our assumptions break."

The advertised promise of Big Data is that it will help enterprises make better decisions and more accurate predictions, but Ottenhelmer contends that is placing far too much trust in systems that are not well secured. "We're making the same mistakes we've made before," he said. "We're not baking security into Big Data we're expecting somebody else to do it later on." Ottenhelmer, who is completing a book titled,A "Realities of Big Data Security," said he does defense research, and focuses on avoidance and detection. "Avoidance is the best way to escape a damaging attack," he said. "You can move data centers at real-time speeds. You can keep the old one as honeypot, and just observe what's going on with it without causing any harm. Big Data allows it now more than ever."

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http://www.cio.com/article/751414/As_Companies_Grow_Managing_Risks_Gets_More_Complex

Qualification: Diploma

Study mode: Distance learning

Location: High Wycombe

Credits: 90

As a further membership option, the BCI and Bucks New University, via their unique partnership, have designed a programme to develop and deliver this new qualification, delivered over three, ten-week distance modules.

Is this course for me?

As a further membership option, the BCI and Bucks New University, via their unique partnership, have designed a programme to develop and deliver a new qualification - the BCI Diploma. This is a 30 week, 90 credit, professional course aimed at the following prospective students:

...

http://bucks.ac.uk/courses/course/ZU1BCM9

IDG News Service — Much of the talk on the Web this week has focused on the Heartbleed security fiasco. Still unsure as to what's happening with Heartbleed and how it impacts you? Here's our quick-and-dirty guide.

What exactly is Heartbleed?

Heartbleed is a vulnerability in OpenSSL, an open-source implementation of the SSL/TLS encryption protocol.A When exploited, the flaw could expose information stored in a server's memory, including not-at-all-trivial things like your username, password, and other bits of personal data. Since OpenSSL is particularly popular among website administrators, a significant number of your favorite websites may be affected by Heartbleed--research firm Netcraft puts the number at half-a-million sites.

Should I panic?

Panicking is not terribly productive, and, since it involves a lot of running around like a chicken with your head cut off, potentially exhausting. That's no way to go through life. Still, this is a serious matter, and it'll require a little more action on your part than adapting a "this too shall pass" mindset.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751366/Heartbleed_What_You_Need_to_Know_About_the_Security_Fiasco_in_3_Minutes_or_Less

Network World — The Heartbleed Bug, a flaw in OpenSSL that would let attackers eavesdrop on Web, e-mail and some VPN communications, is a vulnerability that can be found not just in servers using it but also in network gear from Cisco and Juniper Networks. Both vendors say there's still a lot they are investigating about how Heartbleed impacts their products, and to expect updated advisories on a rolling basis.

Juniper detailed a long list in two advisories, one here and the other here. Cisco acted in similar fashion with its advisory.

"Expect a product by product advisory about vulnerabilities," says Cisco spokesman Nigel Glennie, explaining that Cisco engineers are evaluating which Cisco products use the flawed versions of OpenSSL that may need a patch though not all necessarily will. That's because Cisco believes it's a specific feature in OpenSSL that is at the heart of the Heartbleed vulnerability and that it's not always turned on in products.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751365/Heartbleed_Bug_Hits_At_Heart_of_Many_Cisco_Juniper_Products

IDG News Service — Website and server administrators will have to spend considerable time, effort and money to mitigate all the security risks associated with Heartbleed, one of the most severe vulnerabilities to endanger encrypted SSL communications in recent years.

The flaw, which was publicly revealed Monday, is not the result of a cryptographic weakness in the widely used TLS (Transport Layer Security) or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) communication protocols, but stems from a rather mundane programming error in a popular SSL/TLS library called OpenSSL that's used by various operating systems, Web server software, browsers, mobile applications and even hardware appliances and embedded systems.

Attackers can exploit the vulnerability to force servers that use OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f to expose information from their private memory space. That information can include confidential data like passwords, TLS session keys and long-term server private keys that allow decrypting past and future SSL traffic captured from the server.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751362/Website_Operators_Will_have_a_Hard_Time_Dealing_with_the_Heartbleed_Vulnerability

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the reaction to an Internet security problem like the reaction I’m seeing with the Heartbleed bug. I expected to get email messages from security experts, but not the volume that has been coming in. Then I logged on to Facebook, and my feed was in pandemonium. People are totally freaked out by the news of this vulnerability, but I’m not sure which concerns them more: That their personal information may be compromised or that they are going to have to change a lot of passwords.

Let’s take a deep breath and get some points straight. I reached out to a number of experts to get their insights into this issue.

First, we should all take this very seriously. For those who may not understand what the Heartbleed bug is, the Heartbleed bug website explains it clearly:

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/keeping-our-fingers-on-the-pulse-of-the-heartbleed-bug.html

If I had a top ten list of PR models, it would be Tesla and Elon Musk. He got a bum review in the New York Times and his damage control strategy was to demonstrate that the reviewer was less than honest. I thought no way could he win that battle. He did. The US government, typical of government-by-headline, launched a safety investigation against the cars after a battery fire caused lurid news stories. What did Tesla do? Used the opportunity to make it clear to the world just how safe their cars actually are. Lemons to lemonade. (I blogged on these stories earlier–just enter Tesla in the search on this blog).

...

http://ww2.crisisblogger.com/2014/04/tesla-provides-classic-example-of-how-to-head-off-bad-news/

Computerworld — A federal court in New Jersey this week affirmed the Federal Trade Commission's contention that it can sue companies on charges related to data breaches, a major victory for the agency.

Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for the District Court of New Jersey ruled that the FTC can hold companies responsible for failing to use reasonable security practices.

Wyndham Worldwide Corp. had challenged a 2012 FTC lawsuit in connection with a data breach that exposed hundreds of thousands of credit and debit cards and resulted in more than $10.6 million in fraud losses.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751343/FTC_Can_Sue_Companies_Hit_with_Data_Breaches_Court_Says

CIO — As government CIOs begin consolidating their agency data centers, they should leave the forklift in park.

That was the message senior officials in the government IT sphere delivered in a panel discussion on how to maximize return on investment through overhauling the sprawling federal data center apparatus — which numbers well into the thousands of facilities.

Its not enough simply to pack up one set of servers and reshelf them in another location. Government IT leaders stress that any data center overhaul cannot simply be an IT-driven initiative that amounts to a check-box exercise. The process should entail a considered engagement with the business lines of the agency, they say.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751332/Government_CIOs_Face_Data_Center_Consolidation_Challenges

Network World — The Heartbleed Bug, basically a flaw in OpenSSL that would let savvy attackers eavesdrop on Web, e-mail and some VPN communications that use OpenSSL, has sent companies scurrying to patch servers and change digital encryption certificates and users to change their passwords. But who's to blame for this flaw in the open-source protocol that some say also could impact routers and even mobile devices as well?

A German software engineer named Robin Seggelmann of Munster, Germany has reportedly accepted responsibility for inserting what experts are calling a mistake of catastrophic proportions into the open-source protocol OpenSSL used by millions of websites and servers, leaving them open to stealing data and passwords that many think has already been exploited by cyber-criminals and government intelligence agencies.

"Half a million websites are vulnerable, including my own," wrote security expert Bruce Schneier in his blog, pointing to a tool to test for the Heartbleed Bug vulnerability. He described Heartbleed as a "catastrophic bug" in OpenSSL because it "allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software." It compromises secret keys used to identify service providers and encrypt traffic, he pointed out. "This means anything in memory--SSL private keys, user keys, anything--is vulnerable."

...

http://www.cio.com/article/751342/Who_s_to_Blame_for_Catastrophic_Heartbleed_Bug_

By staff reporter

Security experts consider the Heartbleed bug to be a very serious issue, and one that will require action by most Internet users – not just for businesses – bringing the topic of information security home for web users everywhere.

“It's a pretty significant bug, particularly since it impacts popular open-source web servers such as Apache (the most popular web server) and Nginx,” explains ISACA director of emerging business and technology, Ed Moyle. “One significant area that has been covered less in the industry press is the impact this issue could have outside of the population of vulnerable web servers. Now clearly, the impact to web servers is a big deal. But consider for a moment what else might be impacted by this.”

In other words, he explains, consider the impact on embedded systems and "special purpose" systems (like biomed or ICS). “OpenSSL has a very developer-friendly license, requiring only attribution for it to be linked against, copied/pasted or otherwise incorporated into a derivative software product. It is also free. This makes it compelling for developers to incorporate it into anything they're building that requires SSL functionality: everything from toasters to ICS systems, medical equipment, smoke detectors, remote cameras, consumer-oriented cable routers and wireless access points. It's literally the path of least resistance as a supporting library/toolkit when developing new software that requires SSL.

...

http://www.cirmagazine.com/cir/Information-security-hits-home-with-Heartbleed.php

Friday, 11 April 2014 15:48

Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!

You could say that those of us who work in preparedness are a little obsessed with making sure we’ve got our emergency kits stocked and ready, our emergency plans up to date, and our neighbors are ready too.  So we’ve got a few households in Georgia ready for a public health emergency (and a few others around the country – don’t forget about friends and family!), but how do we get the country ready?  How do we get the government and other response organizations prepared?

The answer, just like learning how to ride a bike, is practice. Practice, practice, and more practice.  And this past week, CDC participated in a government-wide exercise that tested our preparedness and response capabilities.  The National Exercise Program Capstone Exercise (NEPCE) 2014External Web Site Icon is a congressionally mandated preparedness exercise to test, assess, and improve the nation’s preparedness and resiliency.  CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) and the National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) worked together to participate in this event.  

NEPCE 2014 was designed to educate and prepare the whole community – from schools to businesses and hospitals to families – to prevent, mitigate against, protect from, respond to, and recover from acts of terroristic and catastrophic incidents. This was the first Capstone Exercise, formerly known as National Level Exercise, incorporated into the newly revised National Exercise Plan (NEP)External Web Site Icon, concluding and building on two years of smaller scale exercises.  The NEP includes exercises of all types, designed to engage all levels of government, non-government organizations and private sector organizations. 

exercise briefingThis exercise culminated over nine months of interagency planning efforts among DHS, HHS and CDC along with our state and local partners.  CDC planning officials attended planning meetings in Washington, D.C. to integrate CDC operations into the exercise. Additionally, CDC deployed four public health personnel with the HHS Incident Response Coordination Team to Sacramento, California, during the exercise to simulate coordination activities that CDC would normally provide to the impacted population.

History Repeats Itself for Exercise Purposes

The exercise scenario centered on a 9.2 magnitude earthquake in Alaska that caused catastrophic damage across multiple communities, requiring federal response and recovery assistance.  A similar event happened in Alaska at the same time in 1964.

As it did 50 years ago, the earthquake resulted in several tsunamis with substantial threat and damage to critical infrastructure like buildings, bridges, and roads, along with injuries, deaths, and population displacement across Alaska and Canada. While national officials confronted earthquake and tsunami impacts, disruption in and around Juneau, the capital, resulted in a requirement for government entities to relocate to alternate sites.

RADM Scott Deitchman, M.D. M.P.H., USPHS, Assistant Surgeon General who is the Associate Director for Environmental Health Emergencies in NCEH/ATSDR served as the Incident Manager and lead for the exercise. He remarked, “I appreciated the opportunity the exercise gave us, like the rest of government, to exercise how we would respond to a catastrophic disaster of this magnitude. A real earthquake, like a nuclear detonation, suddenly puts you in a situation where the things we take for granted – communications systems to give messages to the public, transportation systems to send responders to the area, data systems for collecting surveillance data – all are gone. How do we launch a public health response in that setting? In exercises like this, the goal is to “test to fail” – to see where things break down, in a setting where we can learn without failing people in actual need. That gives us the opportunity to strengthen our response systems in anticipation of a real disaster.”

exercise planningOne of CDC’s primary missions is to ensure that we are prepared to assist the nation to respond to, recover from, and alleviate the impacts of public health disasters.  Participation in last week’s exercise enhanced our overall ability to support our nation during emergency situations. 

During this and other exercises, all aspects of CDC’s response capabilities are tested.  Managed out of CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), this exercise brought together experts in public health preparedness, as well as those with expertise in earthquakes.  During a real emergency, CDC would activate the EOC in order to help coordinate the Agency’s response.  Although no exercise will truly mimic a real life emergency, we do everything possible to imagine what could happen – from dealing with power outages to delays in supplies reaching affected areas to incorrect media reports and wild rumors – in order to test who we would respond.  After the exercise is over, we work with the other organizations involved and analyze what went well and what could be improved upon next time.

David Maples, Exercise Lead for OPHPR’s Division of Exercise Operations, commented, “The Alaska Shield earthquake exercise provided CDC the primary venue to validate our All-Hazards Plan and its Natural Disaster Annex and Earthquake Appendix.  We engaged our whole of community partners in this exercise at the federal, state and local levels, our tribal partners as well as several non-governmental organizations and private public health partners.  Maintaining these relationships is essential to our ability to get our public health guidance and messaging into the hands of those impacted by an event like this.  In a catastrophic natural disaster similar to the one we just exercised, CDC’s mission is just the beginning. Similar to our real world response to Superstorm Sandy, the recovery phase of an event like this will challenge our public health capabilities for some time.  But that is the goodness of our Public Health Preparedness and Response exercise program; it gives us the opportunity to prepare for no-notice disasters and emergent outbreaks before they occur.”

http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2014/04/exercise-exercise-exercise/

Thursday, 10 April 2014 17:38

Five Questions with a Food Fraud Expert

BALTIMORE—After his Food Safety Summit session on food fraud and economically motivated adulteration, I caught up with Doug Moyer, a pharmaceutical fraud expert and adjunct with Michigan State University’s Food Fraud Initiative. Here are a few of his insights into top challenges for the supply chain, and the biggest risks to be wary of as a consumer.

What are the riskiest foods for fraud?

The most fraudulent are the perennials: olive oil, honey, juices and species swapping in fish. Most people underestimate the amount of olive oil adulteration, but the amount of what is labeled “extra virgin olive oil” that Americans buy is more than Italy could ever produce. I buy certified California olive oil because I’ve sat down with that group and I know that their industry is really concerned about standards and have established a rigorous certification process. I am also really concerned about species swapping in the seafood industry. I love sushi, but I have a lot of concerns eating it, and they are not always about health. I don’t like feeling duped, and a lot of companies now have to contend with that reputation issue after so many studies have found that the odds can be incredibly low that you are eating the fish that you think you ordered—as little as 30% in some sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, for example.

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/five-questions-with-a-food-fraud-expert/

By Geary W. Sikich

The post-crisis recovery phase is one of the least addressed in planning, training and simulations. This is an area that, if not properly managed, can cost financially, reputationally and operationally. Guidelines for post-crisis recovery are lacking; and many entities lose focus when it comes to discussing post-crisis recovery operations. It may be that post-crisis recovery is one of the most complicated of the Business Continuity Lifecycle elements and that no two recoveries are going to follow the same pattern. However, the post-crisis recovery process can be segmented into manageable bits that can be undertaken using a project management approach.

The diagram below provides a top level graphic depiction of the typical cycle of event response, management, recovery and resumption of operations. I have added the emergency response and crisis management elements as they intermingle with business continuity. I have simplified the cycle to four major transition points.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1168.html

Andrew Waite gives an overview of the Heartbleed vulnerability.

This week has been an interesting and busy one for those on both sides of the information security fence: a critical vulnerability, dubbed Heartbleed, was publicly disclosed in the widely used library OpenSSL, which forms the core of many SSL/HTTPS provisions.

What is it?

Without getting too technical, the Heartbleed flaw allows a malicious and unauthorised third party to access protected data in memory. The exact data access is random, but there have been corroborated reports that it can expose clear-text passwords, private SSL keys and other sensitive data which would negatively impact the security of your systems, users and clients.

How to determine if you’re vulnerable

The vulnerability effects any service utilising OpenSSL version 1.0.1 through to OpenSSL version 1.0.1f. If you (or your in-house sysadmin) can confirm that your SSL implementation isn’t running any of the affected versions, you’re safe from this particular weakness. Unfortunately, OpenSSL is widely used and embedded into many other appliances and application stacks.

Since the notification announcement, a number of websites have been released to enable you to enter your system name/IP address and the site will check for you. However, what a third party may do with the information once determining your system is vulnerable could be a risk in its own right…

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1169.html

Tamiflu (the antiviral drug oseltamivir) shortens symptoms of influenza by half a day, but there is no good evidence to support claims that it reduces admissions to hospital or complications of influenza. This is according to the updated Cochrane evidence review, published today (10th April 2014) by The Cochrane Collaboration, the independent, global healthcare research network and The BMJ.

Evidence from treatment trials confirms increased risk of suffering from nausea and vomiting. And when Tamiflu was used in prevention trials there was an increased risk of headaches, psychiatric disturbances, and renal events.

Although when used as a preventative treatment, the drug can reduce the risk of people suffering symptomatic influenza, it is unproven that it can stop people carrying the influenza virus and spreading it to others.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07168.html

CIO — In 1998, when Paul Rogers started at GE, implementing optimization software at a coal-fired power plant was easier said than done. Management understood and worked with GE to develop the software. Within the plant itself, though, the vast majority of employees didn't know how to use a computer, let alone software, and were very suspicious of the system.

These days, says Rogers, now GE's chief development officer, the tables have turned. Smartphone-toting plant employees know firsthand how technology changes their lives as consumers — and they want to know why the industrial environment isn't like their home environment.

"They want to optimize equipment, and that's a sign that the world is ready," Rogers says. Put another way: "My daughter has radically different experiences about how the world works."

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http://www.cio.com/article/751015/Industrial_Internet_Can_t_Succeed_Without_Big_Data_and_Cloud_GE_Says

CIO — The past two weeks brought big news in the public cloud computing market. In the course of four days, three technology giants made bold statements about their intent to be one of the most important public cloud providers — and, indeed, position themselves to be the No. 1 cloud company on the planet.

For anyone using cloud computing, what happened last week indicates how critical the biggest companies in technology view it and how cloud adopters need to evaluate their strategy in light of the ongoing price competition upon which the leaders have embarked.

Here's the high-level overview of what was announced:

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http://www.cio.com/article/751320/In_Public_Cloud_Computing_Fight_the_Gloves_Come_Off

Business continuity is often about reinforcing existing infrastructure or eliminating sources of business disruption. Bringing in techniques to accelerate or multiply results thanks to good business continuity may not be so frequent, but here’s one that may well do that. It’s version control, which is used when several knowledge workers need to simultaneously work on the same computer files to create advantage for the organisation – but without stepping on each other’s toes. Version control technology started in software development. However, it can be used for projects to create web content, coordinated product rollouts, corporate business plans and more.

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/version-control-basics-for-better-business-continuity/

PC World — By now you've likely heard about the Heartbleed bug, a critical vulnerability that exposes potentially millions of passwords to attack and undermines the very security of the Internet. Because the flaw exists in OpenSSL--which is an open source implementation of SSL encryption--many will question whether the nature of open source development is in some way at fault. I touched based with security experts to get their thoughts.

Closed vs. Open Source

First, let's explain the distinction between closed source and open source. Source refers to the source code of a program--the actual text commands that make the application do whatever it does.

Closed source applications don't share the source code with the general public. It is unique, proprietary code created and maintained by internal developers. Commercial, off-the-shelf software like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop are examples of closed source.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751307/Is_Open_Source_to_Blame_for_the_Heartbleed_Bug_

A new report from application specialists Camwood reveals that, in the wake of recent migrations following the conclusion of support for the Windows XP operating system, and with the accelerating pace of change in the IT department, IT directors and managers now see near constant change and migration projects as the new norm. Coping with this change has now become a primary concern for IT departments.

According to the report, 90% of IT decision makers believe that the pace of change in IT is accelerating, and that this presents a significant challenge. 72% find the pace of change in IT ‘unsettling’. 93% also agree that, in the new IT environment, a flexible IT infrastructure is key to their organisation’s success, with 79% believing that IT departments that don’t adapt risk demise.

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http://www.cirmagazine.com/cir/The-end-of-XP-and-a-new-normal-in-the-IT-department.php

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 18:13

Monitoring Food Safety from Farm to Fork

BALTIMORE—The Food and Drug Administration is increasingly harnessing data-driven, risk-based targeting to examine food processors and suppliers under the Food Safety Modernization Act. At this week’s Food Safety Summit, the FDA’s Roberta Wagner, director of compliance at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, emphasized the risk-based, preventative public health focus of FSMA.

While it has long collected extensive data, the agency is now expanding and streamlining analysis from inspections to systematically identify chronic bad actors. FSMA regulations and reporting are revolutionizing many of the FDA’s challenges, but so is technology. According to Wagner, whole genome sequencing in particular has tremendous potential to change how authorities and professionals throughout the food chain look at pathogens. WGS offers rapid identification of the sources of foodborne pathogens that cause illness, and can help identify these pathogens as resident or transient. In other words, by sequencing pathogens (and sharing them in Genome Trakr, a coordinated state and federal database), scientists can track where contamination occurs during or after production.

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/monitoring-food-safety-from-farm-to-fork/

Hurricane forecasters are sounding a warning bell for the U.S. East coast in their latest predictions for the 2014 hurricane season, even as overall tropical storm activity is predicted to be much-less than normal.

WeatherBell Analytics says the very warm water off of the Eastern Seaboard is a concern, along with the oncoming El Niño conditions.

In its latest commentary forecaster Joe Bastardi and the WeatherBell team notes:

We think this is a challenging year, one that has a greater threat of higher intensity storms closer to the coast, and, where like 2012, warnings will frequently be issued with the first official NHC advisory.”

WeatherBell Analytics is calling for a total of 8 to 10 named storms, with 3-5 hurricanes and 1-2 major hurricanes.

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http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3624

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 18:12

London’s flood risks reviewed

The London Assembly Environment Committee has published a summary of the flood risks facing the UK capital.

24,000 properties in London are at significant risk of river flooding and the Environment Agency estimates that plans currently under development could protect 10,000 of these.

The Committee warns that the risks of flooding may be increasing. The effects of climate change in southern England could mean drier summers and wetter winters. More heavy rain in the Thames region would increase surface water risk and may lead to more river flooding in London.

Ways to reduce flood risk include sustainable drainage and river restoration, which create space for flood waters to be held higher in the river catchment and soak back into the ground. Allowing low-lying areas to flood safely at times of high water flow should protect homes, roads and businesses.

Murad Qureshi AM, Chair of the Environment Committee says:

“London needs to bring back its rivers to protect itself from inevitable flooding in the future. The more we can restore natural banks to London’s rivers, the less likely heavy rain will cause the degree of flooding we saw in the early part of this year.”

“Heavy or prolonged rain locally or upstream can cause rivers to flood. Tens of thousands of properties are at high or medium risk of river flooding. This is not just from the Thames, but also from the many smaller rivers that flow into it. A lot of people don’t know where their local rivers are, until they escape their channels.”

Read Flood Risks in London Summary of Findings (PDF).

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 18:10

Leave the CIO Alone

Computerworld — My son is a chief technology officer. Some companies have a chief digital officer. Can chief data wrangler be far behind?

What's so bad about being a CIO?

There seems to be a trend to come up with a title to replace "CIO" that encompasses the latest direction of the profession. Titles are reflecting an emphasis on big data, social networking and data analytics.

This doesn't happen with other titles. Take the chief financial officer. I have yet to hear of a CFO becoming the chief mergers officer when the company contemplates its first merger or acquisition. The CFO's role changes to encompass some new duties but that officer remains in charge of finance. And I suspect that most CFOs would not appreciate a change in title every time their role was redefined. And yet, add big data to IT's functions and someone says we need a new title to reflect that. But we really don't. The CIO remains in charge of the enterprise's information and data, big or otherwise.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751249/Leave_the_CIO_Alone

CSO — Symantec has declared 2013 the year of the "mega-breach," placing security pros on notice that they stand to lose big from phishing, spear-phishing and watering-hole attacks.

The company released Tuesday its Internet Security Threat Report for 2013, which found that eight breaches exposed the personal information of more than 10 million identities each. By comparison, 2012 had only one breach that size and in 2011 there were five.

The number of massive data breaches in 2013 made it the "year of the mega-breach," Symantec said. Information stolen included credit card information, government ID numbers, medical records, passwords and other personal data.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751256/Symantec_to_CISOs_Watch_for_the_Mega_Breach_

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 18:08

Banks Ordered to Add Capital to Limit Risks

Federal regulators on Tuesday approved a simple rule that could do more to rein in Wall Street than most other parts of a sweeping overhaul that has descended on the biggest banks since the financial crisis.

The rule increases to 5 percent, from roughly 3 percent, a threshold called the leverage ratio, which measures the amount of capital that a bank holds against its assets. The requirement — more stringent than that for Wall Street’s rivals in Europe and Asia — could force the eight biggest banks in the United States to find as much as an additional $68 billion to put their operations on firmer financial footing, according to regulators’ estimates.

Faced with that potentially onerous bill, Wall Street titans are expected to pare back some of their riskiest activities, including trading in credit-default swaps, the financial instruments that destabilized the system during the financial crisis.

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http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/regulators-set-to-approve-new-capital-rule/

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 18:07

Options Abound for the Private Cloud

Mistrust of the public cloud is driving many enterprises toward the pursuit of private clouds. For critical data and applications, this may seem like a no-brainer as it is wiser to keep the important stuff on trusted infrastructure.

Not all private clouds are the same, however, and unless you happen to be a platform developer, you’ll end up placing your trust in someone else’s technology, just as you do with physical and virtual infrastructure.

At the moment, it seems the private cloud is shaping up to be a battle between VMware and the OpenStack community, says cloud broker RightScale. And according to the firm’s latest survey, nearly a third of enterprises are looking to turn legacy vSphere and vCenter environments into private clouds. But that doesn’t mean the market is a lock for VMware. OpenStack deployments are on the rise, driven largely by a desire to avoid vendor lock-in, even as vCloud Director adoption is starting to flag.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/options-abound-for-the-private-cloud.html

LINCROFT, N.J. – In the weeks after a federally declared disaster, emergency teams from government agencies, nonprofits and volunteer organizations work together to help survivors make their way out of danger and find food, clothing and shelter.

After the immediate emergency is over, the long work of recovery begins.

And as New Jersey survivors of Hurricane Sandy have learned over the past 18 months, full recovery from a devastating event like Sandy may take years.

Communities throughout New Jersey have been working hard to repair, rebuild and protect against future storms. In many cases, the challenges they face are formidable.

At the invitation of individual communities and in partnership with the state, FEMA’s office of Federal Disaster Recovery Coordination works with residents and municipal officials in impacted municipalities to develop a strategy for full recovery.

For communities that require assistance, the FDRC can provide a team of recovery specialists with a broad array of skills. Among them: civil engineering, architecture, land-use planning, economic development, environmental science and disabilities integration.

The FDRC is activated under the National Disaster Recovery Framework, which provides a structure for effective collaboration between impacted communities, federal, state, tribal and local governments, the private sector, and voluntary, faith-based and community organizations during the recovery phase of a disaster.

Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator consult with impacted municipalities and assist with long-term planning, helping these communities determine what their priorities are and what resources they will need to achieve a full recovery.

In major disasters or catastrophic events, the FDRC is empowered to activate six key areas of assistance known as Recovery Support Functions.

The RSFs are led by designated federal coordinating agencies: Housing (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development); Infrastructure Systems (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers); Economic (U.S. Department of Commerce); Health and Social Services (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services); Natural and Cultural Resources (U.S. Department of Interior); and Community Planning and Capacity Building (FEMA).

Working in partnership with a State Disaster Recovery Coordinator and a Hazard Mitigation Adviser, the FDRC oversees an assessment of impacted communities and helps to develop a recovery support strategy. That strategy helps these hard-hit communities gain easier access to federal funding, bridge gaps in assistance, and establish goals for recovery that are measurable, achievable and affordable.

Here in New Jersey, approximately 12 communities have partnered with FDRC to prioritize their goals for recovery, locate the resources needed to achieve those goals and rebuild with resiliency.

In the Borough of Highlands, FDRC has assisted this severely impacted community in developing a plan for a direct storm water piping system that will decrease flooding in the low-lying downtown area. FDRC has also collaborated with the community on designing a more resilient, attractive and commercially viable central business district called the Bay Avenue Renaissance Project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has initiated a feasibility study on their plan to protect the town from future flooding via a mitigation effort that includes installing floodwalls, raising bulkheads and building dune barriers.

In the devastated Monmouth County town of Sea Bright, FDRC worked with the community to create a plan for the construction of a beach pavilion that will serve as a year-round community center, library, lifeguard facility and beach badge concession. FDRC is also working with Sea Bright officials to develop a grant application to fund streetscape improvements in the downtown area of this beachfront municipality

In Tuckerton, FDRC worked with municipal officials on a plan to relocate its heavily damaged police station and borough facilities to a former school building that is much less vulnerable to flooding.

In partner communities throughout the state, FDRC subject matter experts are working to help residents envision a future that incorporates a strong infrastructure, increased storm protection and an enhanced environment that reflects the vision of the community.

http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4086/updates/sandy-one-year-later
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.

DENVER - Crisis counseling services will continue over the next nine months for survivors of the Colorado flooding disaster in September 2013 because of a $4 million federal grant. FEMA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration have awarded the $4,058,060 grant to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment through the 2014 Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP).  

The new grant will allow counselors to continue door-to-door services and community outreach counseling programs. Since the disaster, Colorado Spirit crisis counselors have:

  • Talked directly with 18,178 people and provided referrals and other helpful information to more than 88,000;
  • Met with nearly 1,200 individuals or families in their homes.

CCP was established by the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to provide mental health assistance and training activities in designated disaster areas. The program provides the following services:

  • Individual crisis counseling and group crisis counseling to help survivors understand their reactions and improve coping strategies, review their options and connect with other individuals and agencies that may assist them;
  • Development and distribution of education materials such as flyers, brochures and website information on disaster-related topics and resources;
  • Relationship building with community organizations, faith-based groups and local agencies.

They say that age is only a number, so with that in mind, IBM set out to prove that the 50-year-old mainframe still has what it takes to dominate enterprise computing.

As part of its celebration of the 50th birthday of the mainframe, IBM today unveiled a slew of products and initiatives intended to make sure the mainframe stays relevant through at least the first half of the 21st Century.

The new offerings include the zDoop implementation of Hadoop for mainframes that IBM worked with Veristorm to develop, and an IBM DS8870 flash storage system that IBM says is four times faster than traditional solid-state disk (SSD) technology.

In addition, IBM unveiled an IBM Enterprise Cloud System based on mainframes that has been configured with IBM cloud orchestration and monitoring software.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/ibm-celebrates-mainframe-50th-birthday-with-new-offerings-and-pricing.html

CSO — In large-scale organizations, implementing mobile device management (MDM) is typically given. After all, with so many employees using mobile devices that either contain or connect to sources of sensitive information, there needs to be some way to keep everything in check. But what about those companies that aren't big enough to be able to afford an MDM implementation and a full-sized IT department to manage it? Without a means to centralize the control of mobile devices, how can these smaller companies protect their data?

Some SMBs have found ways to help mitigate risk without traditional MDM, but it isn't always easy. Right off the bat, things are tricky given that smaller companies often implement BYOD since they can't afford to provide employees with devices.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751174/How_MDM_Works_or_Doesn_t_Work_For_SMBs

I’m excited about the Internet of Things (IoT), and I expect it to create incredible opportunities for companies in almost every industry. But I’m also concerned that the issues of security, data privacy, and our expectations of a right to privacy, in general — unless suitably addressed — could hinder the adoption of the IoT by consumers and businesses and possibly slow innovation. So, with all the hype of the IoT, I’m going to play devil’s advocate, because these issues tend to receive limited coverage when considering the impact of new technology developments on society.

First of all, I am amazed at all the connected products and services that are starting to appear. These include, for example: those for connected buildings and homes, like heating and air conditioning, thermostats, smoke detectors, and so on; entertainment systems; and sensor-enabled pill boxes and remote healthcare monitoring devices. There are also a lot of consumer devices (in addition to smartphones and tablets), such as smart watches and Internet-enabled eye glasses, connected kitchen appliances like crock pots and refrigerators, wearable exercise trackers and pet trackers, and too many more to practically list.

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http://blog.cutter.com/2014/04/08/will-the-rise-of-the-iot-mean-the-fall-of-privacy/

From the title of this post, some people might immediately think of intuition: that vague and rather flaky resource used when that’s all you have. However, we’re actually thinking of something a little more structured in this context. In the coming age of Big Data and associated worldwide online resources, analytical techniques like those used in business intelligence can be used to detect trends and tipping points. They can give individuals and organisations meaningful information about how likely certain disasters will be: for example, "there is a 90 percent chance currently that your factory will be flooded out to a depth of eighteen inches of water."

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/when-you-just-know-what-the-next-disaster-will-be/

You got a call from a reporter asking for your comment about an issue you were afraid might see the light of day. So, you know they’re onto it and going to run something.

This is a fairly common situation and unfortunately for PR and crisis comms consultants, this is often when you get the call from the client. No time to lose, but what is the strategy?

My thoughts on this were prompted by PR Daily’s post today on “Five Ways to Respond to Bad Press Before the Story Runs.” I have great regard for Brad Phillips, who wrote the post and the book: “The Media Training Bible.”

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http://ww2.crisisblogger.com/2014/04/a-bad-story-is-coming-out-now-what-do-you-do/

Without doubt, cloud computing is the future of the enterprise. But clouds come in many varieties – some light and fluffy, others dark and ominous – so the question for CIOs today is what kind of cloud is appropriate, and are there ways to ensure that today’s cloud does not become tomorrow’s storm?

According to IHS Technology, cloud spending is on pace to jump by more than a third over the next three years to $235 billion. Key drivers run the gamut from lower operating costs and more flexible data environments to support for advanced business applications like collaboration and Big Data analytics. As the market matures, then, organizations across multiple industries are likely to shed their concerns about security and management as they strive to turn IT infrastructure from a cost center to a competitive advantage.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/building-the-right-cloud-for-the-right-purpose.html

PC World — Why should you use open source software? The fact that it's usually free can be an attractive selling point, but that's not the reason most companies choose to use it. Instead, security and quality are the most commonly cited reasons, according to new research.

In fact, a full 72 percent of respondents to the eighth annual Future of Open Source Survey said that they use open source because it provides stronger security than proprietary software does. A full 80 percent reported choosing openA source because of its quality over proprietary alternatives.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said that open source helped improve efficiency and lower costs, while 55 percent also indicated that the software helped create new products and services. A full 50 percent of respondents reported openly contributing to and adopting open source.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751130/Security_and_Quality_Top_Companies_Reasons_for_Using_Open_Source

Computerworld — A couple of weeks into his job as lead QT developer at software development consultancy Opensoft, Louis Meadows heard a knock on his door sometime after midnight. On his doorstep was a colleague, cellphone and laptop in hand, ready to launch a Web session with the company CEO and a Japan-based technology partner to kick off the next project.

"It was a little bit of a surprise because I had to immediately get into the conversation, but I had no problem with it because midnight here is work time in Tokyo," says Meadows, who adds that after more than three decades as a developer, he has accepted that being available 24/7 goes with the territory of IT. "It doesn't bother me -- it's like living next to the train tracks. After a while, you forget the train is there."

Not every IT professional is as accepting as Meadows of the growing demand for around-the-clock accessibility, whether the commitment is as simple as fielding emails on weekends or as extreme as attending an impromptu meeting in the middle of the night. With smartphones and Web access pretty much standard fare among business professionals, people in a broad range of IT positions -- not just on-call roles like help desk technician or network administrator -- are expected to be an email or text message away, even during nontraditional working hours.

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http://www.cio.com/article/751102/The_Always_On_IT_Culture_Get_Used_to_it

Monday, 07 April 2014 19:31

What Do IT Workers Want?

Computerworld — As the economy continues to rebound and the competition for qualified IT professionals reaches new heights, employers seeking to attract or retain staffers are increasingly becoming like anxious suitors, desperate to figure out how to please their dates: "What do you want? What will make you stay? What really matters in our relationship?"

According to Computerworld's 2014 IT Salary Survey, tech workers are looking for many traditional benefits of a good partnership: financial security, stability and reliability -- all represented by salary and benefits. But this year's results confirm a growing trend: IT professionals are placing increasing importance on "softer" factors in the workplace, which have less to do with dollars and cents and more to do with corporate culture, personal growth and affirmation.

Read the full report: Computerworld IT Salary Survey 2014

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http://www.cio.com/article/751101/What_Do_IT_Workers_Want_

Monday, 07 April 2014 19:30

Why So Certain About Uncertainties?

It must be the human condition that does it; the certainty with which we approach the issues that may affect us. Risk assessment incorporates a requirement to analyse probability or likelihood; we can attach mathematical process to this and I have attached an example – not to critique it – but to illustrate the concept of what I term ‘buffering’. Buffering is something which protects us from actuality, and allows us to distance ourselves from the realities of issues.  In the example, the mathematics are quite simple but convincing to the layman; I term myself a layman in mathematics and I have colleagues who can do this type of thing to a very significant and complicated level indeed.  However, the problem that I have with this is that buffering allows us to interpret what we see and orientate it to our needs.

Risk and uncertainty are not about rolling dice; of course they are linked aspects and the loss risks associated with the activities of some dice rollers can be extreme.  Maths allow calculation of probability  - but the die will roll a different way every time due to other unmeasured variable such as who is throwing, where and with what degree of energy.  There is therefore uncertainty that is additional even to the study and assessment of random variables.

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http://buckssecurity.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/why-so-certain-about-uncertainties/

The shooting rampage at Fort Hood has once again focused attention on the military’s ­mental-health system, which, despite improvement efforts, has struggled to address a tide of psychological problems brought on by more than a decade of war.

Military leaders have tried to understand and deal with mounting troop suicides, worrying psychological disorders among returning soldiers, and high-profile violent incidents on military installations such as the one that left four people dead and more than 16 injured at the Army post in Texas on Wednesday.

But experts say problems persist. A nationwide shortage of mental-health providers has made it difficult for the military to hire enough psychiatrists and counselors. The technology and science for reliably identifying people at risk of doing harm to themselves or others are lacking.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/militarys-mental-health-system-faces-shortage-of-providers-lack-of-good-diagnostic-tools/2014/04/05/e7e7da42-bb4a-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

A discussion is going on right now about the role of the enterprise service bus in cloud integration. Does it matter?

I’m not convinced it does. Most of the discussion seems to be coming from vendors, and while it’s probably good thought fodder for architects, I’m unconvinced there’s much of a strategic case for caring here.

One recent example, “Why Buses Don't Fly in the Cloud: Thoughts on ESBs,” appeared on Wired Innovation Insights and was written by Maneesh Joshi, the senior director of Product Marketing at SnapLogic.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/does-integrations-heritage-matter-in-the-cloud.html

Monday, 07 April 2014 19:27

Energy Metrics: No Easy Answers

One of the reasons energy conservation is such a hot button issue in the data center these days  is that no one has a clear idea how to assess the situation.

To be sure, metrics like PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) are a step in the right direction, but even its backers will admit that it is not a perfect solution and should not even be used to compare one facility against another. And as I pointed out last month, newer metrics like Data Center Energy Productivity (DCeP) provide a deeper dive into data operations but ultimately rely largely on subjective analysis in order to gauge the extent that energy is being put to good use.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/energy-metrics-no-easy-answers.html

Did you get a boatload of World Backup Day pledge messages through Facebook and Twitter last week? This independent global initiative encourages everyone to backup important data on all computing devices — and spread the word. As they say, “friends don’t let friends go without a backup.” Absolutely right.

As people around the globe were taking the World Backup Day pledge, I was presenting at DRJ Spring World 2014, the world’s largest BC/DR conference. As I reported, the vast majority of organizations are NOT prepared to respond to intentional or accidental threats to IT systems.

  • 73% failing in terms of disaster readiness (scored a D or F)
  • 60% do not have a documented DR plan
  • 68% plans don’t exist or proved not very useful

The news is not much better for the minority of organizations who have a DR plan in place. Again, the 2014 annual report documents that where they exist, DR plans are largely gathering dust:

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http://drbenchmark.org/is-your-business-operating-without-an-it-safety-net/

Friday, 04 April 2014 16:26

DDoS: a seven-point action plan

By Rakesh Shah

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) is no longer just a service provider problem: far from it. It can be a very real business continuity issue for many organizations.

DDoS attacks are what some would consider an epidemic today for all sorts of organizations. Why? The stakes continue to skyrocket. The spotlight continues to shine brightly, attracting attackers looking for attention for many reasons and motivations.

In recent times, attack motivation has been politically or ideologically motivated. Attackers want to make a statement and to make headlines (and to cause many headaches along the way) – quite similarly to the effect a sit-in or a strike would have in the ‘offline’ world. 

This new breed of attacker targets high profile organizations in order to ensure his or her grievances will be heard. Few targets are as high profile or mission critical to the economy as financial services.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1166.html

Avere Systems has released the findings of its ongoing original study into cloud adoption conducted at the recent Cloud Expo Europe 2014.

Like their US counterparts at the AWS Summit in Vegas last November, the majority of the attendees in London surveyed indicated that they currently use or plan to use cloud within the next two to five years for compute (71 percent), storage (76 percent), with application purposes (80 percent).

One major difference in response was that 53 percent of US respondents cited organizational resistance as a major barrier to cloud use compared to just 11 percent in Europe indicating a potentially less conservative approach in the region.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07158.html

Today ends my review of what I believe to be the five steps in the management of a third party under an anti-bribery regime such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) or UK Bribery Act. On Monday, I reviewed Step 1 – the Business Justification, which should kick off your process with any third party relationship. On Tuesday, I looked at Step 2 – the questionnaire that you should send and third party and what information you should elicit. On Wednesday, I discussed Step 3 – the due diligence that you should perform based upon the information that you have received from and ascertained on the third party. On Thursday, I examined Step 4 – how you should use the information you obtain in the due diligence process and the compliance terms and conditions which you should place in any commercial agreement with a third party. Today, I will conclude this series by reviewing how you should manage the relationship after the contract is signed.

I often say that after you complete Steps 1-4 in the life cycle management of a third party, the real work begins and that work is found in Step 5– the Management of the Relationship. While the work done in Steps 1-4 are absolutely critical, if you do not manage the relationship it can all go down hill very quickly and you might find yourself with a potential FCPA or UK Bribery Act violation. There are several different ways that you should manage your post-contract relationship. This post will explore some of the tools which you can use to help make sure that all the work you have done in Steps 1-4 will not be for naught and that you will have a compliant anti-corruption relationship with your third party going forward.

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http://tfoxlaw.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/life-cycle-management-of-third-parties-step-5-management-of-the-relationship/

Computerworld — Although Apple isn't the sole focus of Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) or of Satya Nadella's new "mobile-first cloud-first" vision for the company, its iOS devices dominate enterprise mobility, meaning that Apple will play a major role in Microsoft's mobility strategy. In pursuing this strategy, Microsoft is, in a way, copying Apple's approach to business and enterprise iOS customers, albeit from a different perspective.

Microsoft began adding the ability to manage iOS and Android devices to its cloud-based Intune management suite last year. Although initial support for iOS device management was very basic, the company updated Microsoft Intune's iOS capabilities in January. While Microsoft has a ways to go before it catches up to the feature sets of the major mobile device management and enterprise mobility management vendors, the company looks committed to advancing its mobile management tools quickly.

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http://www.cio.com/article/750992/Microsoft_Gets_Strategic_with_its_Enterprise_Mobility_Suite

Friday, 04 April 2014 16:19

Putting the 'B' in BRM

Computerworld — The challenge: Justify to the senior management committee the expense of business relationship management (BRM) within the IT function.

Now, there are many ways to do that. All the tools for assessing value can be drawn upon. There's the balanced scorecard, ROI, maturity models (with key performance indicators) and assessments against them, surveys, IT investment ratios, IT productivity over time. All very plausible, given the right circumstances.

But as CIO, I knew that I had to do more than show that BRM made compelling sense from a stockholder perspective. I also had to show how its success would be measured over time.

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http://www.cio.com/article/750970/Putting_the_B_in_BRM

Do you think your anti-virus software is doing an adequate job in detecting malware and keeping your computers and network safe?

Unfortunately, you may need to re-think your attitudes toward AV software. According to a new report from Solutionary and the NTT Group, AV fails to spot 54 percent of new malware that is collected by honeypots. Also, 71 percent of new malware collected from sandboxes was undetected by over 40 different AV solutions.

The report also found that even a minor SQL injection could result in financial losses upwards of $200,000 – the kind of dollar amount that could cripple a small business.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/preparing-for-the-shifting-threat-landscape.html

Everything in IT these days is rapidly moving to be defined by software, including now backup and recovery.

EMC today launched a Data Protection Suite spanning its Avamar, NetWorker, Data Protection Advisor, Mozy and SourceOne products that not only makes them easier to acquire, but also sets the stage for managing them as an integrated set of processes.

Rob Emsley, senior director of product marketing for EMC, says that just like the rest of the enterprise, data protection is moving toward a software-defined model that promises to make it easier to manage backup and recovery, compliance and archiving.

As part of that exercise, Emsley says EMC is moving toward enabling a self-service model under which end users would be able to directly invoke EMC products and services within the policy guideline set by the internal IT organization across both structured and unstructured data sets.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/emc-starts-shift-to-software-defined-data-protection.html

This week, a new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summarized the ways climate change is already impacting individuals and ecosystems worldwide and strongly cautioned that conditions are getting worse. Focusing on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, the panel’s latest work offers insight on economic loss and prospective supply chain interruptions that should be of particular note for risk managers—and repeatedly highlights principles of the discipline as critical approaches going forward.

Key risks the report identified with high confidence, span sectors and regions include:

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/new-climate-change-report-highlights-risk-management-strategies/

Friday, 04 April 2014 16:15

Earthquakes and Mortgage Markets

The second earthquake to strike the Los Angeles area on March 28 is a wake-up call and reminder of the risk to commercial and residential properties in Southern California, according to catastrophe modeling firm EQECAT.

(The M5.1 quake located 1 mile south of La Habre follows the M4.4 earthquake near Beverley Hills (30 miles to the northwest) on March 17.)

In its report on the latest quake, EQECAT notes that most homeowners do not carry earthquake insurance (only about 12 percent of Californians have earthquake coverage, according to I.I.I. stats), and those that do typically carry deductibles ranging from 10 percent to 15 percent of the replacement value of the home, and commercial insurance often carries large deductibles and strict limits on insurance coverage.

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http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3619

CSO — Hacking is no longer just a game for tech-savvy teens looking for bragging rights. It is a for-profit business -- a very big business. Yes, it is employed for corporate and political espionage, activism ("hacktivism") or even acts of cyberwar, but the majority of those in it, are in it for the money."

So, security experts say, one good way for enterprises to lower their risk is to lower the return on investment (ROI) of hackers by making themselves more expensive and time-consuming to hack, and therefore a less tempting target. It's a bit like the joke about the two guys fleeing from a hungry lion. "I don't have to outrun him," one says to the other. "I just have to outrun you."

Of course, this only applies to broad-based attacks seeking targets of opportunity -- not an attack focused on a specific enterprise. But, in those cases, being a bit more secure than others is generally enough.

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http://www.cio.com/article/750958/Want_to_Lower_Your_Risk_Lower_the_ROI_of_Hackers

With the anniversary of the Southern Alberta floods looming, are organizations now any better prepared for emergencies?
 
CALGARY, ALBERTA – From cold snaps and ice storms to polar vortex windchill, Canadians are emerging from one of the coldest and snowiest winters in decades. It has been a long, bitter winter but are we really ready for spring? Questions around emergency preparedness are naturally arising as the record snowfall blanketing cities across the country begins to melt and is already causing flooding in some areas. 
 
A recent Ipsos Reid study reveals critical gaps in emergency response plans following the 2013 Southern Alberta floods and the need to take action to prepare before disaster strikes again. In 2013, severe weather like heavy snow, rain and floods directly affected more than 3.5 million Canadians. Toronto’s ice storm wreaked havoc and cost the city in excess of $100 million. It has been Winnipeg’s second coldest winter on record since 1938, leaving hundreds of homes with frozen pipes. And Canada’s largest natural disaster, the 2013 Southern Alberta floods, is still fresh in the minds of nervous Albertans. There’s plenty of focus on the preparedness of homeowners living in high-risk areas but questions still surround the readiness of corporations across Canada. 
 
According to the “2013 Calgary Flood & State of Emergency Corporate Crisis Communications Study”, 80 per cent of large Calgary organizations surveyed had an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place before the floods but just 44 per cent of these plans included emergency communications plans and protocols. The lack of communication systems and limited access to organizational databases hindered the speed and efficiency of several companies' efforts. Email and manual calling were the primary methods of communication used during the flood (92 per cent and 84 per cent, respectively). Of the organizations surveyed, only 20 per cent factored contact lists into their ERP, just 19 per cent said they were able to reach employees and a mere 8 per cent said people clearly knew what to do.
 
“Spring is a perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at these too-low numbers and see how we can better prepare ourselves with forward-thinking solutions before another flood or crisis,” says Steve Hardy, director of RallyEngine, an app-based internal communications system, which commissioned the independent study. 
 
“Approximately two-thirds of Canadians and more than 90 per cent of business people now use smartphones. Ninety-one per cent of adults are within arm’s reach of their mobile phone 24/7,” he says. “It’s possible now to easily reach and inform far more people – and just the right people – using now-common internet and mobile technology.”
 
Approximately four in ten surveyed organizations updated their ERPs following the floods, but many overlooked vital information such as contact lists, roles and responsibilities, or steps for business continuity. Hardy says the study revealed that leaders of some of these large organizations either didn’t have up-to-date company-wide directories, couldn’t access their directory physically or virtually, or weren’t able to reach the people responsible for such important but overlooked lists. As a result, communications were more manual and less efficient.
 
“It can be very difficult to find this information in a crunch. The most important factor in a crisis is an organization’s people. Are they ok? Where are they? Are they available to help? Even the best plan falls apart if the right people can’t be alerted, informed, and rallied when needed.”
 
Hardy points out that municipalities and emergency management agencies did remarkable work during the 2013 flood. “Over the last several months, they’ve been diligently analyzing what went well and what didn’t, especially with regards to communications, so that they’re even more prepared and resilient next time. There’s no reason why corporations shouldn’t be just as focused and proactive.”
 
If the 2013 floods taught us anything, it was how resilience and timely responses are critical to ensuring positive outcomes in the face of a crisis. Versatile internal communications systems like RallyEngine facilitate nimble business continuity and can be set up within weeks, not months.
 
To download the full Ipsos Reid 2013 Calgary Flood & State of Emergency Corporate Crisis Communications Study, visit http://use.rallyengine.com/study/YYCflood. 
 
 
About RallyEngine
RallyEngine is a powerful and streamlined app-based internal communications system that facilitates nimble business continuity. Designed for organizations with dispersed teams or mobile workforces, the system works by having team members install an app on their smartphone, which connects to the RallyEngine server, providing a channel to transmit location data, important information, and push notifications in real-time.

Let’s proceed by elimination. Servers? Those are the things that fall over when your data centre is hit by lightning and for which you do your disaster recovery planning anyway. Desktop PCs? They’re practically nailed to your desk, so they won’t be going with you as you run for the exit. Laptops? Maybe, although battery power and hard drive fragility may be issues. Smartphone? Compact, highly portable, runs tons of apps but has such a tiny screen. So finally, is the tablet computer the best compromise for IT on the run while you’re trying to get everything else back to normal?

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/can-tablet-computers-cure-disaster-recovery-headaches/

CIO — The concept of a "data lake," sometimes called an "enterprise data hub," is a seductive one.

The data lake is the landing zone for all the data in your organization — structured, unstructured and semi-structured. — a central repository where all data is ingested and stored at its original fidelity All your enterprise workloads, from batch processing and interactive SQL to enterprise search and advanced analytics, then draw upon that data substrate.

Generally, the idea is to use HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) to store all your data in a single, large table. But building out such a next-generation data infrastructure requires more than simply deploying Hadoop; there's a whole ecosystem of related technologies that need to integrate with Hadoop to make it happen. And while Hadoop itself is open source, many of the other technologies that can help you build that infrastructure are open core or fully proprietary.

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http://www.cio.com/article/750897/Pivotal_Looks_to_Simplify_Building_Business_Data_Lakes_

Thursday, 03 April 2014 15:02

Rise of the Mega Data Center?

It seems the more the enterprise becomes steeped in cloud computing, the more we hear of the end of local infrastructure in favor of utility-style “mega-data centers.” This would constitute a very dramatic change to a long-standing industry that, despite its ups and downs, has functioned primarily as an owned-and-operated resource for many decades.

So naturally, this begs the question: Is this real? And if so, how should the enterprise prepare for the migration?

Earlier this week, I highlighted a recent post from Wikibon CTO David Floyer touting the need for software-defined infrastructure in the development of these mega centers. Floyer’s contention is that “megaDs” are not merely an option for the enterprise, but the inevitable future, in that they will take over virtually all processing, storage and other data functions across the entire data ecosystem. The key driver, of course, is cost, which can be distributed across multiple users to provide a much lower TCO than traditional on-premise infrastructure. At the same time, high-speed networking, 100 Gbps or more, has dramatically reduced latency of distributed operations and is now available at a fraction of the cost of only a few years ago.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/rise-of-the-mega-data-center.html

Thursday, 03 April 2014 15:01

Plans within business continuity

By Michael Bratton

Even though plans represent just one component of a larger business continuity management system, they are what guide the organization through all phases of response and recovery following the onset of a disruptive incident – from the initial response and assessment to the eventual return to normal operations. Effective planning is meant to ensure that response and recovery efforts align to the expectations of all interested parties and provide a repeatable approach to minimize downtime.

This article explores different types of plans and examines their purpose within a wider business continuity strategy.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1165.html

Thursday, 03 April 2014 15:00

Sungard Availability Services goes it alone

Sungard Availability Services has announced that it is now a standalone company, following its split-off from SunGard Data Systems Inc. The new company, with annual revenues of approximately $1.4 billion and operations in 11 countries, will remain headquartered in Wayne, PA.

As a result of the split-off, Sungard AS now has its own board of directors and a new brand.
"Now that we are an independent firm, we have the flexibility to evolve our culture, our industry relationships and our investments to maximize our business and best serve customers," said CEO Andrew A. Stern.

"Today's announcement is the next step towards creating a highly-focused IT services business that's dedicated to providing world-class managed / availability services to our customer base," Stern noted. "All of us here at Sungard AS are very excited about the prospects to accelerate our growth, and we look forward to continue partnering with our customers to deliver the business outcomes they need."

Sungard AS today revealed its new brand identity, which includes a new logo. The company, which pioneered the concept of shared IT disaster recovery infrastructure more than 30 years ago, will continue to leverage its ‘always on, always available’ brand positioning. Its new logo represents strength and dynamism. A forward-leaning angle in the logo conveys progression and growth, while a triangle in the logo represents stability and the support that the company will continue to provide its customers.

Sungard AS leverages its scale and global reach to address its approximately 7,000 customers' cloud, managed hosting and recovery-services needs. "Our company will continue to focus investments in our newer service offerings, which include Enterprise Managed Services, Enterprise Cloud Services, Recovery as a Service and Assurance, our next-generation business continuity management software offering," Stern said.

www.sungardas.com

CIO — The perennial data center quest to beat the heat has sparked a wave of innovation in enterprise computing.

Densely packed computing facilities produce a lot of heat. Getting rid of it is a must for boosting the reliability of computing and communications gear. The trick is keeping things cool without running up utility bills and expanding the carbon footprint.

To that end, IT managers have an expanding list of options and measures to consider. Data centers may combine straightforward approaches (such as organizing centers into cold and hot aisles) with more elaborate components (such as cooling towers). Even water-cooled computers, once a staple of the mainframe world, appear to be making a comeback. Immersion cooling, in which servers are bathed in a nonconductive cooling fluid, has made an appearance in a few data centers.

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http://www.cio.com/article/750811/IT_Leaders_Pursue_Data_Center_Innovation_to_Beat_the_Heat

Since the March 22 landslide, the Red Cross has mobilized five response vehicles and more than 300 trained workers – more than half of them from Washington State.

Through Monday (March 31), the Red Cross has served 15,000 meals and snacks in partnership with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, handed out hundreds of comfort and relief items, and provided nearly 2,400 mental health or health-related contacts. In addition, our shelters have provided more than 130 overnight stays.

Response details:

  • Red Cross mental health and spiritual care volunteers are caring for families who have lost loved ones or are waiting for word on the missing.
  • Red Cross workers are meeting one-on-one with people affected to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate help from other agencies. In some situations, the Red Cross may also provide direct financial support to people who need extra help, including assistance with funeral expenses and mental health counseling.
  • Red Cross Family Care Centers that are open in Darrington and Arlington are places where affected family members can receive emotional and spiritual support, mental health assistance, and care for children after they receive notification of loss of a loved one.
  • Red Cross workers are also providing emotional support and help with creating individual recovery plans at Joint Resource Centers in Darrington and Arlington.

With eight confirmed cases of Ebola reported in the Guinea capital, Conakry, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says that the country is 'facing an unprecedented epidemic in terms of the distribution of cases.'

“We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country: Gueckedou, Macenta Kissidougou, Nzerekore, and now Conakry,” said Mariano Lugli, coordinator of MSF's project in Conakry.

To date, Guinean health authorities have recorded 122 suspected patients and 78 deaths. Other cases, suspected or diagnosed, were found in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

MSF continues to strengthen its teams on the ground in Guinea. By the end of the week, there will be around 60 international fieldworkers who have experience in working on haemorrhagic fever. The group will be divided between Conakry and the other locations in the south-east of the country.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07155.html

Just got back from Orlando where I helped kick off the largest BC/DR conference in the world yesterday, Spring World 2014.

I previewed my talk in Orlando Sunday with an online webinar last week. If you were able to participate in last Wednesday’s webinar, (which is archived on the Disaster Recovery Journal’s website) entitled The State of Disaster Recovery Preparedness, you may recall this excellent question posed by one of the attendees:

“How do we convince upper management to fund disaster recovery?”

Getting the executive team on your side is a foundational step toward developing and implementing a sound DR plan. Like most things in life, I think communications is key — both what you say and how you say it.

...

http://drbenchmark.org/is-our-dr-vocabulary-a-barrier-to-disaster-recovery-preparedness/

Thursday, 03 April 2014 14:55

BCI North America Awards presented

The 2014 BCI North America Awards took place on Sunday March 30th as part of the Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ) Spring World 2014. The awards recognise the outstanding contribution of business continuity professionals and organizations living in or operating in the North America Region, including USA and Canada.

The winners were:

Business Continuity Industry Personality of the Year
Frank Perlmutter MBCI

BCM Newcomer of the Year
Leanne Metz AMBCI, Associate Director, Mead Johnson Nutrition

Business Continuity Innovation of the Year
Everbridge

Public Sector Manager of the Year
Brian Gray MBCI Chief, Business Continuity Management, United Nations

Business Continuity Manager of the Year
Dave Morgan MBCI, Senior BCP Manager, Delta Dental

Business Continuity Team of the Year
Franklin Templeton Investments

Highly Commended:
Kaiser Permenante
Target

Most Effective Recovery of the Year
Telus Communications

Business Continuity Consultant of the Year
Skip Williams, Owner, Kingsbridge Disaster Recovery

Business Continuity Provider of the Year (Product)
ResilienceONE® BCM Software

Highly Commended:
Fusion

Business Continuity Provider of the Year (Service)
Avalution

www.thebci.org

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a new report that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.

The report, entitled ‘Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability’, from Working Group II of the IPCC, details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks. A total of 309 coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and review editors, drawn from 70 countries, were selected to produce the report. They enlisted the help of 436 contributing authors, and a total of 1,729 expert and government reviewers.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07148.html

CloudEndure has published the results of a benchmark survey, entitled ‘2014 State of public cloud disaster recovery’. This presents best practices and success metrics reported by companies that host web applications in the public cloud.

The highlights of the survey report are:

  • When it comes to service availability, there is a clear gap between how organizations perceive their track record and the reality of their capabilities. While almost all respondents claim they meet their availability goals consistently (43 percent) or most of the time (49 percent), 26 percent of the organizations surveyed don’t measure service availability at all. It is hard to tell how these organizations claim to meet their goals when they are not able to measure them.
  • While the vast majority of the organizations surveyed (79 percent) have a service availability goal of 99.9 percent or better, over half of the companies (54 percent) had at least one outage in the past 3 months.
  • The top challenges in meeting availability goals are insufficient IT resources, budget limitations, and limited ability to prevent software bugs.
  • Load balancing and local (single region/zone) storage backup are the leading strategies to ensure system availability and data protection cited by 59 percent and 51 percent of the respondents respectively.
  • There is a strong correlation between the cost of downtime and the average hours per week invested in backup / disaster recovery.

Complimentary copies of the report are available for download after free registration.

Avalution Consulting has announced the release of a new feature, ‘Catalyst Insights’, for its Catalyst business continuity software suite.

Catalyst Insights provides automatic business continuity metrics that enable business continuity and IT disaster recovery managers to quickly identify and address preparedness gaps and report on their organization's level of preparedness.

With Catalyst Insights users can:

  • View granular business continuity dashboards, ratings, relationships, and dependencies for each element of the planning lifecycle by department, location, application, IT infrastructure, products and services, or the program as a whole;
  • Examine individual elements of the organization to understand upstream and downstream dependencies, identify and address gaps, and report on their current level of preparedness;
  • Visually map directional relationship dependencies for individual departments, locations, applications, IT infrastructure, products and services, or across the entire organization.

The Catalyst business continuity software suite can be trialled for 30-days before buying.

www.bccatalyst.com

LOS ANGELES — It has been 20 years since Southern California experienced a major earthquake, a powerful 6.7-magnitude temblor that rolled through Northridge, killing 57 people. But this stretch of seismic calm, though welcome in obvious ways, has undermined efforts to force Los Angeles to deal with what officials describe as potentially lethal deficiencies in earthquake preparation.

That may be changing. Since two back-to-back earthquakes Friday evening — a relatively small one with a magnitude of 3.6, followed by a long and rolling 5.1 quake — Los Angeles has been shaken by nearly 175 smaller aftershocks. It is the first time this area has suffered an earthquake in excess of 5 magnitude since 1997, and it comes two weeks after a 4.4 earthquake jolted residents awake.

None of these quakes caused injuries or widespread damage, other than broken water pipes and some homes that have been declared at least temporarily uninhabitable. But geologists see them as the predictable end of a cycle: a return to what might be an uncomfortable normal in which 5-magnitude earthquakes become routine events.

...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/31/us/for-californians-2-quakes-put-preparedness-back-on-the-map.html

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported on Monday, and they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.

...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/01/science/earth/climate.html

Thursday, 03 April 2014 14:40

The Risk Appetite Dialogue

Risk levels and uncertainty change significantly over time. Competitors make new and sometimes unexpected moves on the board, new regulatory mandates complicate the picture, economies fluctuate, disruptive technologies emerge and nations start new conflicts that can escalate quickly and broadly. Not to mention that, quite simply, stuff happens, meaning tsunamis, hurricanes, floods and other catastrophic events can hit at any time. Indeed, the world is a risky place in which to do business.

Yet like everything else, there is always the other side of the equation. Companies and organizations either grow or face inevitable difficulties in sustaining the business. Value creation is a goal many managers seek, and rightfully so, as no one doubts that successful organizations must take risk to create enterprise value and grow. The question is, how much risk should they take? A balanced approach to value creation means the enterprise accepts only those risks that are prudent to undertake and that it can reasonably expect to manage successfully in pursuing its value creation objectives.

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/the-risk-appetite-dialogue/

Among a whirlwind of course leadership, business development, teaching, writing, and course validations, I found time to present to Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Windsor Debate on ‘The Changing Face of National Security’. My presentation – Cyber Security: Mission Impossible? – was part of a wider programme of discussions by senior military and industry influencers and analysts about the dynamic changes that affect policy and capability.

The event was held at Windsor Castle, a suitable backdrop for discussions concerning the defence and maintenance of the UK’s values and priorities in the face of historic challenges, and looking forward to an uncertain and unpredictable future. The debate was a fantastic opportunity to contribute to and learn from the knowledge and ideas surrounding our resilience for the future. Delegates discussed everything from international stability to aviation security, and from state intelligence to cyber security. As we at Bucks have these subjects firmly in our portfolio, the debates allowed me to contextualise what we think we know about some of these areas – and of course how much we don’t know.

...

http://buckssecurity.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/among-a-whirlwind-of-course-leadership-business-development/

Gavin Butler attended the fourth Future of Cyber Security 2014 conference in London on 20th March 2014 and here’s what he thought about it:

The series of presentations gave a useful overview of the current state of play in cyber security thinking and predictions for the future. Retired Colonel John Doody hosted proceedings and introduced talks from Lord Errol (Merlin) and Chris Gibson from the CERT-UK, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, Barclays Bank, Encode, Allianz and Airwatch. In particular, Chris Gibson’s presentation did provide confidence in that the future of cyber security is indeed in ‘safe hands’ as the CERT-UK seeks to reinforce links with industry and academia and help promote information sharing, such as through CISP, which will enable organisations to take a more ‘resilient’ outlook towards developing their own effective cyber security controls. There is also further scope and recognition for SMEs to adopt concepts from the ‘Cyber Security Strategy’, perhaps as they are now seen as vital to the UK economy and hence ‘critical national infrastructure’?

...

http://buckssecurity.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/the-future-of-cyber-security-2014-is-cyber-resilience/

After disasters like the Oso landslide in Washington State, a common question is why people are allowed to live in such dangerous places. On the website of Scientific American, for example, the blogger Dana Hunter wrote, “It infuriates me when officials know an area is unsafe, and allow people to build there anyway.”

But things are rarely simple when government power meets property rights. The government has broad authority to regulate safety in decisions about where and how to build, but it can count on trouble when it tries to restrict the right to build. “Often, it ends up in court,” said Lynn Highland, a geographer with the United States Geological Survey’s landslide program in Golden, Colo.

Continue reading the main story

Her agency provides scientific information about geologic features and risks, but it has no regulatory authority, and state and local regulations are a patchwork, she said. When disaster strikes, people find that their insurance policies do not cover landslides without special riders that can be ruinously expensive.

...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/29/us/governments-find-it-hard-to-restrict-building-in-risky-areas.html

Sunday, 30 March 2014 16:12

Time Enough to Choose the Right Cloud

How odd that even though we are this deep into the cloud transition, people are still debating the merits of public vs. private vs. hybrid.

If the latest research is to be believed, however, most enterprises have already moved beyond this debate and are actively seeking a variety of cloud-based solutions that will combine the best of the cloud as well as legacy virtual and even physical infrastructure.

Take, for example, CTERA Networks’ recent Cloud Storage Report, which holds that 63 percent of enterprises prefer internal or hosted virtual private cloud solutions over SaaS offerings like Dropbox for their storage and collaboration needs. This is actually a no-brainer – in fact, I’m surprised the number is that low – considering the advantage of keeping critical data safely tucked behind the firewall rather than on a public service. Public services will have their role to play going forward, but they are not likely to house mission-critical data and applications, at least not for long.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/time-enough-to-choose-the-right-cloud.html

Asia Pacific firms are gradually beginning to understand how important big data is for responding to rising customer expectations and becoming customer-obsessed to gain a competitive edge in the age of the customer. Data from our Forrsights Budgets And Priorities Survey, Q4 2013 shows that 40% of organizations across Asia Pacific expect to increase their spending on big data solutions in 2014.

In addition to traditional structured data (from ERP and other core transactional systems), organizations are increasing seeking insight from unstructured data originating in both internal (IM, email) and external (social networks, sensors) sources to enhance the business value of data. But these initiatives pose a significant challenge to security and risk professionals:

 ...

http://blogs.forrester.com/manatosh_das/14-03-27-big_data_initiatives_can_lead_to_big_security_problems_for_asia_pacific_firms

Sunday, 30 March 2014 16:10

Coping With a Cloud Outage

By Samuel Greengard

In recent years, as organizations have embraced cloud computing, CIOs and other executives have witnessed significant gains. In many cases, their enterprises have boosted IT availability, reduced demands on internal infrastructure and notched productivity improvements along with cost savings. Last October, Gartner reported that cloud computing will emerge as the bulk of IT spend by 2016 and half of all cloud services will take a hybrid cloud approach by 2017.

But as more and more organizations drift into the cloud, one fact is perfectly clear: the risk of an outage or outright failure is real, and such an event could have significant repercussions during and after an event. Already, a number of high-profile cloud providers have endured episodic outages and failures, including Amazon Web Services, Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft Azure. In some instances, companies using these products and services haven't just endured downtime, they've also lost data.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/articles/coping-with-a-cloud-outage.html

Sunday, 30 March 2014 16:09

LEAVING BUSINESS CONTINUITY

By Nathaniel Forbes, MBCI, CBCP

Late in 2013 the head of BCM for one of Asia’s largest banks voluntarily transferred within his bank to a job entirely unrelated to BCM. He is the most-experienced, knowledgeable and highest-paid non-expatriate BCM professional I know in Asia.

I wondered why anyone with eleven years of full-time BCM experience and a compensation package the envy of his peers would make such a move. He agreed to answer my questions on-the-record if I didn’t use his name or identify his employer.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1161.html

By Paul Kirvan, FBCI

In March 2014 the business continuity profession lost one of its founding fathers, Ron Ginn, (Hon) FBCI. Although Ron was in his 80s he lived a vigorous life and never lost his passion for the profession he helped create. For a fitting tribute to Ron’s memory, I have compiled thoughts and remembrances from several of Ron’s friends and colleagues, including myself.

As one of the few ‘foreigners’ in the early days of the business continuity profession in the UK and Europe, I became involved in an organization many of you will remember, called Survive! This was instrumental in the growth of the profession in Europe and North America and also in the founding of the Business Continuity Institute. During my many trips to the UK I had the pleasure of meeting Ron Ginn on several occasions. Ron was one of my early mentors and inspirations for my continued involvement in the profession. His enthusiasm was infectious; he really understood the direction that the profession needed to go and was a constant source of encouragement and challenge for all of us who were there in the ‘early days’. I last spoke to Ron during the 2012 BCI World Conference in London, and even in his 80s, Ron was still challenging me to do more in the profession. He was a true inspiration to me, and will be greatly missed.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1163.html

Teon Rosandic, VP EMEA, xMatters, gives a vendor’s view of the developments which are improving the capabilities of emergency notification systems and why traditional one-way mass notification is on the way out.

Many of the mass notification systems that businesses utilise today haven’t changed or evolved since they were originally designed many years ago. It’s the same old thing – put your message in the message box and broadcast it out to everyone in your database. This type of archaic communication system just doesn’t cut it today with more and more incidents and crises that require immediate attention and the need for two way communication at every step of the way.

However, there is new technology available, and there are things that the business continuity and risk manager should consider when looking for a mass notification approach.

This article delves into the ins and outs of what effective mass communication technology can deliver and what the old systems lack.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1160.html

US statesman Benjamin Franklin was famous for many things and for one in particular: his proclamation that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. Well, Benjamin, it seems like modern technology and inflation have conspired to add a couple more items: server crashes and data security breaches. In other words, it’s not a matter of if these events will occur. It’s a matter of when. It’s true that robust quality IT products can push out the when so far that it seems to disappear in the distant future. However, smart organisations make the assumption that both things will happen and take appropriate precautions.

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/server-crashes-and-data-security-breaches-just-like-death-and-taxes/

When Spiceworks surveyed IT professionals recently about their attitudes toward certifications, one of the most interesting data points was that about half of the respondents will be paying for their continuing IT education themselves this year. Only 56 percent said that their employers would pay for training in 2014. But half of the IT pros said they think that certifications are very valuable or extremely valuable to their careers. And 80 percent of them said they plan to complete some training or certification this year. Since having to pay for continuing education yourself often really means you’ll need to find some free or lower-cost training, let’s take a look at a range of vendor-specific, higher education, online and free online training resources. We’ll begin with one of the hottest IT skill sets for 2014:Big Data, aka analytics and/or business intelligence.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/charting-your-it-career/list-of-big-data-certifications-growing-quickly.html

Sunday, 30 March 2014 16:03

Mudslide Was Forewarned, Experts Assert

Even as rescue teams search for more bodies in the aftermath of the March 22 mud slide in Washington, records show that while the area is prone to these disasters, homes were allowed to be built there anyway.

The slide, triggered by excessive rain, has claimed 24 lives so far and 176 are still unaccounted for, the Associated Press reports.

Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington said during a news conference on March 24 that the slide was “completely unforeseen” and that it “came out of nowhere.”

In a 1999 report filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, however, geomorph­ologist Daniel J. Miller and his wife, Lynne Rodgers Miller, warned of “the potential for a large catastrophic failure” in the area, according to the Seattle Times.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/mudslide-was-forewarned-experts-assert/

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 19:44

The Enterprise of Things

Computerworld — The mobile market is moving on. Traditional smartphones and tablets are maturing. The next phase is coming, and it consists of the Internet of Things, a descriptive phrase that includes all manner of smart (and barely smart) devices, often connected wirelessly.

While smartwatches, fitness bands and connected appliances are important, the current focus on consumer products diminishes the fact that the greatest impact this category may have will be on the enterprise. Consumer experimentation will lead the market, but enterprise adaptation will not be far behind. For this reason, I use the term "Enterprise of Things" (or EoT) to describe this next wave that enterprises will need to deal with, even as most still try to adequately cope with the more mature mobile devices already impacting their users, networks and applications.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/750301/The_Enterprise_of_Things

Computerworld — Business groups in a growing number of companies appear to be plowing ahead on data analytics projects with little input or help from their own IT organizations.

Rather than leveraging in-house IT skills and technology, many business groups are using their own data and department-level analysts to cobble together analytics strategies, according to a survey by IDC.

Business managers and IT managers appear to have different assessments of the value enterprise IT organizations bring to big data and data analytics projects. While IT groups see themselves as enablers, business leaders tend to view IT as a stumbling block.

For the study, IDC surveyed 578 line-of-business managers, IT managers, data analysts and business executives.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/750274/Business_Groups_See_IT_Shops_as_Roadblocks_to_Data_Analytics_Projects

IDG News Service (Boston Bureau) — SAP is continuing to merge its HANA in-memory database platform with its Business Warehouse data warehousing software, with the latest update adding support for HANA's real-time data loading services.

Companies with large data warehouses often load information sets at off-peak times, such as in overnight batch jobs. But with the general availability of Business Warehouse 7.4, HANA's "smart data access" services can tap any source within or outside a company as it's needed. SAP is calling the approach an "in-memory data fabric."

The services don't actually physically move data into Business Warehouse; rather, the target sources are viewed as virtual tables. This services provide broader access to data sets, as well as the ability to keep frequently accessed information sets inside the core data warehouse while reaching out to ones that are needed only occasionally as desired.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/750249/SAP_Rolls_Out_39_smart_39_New_Way_to_Do_Data_Warehousing

James Leavesley, outlines why risk managers need to be up to speed with the social media revolution.

Social media is no longer just the latest buzz word or an experiment for creative marketing teams. Organizations are fast recognising the importance of social media from a customer, employee and business partnership perspective. Companies are using blogs, videos, Facebook and Twitter to connect with ‘communities’. However, it only takes one disgruntled customer to take to Twitter, You Tube or Facebook and the results can be costly. Even worse damage can be done by a rogue employee with access to corporate social media accounts and a determination to discredit the company.

So here are five reasons why risk managers should get up to speed with social media and how to control it:

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1159.html

In its latest Bulletin, APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) has provided details of what it is doing to assist regional SMEs to develop business continuity plans.

The Bulletin focuses on a multi-year project launched in 2011 by APEC to enhance the capacity of SMEs to prepare for disasters and to ensure “minimal and tolerable disruption to business operations and supply chains”.

“The main goal of the APEC project is to promote SMEs to establish business continuity plans for sustainable global supply chains,” Johnny Yeh, executive director of the APEC SME Crisis Management Center in Chinese Taipei, told the APEC Bulletin. Mr. Yeh is overseeing the APEC project.

“This is accomplished by training related government, non-profit and private sector organizations in APEC member economies, so they, in turn can train SMEs in their respective economies,” Mr Yeh continued.

As part of the project, experts have developed a simple step-by-step APEC Business Continuity Planning Guidebook for SMEs.

Read the full Bulletin.

Network World — Cisco this week is unveiling two new configurations of its recently-launched Nexus 9000 switches, a new 40G Nexus switch.A In addition, Cisco is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its UCS server.

Cisco also announced certification programs for its new Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) programmable networking product line, which includes the Nexus 9000 switches. ACI is Cisco's non-SDN response to the software-defined networking trend sweeping the industry.

The 16-slot Nexus 9516 and four-slot Nexus 9504 had been expected, and they join the existing eight-slot Nexus 9508. The Nexus 9516 is positioned as an aggregation layer switch for service provider or high-demand deployments, offering 576 wire-speed 40Gbps Ethernet ports and 60Tbps of throughput. It takes up 21 RUs, supports 2,304 10G ports, consumes 11 watts per 40G port, and uses two to four Cisco and/or Broadcom ASICs per line card.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/750237/New_Cisco_Switches_Take_Aim_at_Big_Data_Centers_Data_Applications

CIO — Few deny that the healthcare industry in the U.S. faces tremendous pressure to change. Few deny the role that technology will play in stimulating this change, either.

Uncertainty creeps in, though, when healthcare organizations try to address their healthcare needs. This is especially true of healthcare providers — the hospitals, medical offices, clinics and myriad long-term care facilities that account for roughly 70 percent of healthcare spending and that have spent much of the 21st century rushing to catch up to other vertical industries.

Most providers, says Skip Snow, a senior analyst with Forrester, are "very new to the idea that they have all this structured data in clinical systems." That's largely because, until recently, the mission of the healthcare CIO was ancillary to a provider's core mission. IT often fell under the CFO's domain, Snow says, since it focused so much on business systems.

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http://www.cio.com/article/750183/Forrester_Outlines_IT_Imperatives_for_Healthcare_Providers

It was recently revealed that the personal details of 10,000 asylum-seekers housed in Australia were accidently leaked via the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website. This has damaged asylum-seekers’ trust in the Australian government and, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, potentially put lives at risk. Such incidents represent significant breaches of local regulations and can result in heavy penalties.

Recent amendments to existing privacy laws in Australia and Hong Kong allow each country’s privacy commissioner to enforce significant penalties for repeated or serious data breaches. Countries like Japan and Taiwan, where new privacy laws have been passed and/or existing ones are being enforced more strictly, also assess penalties for noncompliance.

...

http://blogs.forrester.com/manatosh_das/14-03-24-what_asia_pacific_firms_must_learn_from_the_data_privacy_breach_in_australia

It’s funny how some myths continue to be believed, even by hard-nosed business people. The notion that virtualisation will save a company’s data is such a myth. Although it can be valuable in optimising an organisation’s use of IT resources and reacting quickly to changing IT needs, virtual environments are not inherently safer than independent physical servers. But data recovery provider Kroll Ontrack found that 80 percent of companies believe that storing data virtually like this is less or no riskier. Beliefs are one thing, statistics are another. 40 percent of companies using this virtual mode of storage were hit with data loss in 2012 – 2013. What’s going on?

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/why-server-virtualisation-is-not-a-disaster-recovery-plan/

Computerworld — Driven by a very strong belief in the future of software-defined data center technology, Bank of America is steering its IT to almost total virtualization, from the data center to desktop.

The technology does for the entirety of a data center what virtualization did for servers: It decouples hardware from the computing resources. Its goal is to enable users to create, expand and contract computing capability virtually, quickly and efficiently.

The software-defined data center is not yet a reality. But there are enough parts of the technology in place to convince David Reilly, Bank of America's global infrastructure executive, that it is the future.

"The software-defined data center is going to dramatically change how we provide services to our organizations," said Reilly. "It provides an opportunity for, in effect, the hardware to disappear.

"We think it's irresistible, this trend," said Reilly.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/750194/Bank_of_America_Sees_Software_Defined_Data_Centers_as_Irresistible_

Dell yet again signaled its intentions to compete more aggressively in the analytics space with the acquisition today of StatSoft.

With 1,500 customers, StatSoft is the second major analytics acquisition that Dell has made since acquiring Quest Software. In 2012, just prior to being acquired by Dell, Quest Software acquired Kitenga, a provider of high-end analytics software that usually gets applied to Big Data problems.

In contrast, John Whittaker, director of product marketing for Dell Information Management, says StatSoft represents a more mainstream play into the realm of predictive analytics. As there is definitely a blurring of the line these days between analytics applications, Whittaker says customers should expect to see Dell Software being significantly more aggressive in terms of delivering analytics capabilities into the midmarket.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/dell-buys-way-into-predictive-analytics-by-acquiring-statsoft.html

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:50

Improving Cyberattack Response

About a month ago, I reported on a study from Ponemon Institute and AccessData that revealed that most companies are doing a poor job when it comes to detecting and effectively responding to a cyberattack. As Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said in a statement when the report was released:

“When a cyber-attack happens, immediate reaction is needed in the minutes that follow, not hours or days. It’s readily clear from the survey that IR processes need to incorporate powerful, intuitive technology that helps teams act quickly, effectively and with key evidence so their companies’ and clients’ time, resources and money are not lost in the immediate aftermath of the event.”

AccessData’s Chief Cybersecurity Strategist, Craig Carpenter, has been looking at this problem in some depth. We aren’t totally clueless on why these attacks are able to cause tremendous amounts of damage, both financial and reputational, to companies. For example, as information about the Target breach continues to trickle out, we have a pretty good idea of how and why the incident occurred. Our concern now, Carpenter said in a blog post, is fixing these problems. The key, he said, is prioritization and improved integration. In an email to me, Carpenter provided a few steps every company should take to prevent a “Target-like” breach in the future:

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/improving-cyberattack-response.html

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:47

Cassandra Lowers the Barriers to Big Data

InfoWorld — Apache Cassandra is a free, open source NoSQL database designed to manage very large data sets (think petabytes) across large clusters of commodity servers. Among many distinguishing features, Cassandra excels at scaling writes as well as reads, and its "master-less" architecture makes creating and expanding clusters relatively straightforward. For organizations seeking a data store that can support rapid and massive growth, Cassandra should be high on the list of options to consider.

Cassandra comes from an auspicious lineage. It was influenced not only by Google's Bigtable, from which it inherits its data architecture, but also Amazon's Dynamo, from which it borrows its distribution mechanisms. Like Dynamo, nodes in a Cassandra cluster are completely symmetrical, all having identical responsibilities. Cassandra also employs Dynamo-style consistent hashing to partition and replicate data. (Dynamo is Amazon's highly available key-value storage system, on which DynamoDB is based.)

...

http://www.cio.com/article/750171/Cassandra_Lowers_the_Barriers_to_Big_Data

“If you’re not paranoid, you’re not paying attention.” It’s an old joke, but one that rings true as I finish my presentation for this Wednesday’s online webinar with The Disaster Recovery Journal. Here are just three of the danger signals from the 2014 Annual Report on the State of Disaster Recovery Preparedness that I’ll describe during the webinar.

DANGER SIGNAL 1: 3 out of 4 companies worldwide are failing in terms of disaster readiness. Having lots of company will be no consolation for organizations that have failed to respond to the alarming rise in intentional and accidental threats to IT systems.

DANGER SIGNAL 2: More than half of companies worldwide report having lost critical applications or most/all datacenter functionality for hours or even days. Once again, more evidence that business is at-risk for crippling losses.

DANGER SIGNAL 3: Human error is the #2 cause of outages and data loss, reported by 43.5% companies reporting in. How does your disaster recovery plan address this key vulnerability?

The good news? There are specific actions you can take right now to be better prepared to recover your systems in the event of an outage.

...

http://drbenchmark.org/webinar-this-week-the-state-of-disaster-recovery-preparedness/

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, a public/private risk-sharing partnership which is set to expire at the end of 2014, is absolutely critical to maintaining the health of the American economy, according to an updated white paper just released by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

The I.I.I.’s Terrorism Risk: A Constant Threat, Impacts for Property/Casualty Insurers explains that should the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIPRA) be allowed to expire at year-end 2014, this would have a detrimental impact on the availability and affordability of terrorism insurance for businesses.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3607

Monday, 24 March 2014 15:56

Risk Assessment – By the Book

Nothing is more important to developing and maintaining an effective C&E program than risk assessment, and effective risk assessment is, as a general matter, perhaps the most daunting task a C&E officer is likely to face.  The challenges are both conceptual (a surprising lack of consensus on what the point of a risk assessment is) and practical (getting business people and others to be candid and thoughtful about what they may view as unpleasant and unnecessary topics).

But C&E risk assessment has been an expectation of the U.S. government since the 2004 amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations, and anti-corruption compliance standards of other countries are turning these expectations into something of a global mandate. Beyond this, many companies’ C&E programs are in desperate need of some sort of refreshment – and, as much as any program function, a risk assessment can provide a powerful foundation for this.

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/risk-assessment-by-the-book

CIO — IT security is a tricky issue: Too much security -- or too little -- could bankrupt your company. The key is to strike the right balance. These three IT executives share their advice.

Determine Your Investment Best Bets

Martin Gomberg, global director of security, governance and business protection, A&E Networks: Security is a slide switch. Slide it all the way to the right, and nothing will get in, nothing will get out  -- and nothing will get done. Slide it all the way to the left, and we will all have a party, it will be a great day -- but we'll only have one of them. My approach is to find the setting where risk is not too high, nor is risk mitigation an impediment to innovation.

In our industry, the threats are increasing and becoming more targeted, and our ability to protect ourselves is diminishing. Meanwhile, the technologies required for protection are getting more complicated and expensive, capable security staff are more difficult to find, and new laws and regulations are more likely to impose severe penalties for breaches.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/749845/IT_Leaders_Share_Tips_on_Managing_Security_Risks

Computerworld — A few weeks ago, I was happy to hear that Target CIO Beth Jacobs had resigned. This wasn't only because falling on her sword was the right thing to do after her company's massive data breach. The fact that just days earlier I had realized that I was caught up in this mess had something to do with it.

My credit card was used several dozen times at a Mumbai shopping site, and I am convinced that it was compromised in the Target breach. But why didn't my credit card issuer's security algorithms pick up this obvious anomaly? Because I am a frequent traveler, I was told, the charges didn't seem out of the ordinary.

Really? Forty purchases from the same online shopping site didn't seem just a bit suspicious -- even though, in all my travels, I've never been to India?

...

http://www.cio.com/article/750151/When_Will_We_Start_Taking_Security_Seriously_

Think Target and the hit it took when hackers stole the private information of millions, requiring many to update credit cards and the like. It’s a disaster that most executives believe will happen to them–not if, but when. So, that makes it even more amazing to find out that most executives think, according a study published in the Economist, that two thirds of CEOs think a good response to such an attack will enhance their reputation.

PRNewser from mediabistro reporting on the Economist story notes that while 66% think they will come out of such an event smelling like a rose, only 17% surveyed say they are “fully prepared.”

Hootsuite, perhaps the best social media management and monitoring tool that I know of, today experienced a hack attack in the form of a Denial of Service attack. One client emailed me Ryan Holmes’ response. The CEO of Hootsuite was fast, empathetic, transparent and almost completely on target. (Only thing missed in my mind was an apology, but perhaps he felt there was nothing to apologize for and he may be right).

...

http://ww2.crisisblogger.com/2014/03/can-cyberattacks-improve-your-reputation/

I’ve seen some hefty price tags associated with poor data quality, but I have to say, last year’s figure from the Ministry of Defence may take the prize. The UK agency was told “it was at risk of squandering a £1 billion in investments in IT because of dire data quality” last year, according to Martin Doyle, the Data Quality Improvement Evangelist for DQ Global.

This year, another UK agency, the National Health Service (NHS), is under scrutiny for sharing data without consent. Names and addresses may have been taken from the database and sold for studies, which meant it was uploaded to third-party cloud storage services, according to Doyle.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the NHS is also working on a project called Care.data, which is a centralized hub for patient care records. The NHS has “problems recalling exactly who has all of this patient information already, suggesting it has bigger problems to solve,” he writes. This issue has triggered a backlog in patient care.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/bad-data-quality-more-problems-for-the-uk.html

The cloud is the latest juggernaut to sweep the enterprise IT industry, and if you ask most experts, the expectation is that the entire data universe will one day reside on distributed virtual architecture.

At the moment, however, the vision has not been completely sold to the people who build and maintain enterprise corporate environments.

According to new data from 451 Research at the behest of Microsoft, more than 45 percent of IT executives consider their organizations to be beyond the pilot phase of cloud computing, with at least half of that group saying they are “heavy” cloud users. However, only 6 percent have labeled the cloud as the default platform for new applications, while only 18 percent turn to the cloud regularly for new projects. All of this suggests that while the enterprise has embraced the cloud with open arms, the vast majority are using it for low-value or non-critical functions – hardly the new data paradigm that has been touted so far.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-long-and-the-short-of-the-enterprise-cloud.html

In a white paper entitled ‘Are public agencies better prepared to deal with crises in 2014?’ Noggin IT has released findings from a survey of US organizations.

The survey, conducted in late 2013, reveals an increasingly complex environment for those in crisis management due to greater regulatory compliance, Internet-connected stakeholders, more unpredictable weather events and political and financial volatility, where technology is key to improving organizational resilience and business continuity.

James Boddam-Whetham, managing director Noggin IT says “We are seeing a situation where public agencies are being required to do more with less. Some of the interesting pain points that came out of this survey were that actual crisis management team activation was still a struggle for many organizations; as was the broader issue of employee communications during a crisis. Both point to a perhaps overlooked consideration for a crisis management software solution: can it actually assist you manage your internal people affairs during a crisis. Much of the emphasis for crisis management systems has been on informing the public, or alerts and notifications, rather than necessarily getting the internal ship in order. An ability to organise internal stakeholders would therefore seem to be a logical consideration for any crisis management solution.”

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07141.html

Monday, 24 March 2014 15:49

BCI launches new senior membership grade

The Business Continuity Institute has announced the creation of a new ‘Associate Fellow’ (AFBCI) senior membership grade for those people who have reached a senior level in the business continuity profession but have concentrated more on developing their practical working experience rather than specifically contributing to the development of the Institute or the discipline.

The AFBCI grade sits between MBCI and FBCI. Applicants must fit into either of the following criteria:

  • A current MBCI held for a minimum of 3 years;
  • A current MBCP credential held for at least 3 years with the DRII.

The applicant must also:

  • Be currently working in business continuity management;
  • Have a minimum of seven years working experience within the discipline and knowledge across all six BCI Professional Practices;
  • Have three years of CPD completed using the BCI’s CPD system or CPEs through the DRII system if using MBCP to apply (These must be the three years previous to year application);
  • Complete a full scored assessment application process.

If you would like more information or would like to request an application form, please contact membership@thebci.org

PC World — Each time there's a high-profile data breach, security experts exhort the same best practices: Create unique logins for every service you use, use complex passwords, vigilantly comb your credit card statements for anomalies. The advice is sound. Unfortunately, it obscures the fact that the safety of your personal information is ultimately in the hands of companies you share it with.

Identity theft is changing. Customer databases are a treasure trove of personal information and much more efficient for hackers to target than individuals. In this new landscape, the guidelines security experts--and journalists like me--espouse are really just damage-control measures that minimize the impact of a successful attack after the fact, but do absolutely nothing to protect your personal data or financial information from the attack itself.

Look back on some of the major data breach incidents of 2013. Adobe was hacked, and attackers gained access to customer account information for nearly 150 million users, as well as credit-card information from nearly three million customers. Target was hacked, and the credit- or debit-card details for 40 million customers were exposed. In those cases, there was little any individual consumer could have done to prevent being affected by those data breaches.

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http://www.cio.com/article/750139/In_the_Big_Data_Breach_Era_the_Safety_of_Your_Personal_Data_is_Ultimately_Out_of_Your_Hands

Computerworld UK — Big data analytics tools will be crucial to enterprise security as criminals deploy faster and more sophisticated methods to steal valuable data, according to security firm RSA.

"We are really at the beginning of intelligence-driven security: it is just the tip of the iceberg. Looking forward we are going to have to be smarter [to deal with threats], and we are going to be looking at better data science," said RSA's head of knowledge delivery and business development, Daniel Cohen.

"It's not 'if' we are going to be breached, but 'when' we are going to be breached, so there is a need to focus more on detection. We saw with the Target breach it was the human factor that slipped there, so we have to be able to bring in more automation."

The number of successful attacks against high-profile businesses have clearly increased in recent years, with the compromise of Target's point of sale systems just one example of the variety of methods that cyber criminals are using to steal data on a large scale.

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http://www.cio.com/article/750126/Big_Data_Analytics_the_Future_of_IT_Security_

IBM moved today to take a bigger bite out of fraud by combining various pieces of software and services into a common framework that is simpler to deploy.

Rick Hoene, worldwide fraud solutions leader for IBM Global Services, says that while IBM has been delivering technologies to fight fraud for over 20 years, the scope of criminal fraud activity now requires a more integrated approach. To that end, IBM is launching a Smarter Counter Fraud initiative, which isbased on IBM Counter Fraud Management Software and existing assets. This combination creates a single offering that is simpler to both acquire and install.

Based on IBM’s Big Data analytics technologies, the IBM software is designed to aggregate data from external and internal sources and apply analytics in ways to prevent, identify and investigate suspicious activity. It includes analytics that identify non-obvious relationships between entities, visualization technology that identifies patterns of fraud, and machine-learning software to help prevent future occurrences of fraud based on previous discoveries.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/ibm-launches-smarter-counter-fraud-initiative.html

While Hadoop may make Big Data more accessible, the setting up of a Hadoop cluster on commodity servers is not particularly simple.

To help IT organizations automate that process, Continuuity today announces it is contributing Loom, cluster management software that automates the process of provisioning a Hadoop cluster, to the open source community.

Continuuity CEO Jonathan Gray says it is a byproduct of the company’s effort to provide an application development environment for Hadoop that can be deployed on a private or public cloud. As customers began to build applications on the Continuuity platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment, it became apparent they needed help with the DevOps elements of Hadoop.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/continuuity-contributes-hadoop-provisioning-tool-to-open-source.html

Monday, 24 March 2014 15:44

Big Data Funding Spree Continues

Network World — Venture capital firms continue to funnel big sums of money to big data startups.

Most recently, Cloudera raised $160 million in new financing from investors including T. Rowe Price and Google Ventures. The latest round for Cloudera (which offers its own distribution of Hadoop plus integrated tools) brings its total funding to $300 million.

On the same day Cloudera announced its venture capital windfall, analytics startup Platfora announced funding of its own. Platfora, based in San Mateo, closed a $38 million round from investors including Tenaya Capital, Citi Ventures, Cisco and Allegis Capital. The latest round brings Platfora's total financing to $65 million.

Platfora's analytics and visualization software is designed to run on top of Hadoop; existing customers include DirecTV, Disney, and The Washington Post.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/750106/Big_Data_Funding_Spree_Continues

CIO — HR professionals and recruiters continue to rely on big data to refine the application and hiring process. They are tapping data analytics to predict ROI, performance and likely behavior. However, with so much valuable data available, it's easy to gloss over one of the most important parts of the recruiting process: the human element.

Focusing on "small data" can not only improve the speed and efficiency of your hiring process and pinpoint obstacles in your organization, it can make it easier to find passive talent candidates.

"It's been so exciting over the last few years to see the number of data collection and analysis tools growing, and I have no problem with using those tools," says Jason Berkowitz, vice president of client services at Seven Step Recruiting Process Outsourcing (RPO.)

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http://www.cio.com/article/750070/Small_Data_Plays_a_Big_Role_in_IT_Recruiting

Companies invest in enterprise risk management to identify, analyze, respond to and monitor risks and opportunities in their internal and external environments. These investments maximize opportunities, help avoid nasty surprises and provide reasonable assurance on the achievement of the organization’s objectives.

Established risk assessment processes can suffer from stale thinking in identifying and evaluating risks, especially risks that are ever-changing. Here are five ways to refresh your process, push thinking beyond the “known knowns” and improve the quality of thinking in your risk assessment process.

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http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/five-ways-to-fine-tune-your-risk-assessment/

In the 1980s, the average annual cost of natural disasters worldwide was $50 billion. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy met that mark in two days. As it tore through New York and New Jersey on its journey up the east coast, Sandy became the second-most expensive hurricane in American history, causing in a few hours what just a generation ago would have been a year’s worth of disaster damage.

Sandy’s huge price tag fit a trend: Natural disasters are costing more and more money. See the graph below, which shows the global tally of disaster expenses for the past 24 years. It’s courtesy of Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies, which maintains a widely used global loss data set. (All costs are adjusted for inflation.)

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http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/disasters-cost-more-than-ever-but-not-because-of-climate-change/

Business Continuity specialist Vocal has announced that it has been shortlisted for a BCI North America Award in the ‘Business Continuity Innovation of the Year’ category, after nominating its product ‘Command’ for the accolade.

“Command has spent many months in development, and years in its realisation, so this recognition is very important to us” says Vocal’s Trevor Wheatley-Perry. “It’s a truly unique and highly revolutionary solution, because it means that for the first time, any organisation, of any size, anywhere in the world can precisely replicate and manage its operations, systems, and processes during an incident.”Vocal Shortlist BCI North America Awards

Built on Vocal’s award-winning iModus platform, Command is an easy-to-use tool which offers Vocal’s clients a comprehensive overview of their business continuity plans and fixed assets, a multi-faceted communications system to relay processes to people instantly, and a full audit of decisions made and actions taken during an incident. With hopes to implement the solution across a diverse range of new industries in 2014, the shortlist for the prestigious BCI Award has come at precisely the right time.

“The BCI North America Awards recognise the outstanding contributions of organisations and individual professionals working in the USA and Canada’s business continuity industry,” Trevor continues.

“It’s fantastic to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award, and as all winners are automatically entered into the BCI Global Awards, being considered for this accolade might turn into some even more exciting opportunities in the future.”

The BCI North America Awards event will be held as part of the Disaster Recovery Journal Spring World Show 2014, a four-day industry gathering which begins on 30 March in Orlando, USA.

About Vocal:

Vocal is recognised throughout the world as a trusted innovator of multi award-winning and proven business continuity and communication solutions. In 2007, Vocal launched iModus; the first fully integrated business continuity suite encompassing Notification, Planning, Mapping, Alerting, Staff Safety and Incident Management modules. A multi award-winning solution, iModus was selected as the emergency messaging system for incident management during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On March 12th, 2014, Everbridge, the leader in Unified Critical Communications, acquired Vocal. The strategic acquisition further elevates Everbridge’s status as the world’s largest provider of emergency notification and critical communication solutions. With the addition of Vocal, Everbridge now offers the broadest product family in the industry, delivered through 12 distributed datacenters, and supported by employees in seven offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. The combined entity will serve more than 2,500 global clients who use the solution to communicate with over 50 million unique end-users every year.

About Command:

COMMAND is all about actions; the ability to plan ahead and see what will actually happen, in any scenario, at any time. Built on the iModus platform, COMMAND has communications at its core; relaying processes according to the people who need to know, and manipulating data according to exacting operations and processes. We believe that COMMAND is the most exciting innovation the industry has seen in recent years, a new language that will transform the way incidents are managed across the world.

While it is highly innovative, COMMAND is beautiful in its apparent simplicity. It replicates a flow chart of any organisation’s process mapping systems, actions and priorities for varying scenarios are pre-set, one action at a time so that in even in the worst set of circumstances, an untrained member of staff could use the system to confidently and effectively respond to a business interruption.

COMMAND will eliminate the compromises involved in paper processes. It will allow any organisation to build a resilient framework, step-by-step and layer-by-layer according to its processes. The added incentive here is being able to test, measure and evaluate as part of the process, leaving no stone unturned.  

Key Features of Command:

  • Automatic Workflow at the touch of a button
  • Bespoke Software
  • Precision Management
  • Double Edged: Joint role of director and recorder

CIO — The best practices and technologies involved with data loss prevention (DLP) on mobile devices aim to protect data that leaves the security of the corporate network. Data can be compromised or leaked for a variety of reasons: Device theft, accidental sharing by an authorized user or outright pilferage via malware or malicious apps.

The problems associated with mobile data loss have been compounded by the uptick in employees bringing their own devices to work, whether they have permission from IT or not. In a BYOD situation, the user owns the device, not the organization, and makes security somewhat trickier for IT to establish and maintain.

At a minimum, any mobile device that accesses or stores business information should be configured for user identification and strong authentication, should run current anti-malware software and must use virtual private networking (VPN) links to access the corporate network.

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http://www.cio.com/article/749865/5_Ways_to_Prevent_Data_Loss_in_Mobile_Environments

IDG News Service (Bangalore Bureau) — Brazil's lawmakers have agreed to withdraw a provision in a proposed Internet law, which would have required foreign Internet companies to host data of Brazilians in the country.

The provision was backed by the government in the wake of reports last year of spying by the U.S. National Security Agency, including on communications by the country's President Dilma Rousseff.

The legislation, known as the "Marco Civil da Internet," will be modified to remove the requirement for foreign companies to hold data in data centers in Brazil, according to a report on a website of the Brazilian parliament.

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http://www.cio.com/article/750024/Brazil_to_Drop_Requirement_That_Internet_Firms_Store_Data_Locally

Businesses can’t function if they don’t have customers. When customers find other solutions and move away, it’s therefore a threat to business continuity. Conventional banks may be at risk if a new development in online-only banking takes off. Startup ‘Simple’ (that’s the company’s name) for instance is giving clients an innovative alternative. Its solution is to eliminate fees, move all the banking activity to the Internet and offer online apps to help track budgets and finances. It makes its money from interest charges and internetwork payments, but can work with lower margins than conventional bricks-and-mortar banks that must pay for the operation of high street branches. Is this the end of the old-style banks?

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http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/new-business-continuity-lessons-for-banks-and-others-too/

Rudyard Kipling once said, “If history were told in the forms of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Could the same be true for your data?

Mike Cavaretta argues that it is true. Cavaretta is a veteran data scientist, as well as a manager at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. In a recent GigaOm column, he says telling a good story is key to helping others understand your data.

“Many analytics presentations crash and burn because no one answered the question, ‘So what?’” he writes. “Almost as bad are the presentations with dense formulas and a single R2 value. Take your audience on a data journey.”

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/veteran-data-scientist-offers-tips-for-analytics-success.html

Despite 77 percent of companies suffering an incident in the past two years, over a third of firms (38 percent) still have no incident response plan in place should an incident occur.

Arbor Networks, Inc., has published the results of an Economist Intelligence Unit survey on the issue of incident response preparedness that it sponsored. The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 360 senior business leaders, the majority of whom (73 percent) were C-level management or board members from across the world, with 31 percent based in North America, 36 percent in Europe and 29 percent in Asia-Pacific.

The report entitled ‘Cyber incident response: Are business leaders ready?’ shows that despite 77 percent of companies suffering an incident in the past two years, over a third of firms (38 percent) still have no incident response plan in place should an incident occur. Only 17 percent of businesses globally are fully prepared for an online security incident.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07136.html

The global energy sector is increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and hacking, due to the widespread adoption of Internet-based, or ‘open’, industrial control systems (ICS) to reduce costs, improve efficiency and streamline operations in next-generation infrastructure developments.

According to the Marsh Risk Management Research paper, ‘Advanced Cyber Attacks on Global Energy Facilities’, energy firms are being disproportionately targeted by increasingly sophisticated hacker networks that are motivated by commercial and political gain.

Releasing the paper at Marsh’s bi-annual National Oil Companies (NOC) conference being held in Dubai, Andrew George, Chairman of Marsh’s Global Energy Practice, commented:

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07137.html