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In a recent joint advisory issued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight it was recommended, among other things, that “firms should consider keeping their business continuity plans, contact lists and other necessary documents, procedures and manuals at the alternative site, ideally in paper form in the event that electronic files cannot be accessed.”

In response to the above, Continuity Central carried out a survey asking the question:“How important are paper-based business continuity plans?” Altogether 118 responses were received.


The results

55.6 percent of respondents believe that paper based business continuity plans are essential; 24.8 percent say that they are ‘quite important’; and 19.7 percent say that they are ‘not important’.

There was some variation of opinion depending on the size of the respondent’s organization. 57.3 percent of business continuity professionals in large organizations see paper-based BCPs as essential; this drops to 42.9 percent in medium-sized organizations and 50 percent in small organizations. However, 63.6 percent of those in micro organizations say that paper-based BCPs are essential.



BSI is conducting a public consultation to seek views on BS ISO 37500:2013, the first international standard for outsourcing.

'BS ISO 37500:2013 Guidance on outsourcing' has been developed by outsourcing experts globally and is intended to provide recognized guidelines for an outsourcing project.

BS ISO 37500 captures the main concepts and terms, phases, processes and governance aspects of outsourcing, independent of size or sector, and for each phase gives information for the client side as well as the provider side. It includes detailed guidance on assessment and management of outsourcing risks, including two risk management checklists on:

  • Outsourcing risk assessment
  • Risks per outsourcing life cycle phase.

The commenting period closes on 31st October 2013.

Take part at http://drafts.bsigroup.com/Home/Details/51735

Developing risk maps, heat maps and risk rankings based on subjective assessments of the severity of impact of potential future events and their likelihood of occurrence is common practice. These approaches provide an overall picture of the risks, seem simple and understandable enough to most people, are often the result of a systematic process and provide a rough profile of the organization’s risks.

Typical attributes of a risk map include: governing objectives drawn from a business strategy or plan that provides a context for the assessment, a common risk language that provides a perspective for understanding risk and predetermined criteria for conducting an assessment. While everyone agrees that an effective risk assessment should never end with just a list of risks, it is not unusual for traditional risk assessments to hit a wall, leaving decision makers with a list and little insight as to what to do next. In addition, there is the common complaint that risk assessments rarely surface an “a-ha!” that alters senior management’s view of the world.



CIO — As federal CIOs ramp up initiatives in hot IT areas like cloud computing and virtualization, they are looking to dramatically reduce the number of data centers the government maintains around the country, though officials acknowledge that that effort will take years to complete as agencies work through a litany of challenges.

For starters, the sheer size of the government's IT apparatus -- roughly $80 billion annually -- poses a challenge of a scale that dwarfs any single entity in the private sector.



In September, the Information Security Forum (ISF) released a report, “Managing BYOD Risk: Staying Ahead of Your Mobile Workforce,” which found that many companies, in their rush to institute some kind of BYOD security policy, often neglected or rushed risk management. Incomplete or ineffective policies in effect leave the company open to threats against its network. Instead, ISF encourages organizations to take an “info-centric” approach to BYOD policy.

I had the chance to speak with Steve Durbin, global vice president of ISF about the report.

Poremba: When talking about risk management in terms of BYOD, what exactly do you mean? Is it just good security practices or something more?



Thursday, 03 October 2013 17:09

Shining a Light on Dark Data

Data is exploding. The variety of data being created by workers inside and outside of the workplace and the velocity at which that data is being shared makes corporate compliance officers sleep with one eye open, because uncontrolled data equals unknown risk, and the unknown is scary. Think about it – in addition to the terabytes of data lurking in companies’ disparate systems, organizations today are creating new content that is expected to drive 60 percent growth in enterprise data stores (Worldwide Big Data Technology and Services 2012-2015 Forecast, Mar 2012, IDC).

Most corporate compliance officers are concerned with the latter – newly created data is the shiny object grabbing attention. However, equal focus needs to be placed on legacy data (sometimes known as dark data), which is often unknown, unmanaged, and may be out of compliance with internal or external requirements. Many organizations today are dealing with information sprawl by throwing more storage at the problem – accepting the risk as a cost of doing business – or by simply ignoring it. None are ideal measures to protect the organization. In fact, 31 percent of organizations report that poor electronic recordkeeping is causing problems with regulators and auditors (Information Governance- Records, Risks, and Retention in the Litigation Age. AIIM 2013).  Further, the cost of an individual data breach costs organizations an average $5.5 million (2011 Cost of Data Breach Study: Ponemon Institute 2011).  There are also countless examples of fines, sanctions or adverse inference decisions being triggered by data being accidentally lost or mishandled.

To get a handle on dark data, it is first important to understand what it is. Dark data can take many forms, including both structured data (machine-created information that typically fits in rows and columns) and unstructured data (human-generated information that is much more difficult to search). It can also come in many formats and reside in many places, making it more difficult to access. It can be amassed simply because of our reliance on cheap storage or because of special circumstances like M&A. In virtually all cases, legacy data poses legal, regulatory and internal risk if it isn’t managed effectively.



Thursday, 03 October 2013 17:08

Emerging wireless risks to consider

Ian Kilpatrick considers the risks to businesses from the proliferation of wireless access points and discusses the benefits of deploying secure access points, which are directly linked to gateway security.

Wireless, mobility and BYOD are all part of an unstoppable wave, based on widespread consumer and remote worker usage. With the new faster wireless standard, 802.11ac, due to be approved in November this year, and with 4G continuing to grow, demand for fast wireless in the workplace will increase inexorably.

While this creates multiple opportunities, it also creates a great many challenges. If, for example, your existing wireless network is insecure, building on that base of sand is always going to fail.

Historically, for many organizations, both large and small, wireless was a tactical solution to a user-driven demand for laptop (and subsequently smartphone and tablet) mobility in the office.



Based on current disaster trends and economic values, the world is looking at a minimum cost in the region of 25 trillion dollars in disaster losses for the 21st century if there is no concerted response to climate change, one which puts the emphasis on practical measures to reduce disaster risk and exposure to future extreme events. This is according to a statement by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).



CIO — The announcement last month that cloud storage provider Nirvanix was closing up shop set off a wave of hysteria in the IT world and sparked speculation about the viability of cloud storage as an option for businesses.

The fear is understandable given the value of business data. However, with proper contingency planning and a solid backup/disaster recovery plan, such a closure doesn't have to be a big deal.

Buzzword Backlash

"This is not remarkable -- it has happened before. Just to name a few, EMC, Sun, Iron Mountain, a lot of 'big' companies have shut down solutions -- even cloud storage solutions- shuttered divisions, and ended the lifecycle of products with a huge install base," says Nicos Vekiarides, co-founder and CEO of Natick, Mass.-based cloud storage provider TwinStrata.

"What's different in this case is the quickness with which it happened, and I think there's certainly a lot of hysteria surrounding this announcement simply because it involves the cloud," Vekiarides says.



Whether or not rules are made to be broken, company policies are made to be reviewed. What was suitable for an organisation a few years ago may be out of date with requirements now. Paradoxically, this is an instance where business continuity management needs to introduce some discontinuity, to avoid the enterprise getting stuck in what could be an inefficient and even dangerous rut. A policy to use only one vendor’s IT equipment could stifle enthusiasm among employees who now want to work using their own devices. On the other hand, a policy of free access to company premises could now leave the company at risk of violating health and safety procedures.  The first question is – where do you start?



Data protection is a huge concern for any company. For SMBs, many challenges to protecting virtualized data may not be as pertinent in the enterprise, but they still create a seemingly insurmountable problem. According to the Veeam Annual Data Protection Report for 2013 (registration required for download), surveyed SMBs said the key points of contention within the realm of protecting their virtualized data are:

  • Cost (85 percent)
  • Capability (83 percent)
  • Complexity (80 percent)

The report covered a wide array of business industries, including manufacturing (28 percent), business and professional service providers (23 percent), retail and distribution (20 percent), and financial service providers (16 percent). All others not in these categories made up 12 percent of the sample. IT executives, including CIOs, from 500 SMB organizations from the U.S., UK, France and Germany were questioned.



CIO — It's difficult to talk about big data without also discussing the big data skills gap in nearly the same breath. But is it as bad as it seems?

According to a recent CompTIA survey of 500 U.S. business and IT executives, 50 percent of firms that are ahead of the curve in leveraging data, and 71 percent of firms that are average or lagging in leveraging data, feel that their staff are moderately or significantly deficient in data management and analysis skills.

These firms see real costs associated with a failure to come to grips with their data, from wasted time that could be spent on other areas of their business to internal confusion over priorities, lost sales, lack of agility and more.



When I first started writing about Big Data, I was very curious about use cases. But CIOs, it seemed, were not. For many, Big Data provided an answer to problems they’d long struggled to solve.

So, Big Data wasn’t a hard sale for most IT organizations.

But investing in a Big Data tool is one thing: Learning to really leverage the data sets is quite another.



Generally, any large company with a varied set of products has a communications department, but the name doesn’t accurately reflect what that unit does. I think this is about to change in a major way as technologies come together from a variety of companies to finally make “communications” not only more accurate, but also a much more strategic element of the modern company. I don’t think I’m the only person who sees a massive change coming. IBM has announced its intent to acquire Now Factory, which could give it a lead position in this new world of communications. Let’s talk about why communications departments don’t communicate and how that will change dramatically in the coming years.



by: Ben J. Carnevale, Managing Editor

Wherever applicable, many organizations might well need to have solid business continuity plans and strong risk management teams in place to deal with the federal government shutdown.

One of most important things an organization may need to with the federal government shutdown is to consider the risks posed to that organization under such shutdown conditions.

Risk Register

One example might be that of a multi-national manufacturer working closely with the Department of Energy, Department of Defense and/or the intelligence community — one of the first things such a manufacturer might do is to take the threat of a government shutdown and place it on their “risk register” or any kind of identifiable early warning system that their business continuity plan might have for putting their organization on notice or at least putting this potential incident on the agenda for the next BC/DR or disaster preparedness team meeting.

According to JDSUPRA.com in an articled hededCQ Employees Who Work Abroad: Are They Covered by U.S. Employment Laws?, “just because an employee works beyond U.S. borders doesn’t automatically exempt him from the protections of the various federal employment statutes. This article provides a brief overview of the applicability (or inapplicability) of the major federal employment laws—Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—to employees working abroad.”

Some of the U.S. laws apply even when the employee is working for an organization only controlled by a U.S. company.

According to the article from Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, , not everyone working outside the U.S.’ borders are protected by Title VII, ADAAA, and ADEA. Excluded from the laws’ protections are “non-U.S. citizens even if they’re working abroad for an American employer or a foreign corporation controlled by an American employer, and U.S. citizens working abroad for foreign entities that are not controlled by an American employer.”



Wednesday, 02 October 2013 17:23

Scenario modeling is anything but a guess

Emergency management professionals say,  “The plan is useless, but the planning is priceless.”  There is a lesson in there for risk managers and it’s about the value of scenario modeling.

In 2010, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) conducted a study to determine the likelihood and impact of a hurricane hitting New Orleans. FEMA assembled the paramedics, fire department, emergency room doctors, parish officials, and other responders in a hotel in New Orleans for "Hurricane Pam". Their goal was to plan for the worst-case scenario. The group was given the following scenario:



Wednesday, 02 October 2013 17:21

5 Ways to Disaster-Proof Your Data Backups

PC World — The anniversary of Hurricane Sandy reminds us that businesses can fall victim to the forces of nature. Whether it's a blaze that burns through your office, or a flash flood that sends water coursing through your server room, disasters can hit at any time, and the most likely casualty is your data.

According the U.S. Small Business Administration, 25 percent of businesses never reopen after being hit by a disaster. But you can beat the odds by designing a backup plan that protects against worst-case scenarios. On the data storage front, having a single backup is not sufficient when the survival of your business hangs in the balance, so consider implementing at least two backup strategies.



Wednesday, 02 October 2013 17:04

Recalculating the Big Storage Equation

Following up on my post regarding the need to upgrade data center infrastructure to capitalize on emerging cloud technologies, there is no question that local data systems will continue to play a key role as data environments become more distributed. But that doesn’t mean the enterprise data center will continue to exist in its present form, or that the systems and architectures that have served so well in the past will continue to provide optimal service in the future.

Storage is a key example. The traditional approach to storage was to invest in massive arrays of either disk or tape drives capable of providing not only adequate coverage for current “hot data” needs but long-term storage and archiving purposes, as well. The cloud has already upended that equation by providing virtually unlimited scale at relatively low cost, and just in time for the oncoming rush of Big Data that would have likely overwhelmed all but the largest local storage systems in the data center.



Now, I’m not saying press releases are dead. That debate went on several years ago. There’s a time and a place for a press release. But, there’s not much time and place for one in crisis communication. Yet, over and over and over I see plans where everything is focused on getting out a press release. There may be some other things in there, like maybe talking to the community–eventually, maybe even using social media (as long as it doesn’t get ahead of getting out the press release and only if God and everyone below Him/Her approves it).

If you are responsible for your organization’s crisis plan, look at it right now and answer this question straight out: is this focused on the media and getting out press releases or holding press conferences? If so, stuff it in the 1990s files where it belongs and get it updated.

Did the Boston Police hold press conferences during the manhunt? Yep, and some media were there and some of the coverage was carried. But, that was hours after the real story came out and that means hours after much of the media and public interest went away. The media needed those press conference so they could get a little fresh video of the faces involved to add to their story if something new came up. But that’s about it.



An article on the NJ.com site hededcq Boardwalk's unique aspects challenge firefighters reminds that it pays to invite emergency service/public safety personnel – EMTs, fire, police – to participate in risk management planning.

In some instances, e.g., where HAZMAT is on site, this interface with public safety departments may be mandated by local law. In all cases, it is just (a) good business practice, (b) common sense, or (c), both. Failure to include emergency services is foolish and can be costly.

Inviting public safety personnel to visit facilities benefits the organization both in the immediate term and in the event of an “incident.”



Wednesday, 02 October 2013 17:00

ERP Systems Provide Visibility Into Food Safety

As food production gets increasingly complicated, food manufacturers often struggle to track products from raw materials to packaged goods – and, in the event of a recall, from packaged goods to raw materials. Even those with automated quality systems often find it hard to integrate supply chain data. That's why some food makers are turning to specialized ERP systems.


CIO — Love & Quiches Desserts, based in Freeport, N.Y., had different priorities than the typical enterprise resource planning (ERP) customer.

ERP buyers often look at capabilities such as sales, procurement and financials. Love & Quiches focused on another attribute when it replaced its aging ERP system in 2012: The capability to track its treats in detail through the various stages of manufacturing.

"We never worried about the [general ledger] platform, but from the standpoint of being able to document full traceability," Love & Quiches CFO Corey Aronin says.



Did you know that the ‘uncrackable’ 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-128) in fact turns out to be crackable? Granted, it would currently take 2 billion years using an enormous number (like a trillion) of computers. But before you heave a sigh of relief on behalf of your organisation’s information, think again. That’s the situation when nobody knows the encryption key you are using. What would the impact be on your business continuity if your key was known by other people who also were prepared to pass that information on to perfect strangers? If you are using services such as encrypted cloud data storage or online password managers, it may be time to find out more.



Mixed signals about the cloud and security abound. A private cloud is more secure than a public cloud, for instance, but most experts would advise against storing critical data in any type of cloud format. And like anything to do with data security, the cloud will always bring risk—particularly when you have to trust a third party (the cloud host) to protect your data.

Many of us use cloud services like Dropbox or Google Docs because they make basic file sharing simple and they are free. But when I use these services, I also recognize that security is spotty. However, I also don’t have to worry about a company network, just my own. Many companies have policies in place to protect their networks from security issues that can crop up with use of these free, consumer-driven cloud services. According to a new survey from SafeNet Labs, however, too many people, including top executives, aren’t following their company’s cloud policies.

Worse is that while employees, including the C-level executives, understand the risk in using cloud services, too many simply don’t care. In fact, executives may be the worst offenders. Some of the key points of the Cloud App Usage vs Data Privacy Survey include:



Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:59

CTOs, Don't Neglect the C-Suite

Chief technology officers can't be all about technology. Building trust with the rest of the C-suite should be a top goal.


Computerworld — As a chief technology officer, you're good at technology; the C-suite wouldn't have hired you without that. But you can't be all about technology. It's even more important to understand the dynamics -- and oftentimes the politics -- of the C-suite. It's your No. 1 client.

Treat your C-suite colleagues as internal ambassadors. While they're all expected to be aligned with the organization's strategic goals, each of them represents a department that has its own vision, responsibilities, strengths and plans for success. The CTO has to be able to hear and understand all of those points of view and develop trusting relationships with everyone else in the C-suite. Why? Because your C-suite colleagues have the power to advocate on your behalf. And how do you build trust? These things all help:



Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:57

4 Ways CIOs Can to Respond to a Service Outage

Nasdaq and Intermedia are among the latest firms to suffer lengthy – and public – service outages. Eventually, the same thing will happen to you. Here are four key lessons IT leaders can learn from others' mistakes.


CIO — Clearly, it hasn't been a good few weeks for Nasdaq. First, trading on the exchange halted for more than three hours on Aug. 22. Nasdaq's brief post-mortem statement blames a software bug and a backup system that failed to actually activate when a fault was detected. However, Reuters reports that a person familiar with what happened says connection problems with NYSE Euronext's Arca Exchange triggered the entire event.

Adding insult to injury, Nasdaq suffered a six-minute outage on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Though it involved the same system that was the culprit of the larger outage, a Nasdaq statement says "hardware memory failure in a back-end server" caused this outage.



Improving the data center to keep up with advancing technologies has been the chief, perennial responsibility of CIOs over the years. These days, however, the job has taken on a new twist as new questions arise: Is the data center the best platform to boost enterprise productivity? Do we need a data center at all anymore?

Most large organizations seem to be solidly in the owned-and-operated camp when it comes to the data center, but the farther into the SMB space we go, the certainty starts to waiver. Clearly, the reliance on traditional physical-layer infrastructure is under serious assault across the board. According to MarketsandMarkets, spending on software-defined data center (SDDC) technology will jump from about $400 million today to $5.41 billion by 2018, reflecting the enterprise’s desire to not only improve operational capabilities but to integrate in-house infrastructure with the broader cloud ecosystem.



LINCROFT, N.J. – When a major disaster strikes, the first steps agencies take are health and safety related – controlling damage, minimizing casualties, finding shelter for displaced victims.

When the initial burst of activity has subsided, the focus changes to helping affected people and businesses get vital information on recovery plans and financial assistance. Helping people cope with the aftermath of a disaster and teaching them how to prepare for future emergencies also becomes a priority.Senior couple standing at a table talking with two gentlemen from Mitigation who are pointing to a chart

The Federal Emergency Management Agency collaborated with several other government agencies, public and private organizations and area businesses to educate New Jersey residents after Superstorm Sandy.

FEMA also supported Church World Service’s Recovery Tools and Training workshops for volunteer groups helping with post-Sandy recovery. More than 400 people attended a January session to obtain background information, resources and national contacts to assist in long-term recovery.

The Community Education and Outreach section of FEMA’s Mitigation Branch promoted effective hazard mitigation ideas and techniques through community education, outreach, training and coordination with public and private sectors. CEO specialists worked with other branches of FEMA as well as other government agencies and private organizations. Programs based around the mantra of “rebuilding stronger, safer and smarter” made contact with nearly 61,000 people in the months following the storm.

FEMA representatives from the Private Sector and Hazard Mitigation programs, along with officials from the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, attended three Lakewood BlueClaws baseball games in 2013, collecting donated preparedness supplies and distributing informational materials to affected residents.

Man looking at table filled with mitigation papers and pamphlets. FEMA Mitigation man standing waiting to answer questions. Rebuild to Last poster displayed in foregroundOn July 27, FEMA outreach specialists were present at 13 Home Depot locations in New Jersey, including several in communities severely impacted by Sandy, as part of the
store’s hurricane preparedness workshops held on the East Coast. They distributed information on the National Flood Insurance Program, disaster preparedness and mitigation.

FEMA Private Sector specialists took part in the Sam’s Club Emergency Preparedness Expo at the store’s Edison, N.J., location on Aug. 27. The expo hosted government agencies from all levels and private organizations showcasing the assistance they can grant to individuals and small businesses. Representatives from Mitigation were at the
New Jersey Meadowlands State Fair distributing information.

FEMA Corps Launches School Programs

Members of FEMA Corps, a division of AmeriCorps created by FEMA and AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps, implemented its FEMA for Male FEMA Corps member crouched down talking with eight young children who sit and listen intently while Flat Stanley and Flat Stella stand at the ready.

Kids program in New Jersey in April 2013. In April and May, FEMA for Kids visited 21 schools and community-based programs in areas affected by Superstorm Sandy, and more than 5,000 elementary and middle school children attended the events. The interactive programs teach children how to prepare for and respond to disasters, as well as allowing them to express their concerns about the effect Superstorm Sandy has had on their lives and families. The website www.ready.gov/kids has FEMA for Kids program information for children, parents and educators. Corps members also created FEMA Connect, a similar program for high school students. It had more than 600 participants in New Jersey. The group recruits people ages 18-24 to assist with disaster response, recovery operations and community outreach.

Corps members also prepared and edited the New Jersey Resource Guide, which contains nearly 625 profiles of federal programs, private foundations and corporate giving programs.

“These kind of activities are very good because we get a lot of exposure and people know that we are here for them and that we are in their neighborhood, that we're doing the same things they are doing,” FEMA mitigation specialist Ofelia Garayua said.

Video-links: Hurricane Preparedness Workshop (Home Depot), FEMA Connect, Rutgers Day Benefits Sandy Relief Fund and Sam’s Club Preparedness Expo for Businesses

Next, the One Year Later series examines the impact of Superstorm Sandy on New Jersey schools.

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.



NEW YORK, NY TELEHOUSE, the United States' leading provider of dedicated data centers, international Internet exchanges, and managed IT services, announces its strategic partnership with United Fiber & Data (UFD). The partnership aligns two of the telecommunication industry’s thought leaders in a long-term commitment to drive the growth of both companies.


The partnership will allow TELEHOUSE to meet customer demand for dark fiber by utilizing UFD’s NXT LVL, state-of-the-art fiber optic network. UFD’s network offers best-in-class technology and a diverse route, which is strategically positioned West of the North East Corridor’s traditional route. TELEHOUSE customers will be able to connect to major carrier hotels in New York and New Jersey, as well as to the Teleport facility, TELEHOUSE’s purpose built Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Data Center located on Staten Island . Delivery of dark fiber solutions to TELEHOUSE customers is expected to begin in October 2013.


TELEHOUSE is pleased to be working with United Fiber & Data’s customer centric approach to enhance the dark fiber solutions our Customers’ increasing demand requires and our supporting network services depend on,” says Fred Cannone, Director of Sales and Marketing at TELEHOUSE.


Christopher Lodge, UFD’s President and COO, echoes Fred’s sentiments, “UFD couldn’t be more thrilled to make this announcement.  It’s a true win-win partnership, one from which the telecommunications industry will benefit immensely.”


The partnership also provides UFD with access to the New York International Internet Exchange (NYIIX), one of the world’s largest International peering exchanges. The seamless switching fabrics of NYIIX will provide UFD with powerful network-to-network connections, enhanced network performance and improved connectivity.

For more information on Telehouse, visit www.telehouse.com or email sales@telehouse.com.

For information on United Fiber & Data, visit www.unitedfd.com or email sales@unitedfd.com.



About TELEHOUSE America

A stable and trusted pioneer of carrier-neutral data center services, TELEHOUSE provides secure, power-protected environments, where clients house and operate their telecommunications and network resources. Among the many benefits of colocating with TELEHOUSE is the ability to connect to state-of-the-art peering exchanges in New York (NYIIX) and Los Angeles (LAIIX). Through Manage-E, TELEHOUSE provides a comprehensive suite of solutions – from help desk and hardware support to managed IT infrastructure, security and compliance services – all delivered by expert consulting and operations teams on a global scale and from one point-of-contact.  Additionally, the global  availability of 46 TELEHOUSE-branded data centers in 23 cities throughout Asia, Africa, North America and EMEA, delivers continuous, cost-effective operation of network-dependent, IT infrastructure to businesses around the world. Please visit www.telehouse.com, or contact us at sales@Telehouse.com. Follow TELEHOUSE on Twitter @TELEHOUSE.


KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Students and faculty at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, along with their neighbors, will have a unique chance to learn first-hand about the importance of disaster preparedness with the launch of ReadyCampus, a one-day preparedness campus event slated for September 30, 2013.


ReadyCampus, a student-centered initiative, is an innovative partnership between Kansas State University (K-State) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII. The event is being hosted by K-State’s School of Leadership Studies’ HandsOn Kansas State (HOKS) as part of their civic learning opportunities. Manhattan Good Neighbors is a program activity, within HandsOn that focuses on campus and community relationship building and service. Timed to coincide with the end of National Preparedness Month 2013, this initiative focuses heavily on existing resources and capabilities accessible to studentsby combining disaster information and social media.


The three-hour event, from 12 noon to 3pm, will take place in a “preparedness” social media environment where students and faculty will gather at the Campus Creek Amphitheater outside of K-State’s Leadership Studies Building. There they will hear campus and community preparedness presentations, participate in an eChallengepreparedness hunt and meet student and local organization representatives active in disaster readiness and response such as campus Police and Emergency Management. They will also meet with student groups connected with the Capital Area American Red Cross, Riley County Emergency Management, United Way of Riley County, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, and Citizen Corps groups such as the Community Emergency Response Team, County Animal Rescue Team and Medical Reserve Corps.


“Emergency preparedness remains a high priority not only for Kansas State, but all higher education institutions,” said Lucy Finocchiaro with Manhattan Good Neighbors. “While the administrators of Kansas State have done a phenomenal job of caring for students in emergency situations, many students find themselves unaware of the resources available to them in a disaster. Enhancing student awareness and preparation is the next step for many universities in increasing overall emergency preparedness and we are honored to join with FEMA and our surrounding community partners in pilotingReadyCampus to assist in that mission.


FEMA Region VII and K-State leaders recognized that preparedness messaging for students runs the risk of becoming old and repetitive, so they created ReadyCampus as a more engaging way to inform and involve students through social media by moving students from preparedness discussions to personal demonstration.

The highlight event is an e-Challenge preparedness hunt. Similar to a traditional scavenger hunt, the e-Challenge Hunt requires teams to locate and identify emergency preparedness resources from around the campus, the community, as well as their own homes.


Participating teams will demonstrate their progress bysubmitting their entries electronically through Twitter. Responses will be projected onto a screen visible to the general public.Teams will be recognized for their levels of achievements for participation, identified items/locations, and collaborative interactions with one another. Prizes for participating and recognitions will be presented for all levels of achievement.


“We are honored to support the leadership and student body of Kansas State University in this unique and innovative effort” said Phil Kirk, Federal Preparedness Coordinator for FEMA Region VII. This partnership represents a whole community effort focused on delivering preparedness solutions in a practical and effective manner, one that schools across the country can hopefully replicate within their own institutions of learning.


Beth Freeman, FEMA Region VII Administrator also applauded the efforts of K-State and its student body for taking an active and voluntary approach to bridging the gap between the academia and emergency management communities.


“FEMA Region VII has partnered with universities, schools and educational groups for many years, primarily in the areas of disaster response planning, exercise and training. This event however, signifies the first time such partnership has materialized so noticeably, primarily for the individuals served the most by these institutions – the students” Freeman said.


Members of the media and the general public are welcome to attend and observe ReadyCampus on September 30. For more information or instructions on accessing the K-State campus on event-day, contact Manhattan Good Neighbors at mgn@k-state.edu and post questions or information on HandsOn Kansas State’s Twitter @handson_kstate #KStateReady.


To learn more about ReadyCampus or school and workplace preparedness contact FEMA Region VII’s National Preparedness Division at 816-283-7925 or visit: www.ready.gov/school-and-workplace.



Follow FEMA online at www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Find regional updates from FEMA Region VII at www.twitter.com/femaregion7. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.




Of all the divergent paths that data center architectures could take in the coming years, with the advent of virtualization, the cloud, SDN and all the rest, it is somewhat incongruous that decisions regarding physical layer infrastructure should fall into two primary camps: proprietary vs. commodity.

These two approaches have been battling for enterprise hearts and minds for some time, but these days the argument isn’t so much over costs and capabilities as it is about how best to lay the foundation for the advanced, dynamic architectures that are coming the way of IT.

Take Oracle, for example. The company has long championed the tight integration of hardware and software as the best means to provide optimal data performance, so much so that its initial reaction to the cloud was rather dismissive. These days, though, the company is all about the cloud and other advanced architectures, provided they reside on an integrated platform like the M6 cluster or the Exadata Database Machine. With both hardware and software working in conjunction, the argument goes, the enterprise will gain a higher level of productivity than is available through conglomerations of commodity boxes running open source systems.




LINCROFT, N.J. -- In the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, tens of thousands of New Jersey survivors suddenly faced a desperate need of a dry, safe place to stay. From the midst of this chaos emerged a massive housing effort involving local, state, federal, voluntary agencies, community and faith-based organizations, county social services and individuals working together.

“Housing has been one of the biggest challenges response and recovery workers and officials have faced,” FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech said.

FEMA launched its housing mission in cooperation with the New Jersey State-led Disaster Housing Task Force. Assistance included temporary housing, rental assistance, transitional lodging in hotels and motels, and grants to repair and replace storm-ravaged primary residences.

Various FEMA personnel – from Individual Assistance, Community Relations, National Call Centers, Access and Functional Needs personnel and Transitional Sheltering Assistance – personally contacted thousands of applicants about their housing needs. With coordination through the State Office of Emergency Management, New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs, Department of Human Services and other state organizations became involved in the effort to contact applicants through face-to-face meetings and multiple telephone conversations with survivors.

Living room of Ft Monmouth residence showing hardwood floor couch table and chairThe outreach included a focus on people with disabilities and/or access and functional needs. Survivors had access to American Sign Language or signed English interpreters, Video Relay Services or Video Remote Interpreters. In addition, assistive listening devices, amplified phones and caption phones were available for survivors who were deaf or hard of hearing. Magnifying devices and printed information in Braille and large
print were provided for people who were visually impaired.

FEMA also translated disaster assistance fliers, brochures and pamphlets into 21 different languages. Teams of FEMA Community Relations specialists canvassed communities, going door-to-door
to deliver valuable recovery information in languages including: English, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, and French to encourage residents with damaged property to register for assistance.

Housing mission personnel worked to provide displaced survivors whose homes were unlivable with immediate housing or funding for minor repairs. Because of the widespread damage, temporary housing was often unavailable in the days following the storm. At the request of the State of New Jersey, the Transitional Shelter Assistance Program was implemented to provide emergency shelter at a critical time until longer-term housing solutions could be found. Accommodations included hotels and motels, with an average stay of 45 days.

In New Jersey, 16 Hotel Outreach Strike Teams counseled applicants on their housing plans and assisted in the transition to a longer term housing solution. Initially, 5,500 residents were in the TSA program. In all, approximately 435 hotels/motels provided 253,425 room nights at a cost of more than $34 million.

Survivors whose homes were destroyed or suffered major damage became eligible for Direct Housing such as FEMA-provided apartments or manufactured homes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers executed an extensive renovation project at Fort Monmouth to provide 114 furnished apartment units.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development increased the Fair Market Rent standard to 120 percent, creating more options for families with Section 8 vouchers. In addition, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs set aside 1,000 “Special Admissions” vouchers from the state-administered Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. Vouchers provide subsidies directly to landlords, reducing costs to low-income households.

Senior housing complexes relaxed their rules to make vacant units available to Sandy survivors under the age of 55 without jeopardizing a community’s qualification for legal exemptions under the Fair Housing Act.

Treed lot with manufactured housing units set in established park

Housing assistance is available to survivors for up to 18 months from the date of a disaster declaration. Depending on the need, FEMA Housing Mission staff works with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, such as the Red Cross, to identify additional housing solutions for survivors.

Superstorm Sandy affected tens of thousands of lives in New Jersey, making housing one of the greatest challenges of the recovery effort. The assistance of thousands of volunteers and the cooperation of local, state and federal agencies, including the FEMA Housing Mission, made those challenges surmountable, helping survivors achieve the milestone of returning home.



CIO — "Happy families are all alike;" Leo Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina, "every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

One might be inclined to think the same is true for outsourcing -- the successful relationships share the same best practices while the failed arrangements are uniquely flawed. But, in fact, the most disappointing deals do share common characteristics.

Diane Carco, president of IT consultancy Swingtide, has been studying the facets of flawed deals for nearly two decades. Even as the state of IT outsourcing has matured, the same issues come up again and again in failing IT services relationships. "Mistakes are often repeated," says Carco, who had to terminate a $2 billion outsourcing deal when she was CIO of CNA Insurance in 1999. "Awareness of why things failed is not necessarily propagated into the next generation of management and the next deal."



Monday, 30 September 2013 17:44

Do 1 Thing: Be Informed

By: Cate Shockey

Getting correct information during an emergency is critical to making the right decisions.  There are many ways to stay informed, from staying connected to information from local authorities to knowing how your community alerts residents of dangerous situations. Make sure your family can receive, understand, and act on information in an emergency.

In my area, severe weather is the biggest threat.  Decatur, Georgia, has a tornado siren that sounds when the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for the Decatur area.  The sirens, located in each quadrant of the city, sound for 3-5 minutes per warning.  From where I live and work, I can hear the siren test every Wednesday, even from inside.  Decatur also has a CodeRedExternal Web Site Icon system to alert citizens of emergency situations that require immediate action, such as weather warnings, evacuation notices, chemical spills, water contamination, and power outages.  Do you know how your community would alert you in an emergency? 

It is also imperative to make sure you are connected through TV, radio, internet, and smartphones to help you make informed decisions to keep you and your family safe.  Whether you are at home, work, or school, there are plenty of ways to keep informed. 

For my parents, overnight storms have rocked the Nashville area in recent years.   Tornadoes at night are particularly dangerous as people are asleep and caught unaware.  To make sure my parents were ready, this spring they bought a NOAA weather radioExternal Web Site Icon to make sure they were receiving warnings around the clock.

Red Cross Hurricane App

With evolving technology, there are plenty of options for keeping informed.  CDC, FEMAExternal Web Site Icon, Red CrossExternal Web Site Icon, the Weather ChannelExternal Web Site Icon, and even many local news stations have developed apps and emergency alert systems.  CDC recently signed up to participate in the new Twitter Alerts program.  Intended for crisis and emergency information, you can subscribeExternal Web Site Icon through your Twitter account to get our most critical updates.

Here are a few things you can do this month to make sure you stay informed:

  • Understand what risks affect your area. Learn about your community’s warning system (e.g., sirens) and find out if your local emergency management uses a website, text messaging, or even Twitter.
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows how to use text messaging.  In an emergency, if phone lines are down, texting may be the best way to communicate.  If someone in your family does not know how text messaging works, sit down with them this month and teach them the basics.
  • For your home, purchase a NOAA emergency alert radio, which turns itself on to warn you when an emergency alert is issued.
  • Develop a family communication plan.  Know how to contact each other, and where to meet if phone lines are jammed.
  • Neighborhood Watch AlertsExternal Web Site Icon provides free email or text message alerts for all people and neighborhoods with or without formal or informal neighborhood watch programs.  Many federal agencies run alerts through this program. 

Check out Do 1 ThingExternal Web Site Icon for more tips and information, and start putting your plans in place for unexpected events. Are YOU ready?

How do YOU stay informed in an emergency?  Leave a comment and let us know!


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — It’s been a race against time to get essential disaster assistance to survivors of Alaska’s devastating spring floods. Now, with temperatures dipping below freezing and snow beginning to fall in the remote Alaskan Bush, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, its State of Alaska partner and several voluntary organizations are working feverishly to get as many families as possible back into their homes.

Of the eight largely Alaska Native communities most affected by the May and June floods, the small city of Galena took the hardest hit. Submerged under as much as 9 ½ feet of water and rammed by massive boulders of ice that jumped the riverbank, most of Galena came to a standstill.

With just 470 residents, 97 percent of Galena’s homes were affected by the disaster, as were roads, power and water supplies, a health clinic, an assisted living center for the community’s elders and other facilities. The result is that 201 of the 372 households that registered with FEMA for disaster assistance are in Galena.

To make matters worse, Galena’s tragedy affected as many as 10 surrounding villages, as it’s a hub for employment, transportation and health care, while its boarding school makes it a significant provider of youth education in the region.

What’s more, like several of the other flood-soaked communities stretching from the Canadian border to the Bering Sea, Galena has not a single road connecting it to the outside world. Of the other disaster-affected communities — Alakanuk, Circle, Eagle, Emmonak, Fort Yukon, Hughes and Tok — only Circle and Tok have overland routes open year round.

In the three months since President Obama’s June 25 disaster declaration for Alaska, more than $10 million in state and federal assistance has been approved for survivors and their communities. The total includes more than $3 million in awards to individuals and families for home repairs and for other essential needs, including the replacement of life-sustaining tools, boats, all-terrain vehicles, and hunting and fishing equipment lost in the floods.

In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved nearly $3.8 million in low-interest disaster loans for the repair of homes and businesses in the disaster area. Also included in the $10 million total is $3.2 million in obligations to the state and local communities to help pay for debris cleanup, repairs to damaged facilities and infrastructure, and for costs incurred in protecting lives and property during the floods.

“Ten million is a good start toward recovery, but FEMA understands that assistance dollars to these isolated communities are little more than paper without the means to put the money to work,” said Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Dolph Diemont. “For that reason, we’ve worked closely with the State and our voluntary agency partners to offer creative solutions to the challenges people are facing.”

With five of the communities accessible only by air and boat — and barge the only way to bring in large quantities of building supplies — FEMA is providing assistance with shipping costs of building materials for eligible applicants.

FEMA so far has received nearly 90 requests from households for assistance with shipment of materials, and has shipped more than 363,000 pounds of building materials, sheltering supplies and donated items. The barges not only deliver critical care packages for those affected by the floods, they provide the material resources survivors need to rebuild their homes and their lives.

Human resources — the skilled, extra hands to help with the work — are also desperately needed in the damaged communities, where subsistence hunting, fishing and wood-gathering is occupying many residents ahead of winter. Although limited in number by conditions on the ground in rural communities, voluntary and service organizations have provided essential recovery services to survivors in Galena, Alakanuk, Circle, Emmonak, Fort Yukon and Hughes.

Recognizing the travel distances and the scarcity of housing for volunteers from the lower 48 states, FEMA is covering the travel costs for a variety of volunteer workers, while the State of Alaska has stood up a winterized, 40-bed responder support camp in Galena, ensuring most of the beds go to volunteers.

AmeriCorps, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Disciples of Christ, Mennonite Disaster Services, World Renew and Arizona Southern Baptists have been working steadily with survivors, mucking out and gutting flood-soaked homes or performing repairs and rebuilds. In addition, Galena Baptist Church members and other local volunteers are helping their neighbors. Thanks to these efforts, most survivors will be back home before winter.

There is still much work to do, however. The extent of the destruction means not everyone’s home will be restored in the few weeks remaining to ship supplies by barge before water levels drop, the rivers freeze up and the building season comes to an end. That doesn’t mean the effort is slowing down.

“Our goal has always been to get survivors back to their communities and back into their homes to the greatest extent possible before winter,” said State Coordinating Officer Bryan Fisher of the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “While some homes will require more work next spring, the coordination taking place now will ensure that every survivor has a safe, dry and warm place to stay, and that their needs are met for winter.”

State and federal recovery specialists continue to contact flood survivors, going door to door in some cases, to identify any remaining needs that can still be met before winter. In some cases, a home may lack plumbing fixtures, an electrical or water hookup, or another essential service to make it functional — and the goal is to get that work done.

While sheltering operations have scaled down considerably in Galena, the Mass Care team continues to provide shelter, now mainly in the 12-room Birchwood Hall, to residents who are completing home repairs or who must be in Galena for work or other needs. In Fairbanks, State and FEMA recovery specialists also are helping a small number of remaining evacuees transition from a temporary shelter to more practical winter housing.

Meanwhile, FEMA is providing rental assistance to eligible survivors, while the State is offering rental assistance outside of Galena to those who are ineligible for or cannot make use of FEMA assistance. The State and FEMA continue to work with survivors whose Galena homes aren’t quite ready, but who wish to stay at home through the winter using wraparound support services such as showers, toilets, and laundry and food services. In addition to many other duties in support of survivors, FEMA Corps members are managing a drop-off laundry service.

After preparing and serving more than 17,600 meals at a Bureau of Land Management facility — much of the food donated by the Alaska Food Bank and the Alaska Department of Education — the feeding mission has entered its winter phase. Hot meals are now prepared in The Salvation Army’s central kitchen in Anchorage and shipped frozen by air to Galena. Survivors can pick up the meals, heat them in microwaves at the community center and take them home to eat as a family. Self-serve breakfasts are also provided at the community center. Food service will continue in Galena for as long as the need remains.

For some residents, there still are housing decisions to be made, and caseworkers continue to work with applicants to provide information on programs and policy, and to outline options, especially for Galena’s riverside neighborhood of Old Town, which took the brunt of the spring flooding.

“We especially wanted to provide options to Old Town residents, since our studies indicate it remains at serious risk of life-threatening flooding,” said FCO Diemont. “While FEMA cannot legally and in good conscience promote permanent occupancy of Old Town with taxpayer dollars, we are working with the State to provide opportunities for residents to move to safety.”

For example, the State has announced that several million dollars in additional funds to be provided to Alaska under the FEMA-funded Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will be earmarked for property acquisitions in Old Town, as well as for property elevations in the New Town neighborhood farther away from the river. Since participation in the program is voluntary, community leaders are discussing options with homeowners so applications can go forward over the winter.

State and FEMA Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation specialists also are exploring strategies and funding opportunities to help Galena and the other disaster-affected communities rebuild stronger and more disaster-resilient. Projects identified to date include elevation of a health clinic in Circle  and construction of a new Louden Tribal Council Community Hall in New Town Galena, to replace the council’s disaster-destroyed Old Town hall.

While great progress has been made since the floods, there is much work to do before temperatures begin plummeting toward 50 below zero and lower in the coming weeks — and much work remains over the long, dark winter. FEMA and the State pledge to remain focused on this mission until full recovery is assured.

While barge shipments will soon stop until spring, critical food and supplies will continue to arrive by air, interior construction will continue and all other possible means of driving recovery forward will be delivered.

In addition, FEMA and State long-term recovery specialists will set to work with the community of Galena to develop a strategy for building a stronger, safer, more energy-efficient city for the future, using the community’s existing development plans as a guide. Meanwhile, coordination will continue through the winter in an effort to ensure that plans, supplies and volunteers are in place to pick up the rebuilding effort at first thaw.



Just last month the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council reported some initial findings from our new online Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark (DRPB) Survey.  We created the survey to help give business continuity, disaster recovery, compliance audit and risk management professionals a better measure of their own preparedness in recovering critical IT systems running in virtual environments.

Some of the preliminary findings from the survey have surprised us.  For example, results indicate that organizations in highly regulated industries such as financial services, healthcare and government, fail to make the grade for disaster recovery preparedness. In spite of strict regulations, these organizations do not appear to be better prepared than others to recover their IT systems in the event of a disaster.

Here are some results from highly regulated industries that describe their shortcomings:



Economic damages from the recent flooding in Colorado are expected to surpass $2 billion, according to a recent report from catastrophe risk modeler Eqecat. Most of that financial burden will fall on residents because very little flood risk is insured in the state.

Between 1,500 and 1,800 homes have been destroyed and thousands of homes have been damaged, leaving more than 10,000 people displaced. The estimated total cost to repair destroyed homes averages $300 million and early reviews of residential flood damage indicate an average of $20,000 to restore each of the 17,500 flooded homes that were not destroyed. But because of exclusions to the basic homeowners insurance policy, most of the losses will not be covered by insurance.

Historically, a very small portion of homeowners purchase flood insurance on homes outside of the 100-year flood zones outlined by the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program, which provides insurance as part of a mortgage. Of the 17 counties impacted, most of the areas are not within defined flood zones.



Monday, 30 September 2013 17:39

Sociocultural Aspects of Software Projects

The desire to be agile has long impacted human behavior. Consider the elite athlete, the army general, the opera singer, the belly dancer, the professional golfer, the heavyweight boxer, the high seas sailor, the commercial pilot, the top-end banker, and even the federal politician — they all love agility, and so do we. Why? Put simply, agility provides the basis for adaptability and change which, in turn, are integral to our survival and growth. The same agility that enables a springbok to outrun a lion or an ant to carry a load more than 20 times its size allows a small start-up in Southern California to prevail against the might of a large, well-established brick-and-mortar organization (based on my arguments in the preface to my book, The Art of Agile Practice: A Composite Approach for Projects and Organizations). No wonder mainstream business is increasingly fascinated by “Agile.”

In a special issue of Communications of the ACM commemorating the first 50 years of computing, virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier wrote: “The biggest surprise from the first 50 years of computers is that computation turns out to be a cultural object in its own right, with all its warts and semicolons.” This phenomenal importance of “human issues” in IT project management has also found its way in discussions by Cutter Fellows Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister in their book Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams; Gerald M. Weinberg’s The Psychology of Computer Programming, and Larry Constantine’s Constantine on Peopleware and Soft Issues and Other Hard Problems in Software Development. Indeed, Constantine claimed: “Good software does not come from CASE tools, visual programming, rapid prototyping, or object technology. Good software comes from people. So does bad software.” I have also discussed the importance of people in software projects and the destructive nature of “game playing” — together with suggested antidotes. These discussions led to an inescapable conclusion: the dire need to address the social and cultural factors in project management. Contemporary Agile emerged out of the exploration of such issues in software development projects. Agile helped the software development community climb out of its cellars of up-front planning, analysis paralysis, and siloed (primarily driven by the waterfall lifecycle) approaches to the users and business.



Ok, so NASA failed an audit. Don’t we all? I think it is important to understand the government’s cloud computing adoption timeline before passing judgment on NASA for failing to meet its cloud computing requirements. And, as someone who has read NASA’s risk management program (and the 600 pages of supporting documentation), I can say that this wasn’t a failure of risk management policy or procedure effectiveness.  Clearly, this was a failure of third-party risk management’s monitoring and review of cloud services.  

The Cloud Is Nebulous

Back in 2009, NASA pioneered cloud technology with a shipping container-based public cloud technology project named Nebula -- after the stellar cloud formation. (I love nerd humor, don’t you?)



Monday, 30 September 2013 17:31

Are You In A Decision Trap? You Decide

Before joining Forrester, I ran my own consulting firm. No matter how ridiculous the problem or how complicated the solution, when a client would ask if I could help, I would say yes. Some people might say I was helpful, but I was in an overconfidence trap. There was always this voice in the back of my mind that would say, “How hard could it be?” Think of the havoc that kind of trap can have on a risk management program. If any part of the risk program is qualitative, and you are an overconfident person, your risk assessments will be skewed. If you are in an overconfidence trap, force yourself to estimate the extremes and imagine the scenarios where those extremes can happen. This will help you understand when you are being overconfident and allow you to find the happy medium.

Have you ever padded the budget of a project “just to be safe”? I hate to tell you this, but you are in the prudence trap.  By padding the project budget, you are anticipating an unknown. Many other managers in your company may be using the same “strategy.” But the next time you do a project like this, you will pad the budget again, because the inherent uncertainty is still there. The easiest way to keep your risk management program out of the prudence trap is to never adjust your risk assessments to be “on the safe side,”  There is nothing safe about using a psychological trap to predict risk.



CIO - Data recovery used to be a straightforward matter of running competent data recovery software on a single disk drive. Advances in storage technology now make a number of deployment scenarios possible. Even with the best data backup practices, though, it's unlikely for a small business to have the infrastructure to keep its data perfectly synchronized.

To help small businesses be prepared should a data disaster event strike, here's a look at how the most common storage options on the market deal with data recovery.

RAID: You'll Need Software to Complement Hardware

Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances rank among the most common storage devices that today's businesses use. They range from simple two-bay devices to 10-bay appliances that offer Storage Area Network (SAN) capabilities. Redundancy is typically implemented using Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID), which offers simple mirroring (RAID 1) as well as more advanced methods that strip blocks of data across multiple disks to mitigate against a single drive failure (RAID 5) or even two failed drives (RAID 6).



Brigham and Women's Hospital

In the last eight years, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has conducted 78 large scale emergency drills.  On the afternoon of April 15, immediately following the two bombs set off during the Boston marathon, it was time to put their well-practiced plans into action.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital had prepared for a variety of events, both natural and man-made.  Casting a wide net and taking an all-hazards approach, they ran drills for oil spills, chemical attacks, active shooters, blizzards, train crashes, hurricanes and building evacuations. The hospital ran exercises and responded to real-life events at a division, departmental, hospital, city-wide and state-wide level.  No doubt, the drills helped to establish routines and relationships across departments and across systems.

Members of BWH's Hazardous Material Response Team stand at the ready during a simulation in 2012.

On Monday, April 15, there was a short turnaround between finding out about the event and implementing a plan.  At 2:54 p.m., when  the call came in about two explosions at the race, the already busy 55-bed emergency department had 66 patients. 

Brigham and Women’s Hospital implemented what they call a Code Amber, activating the hospital disaster response system.  The hospital-wide response plan that they practiced regularly started with building capacity and capability in the emergency department, in the operating rooms, and throughout the hospital.  Where possible, patients were discharged or transitioned to other departments to disperse the crowded area.  Multiple operating rooms were rapidly opened and staffed for potential emergency surgeries.

The hospital cared for 39 patients from the bombing, 23 in the first 45 minutes. Staff set up a primary triage team to assess immediate need before a secondary triage team identified patients that needed emergent surgery.   Patients requiring surgery went directly to the operating room from the Emergency Department, just as they had drilled in prior exercises.   Patients were rapidly cared for throughout the hospital.

In the end, the drills and training clearly contributed to the success of the hospital’s response.  The Incident Command System followed protocols and organized logistics and communications to ensure an effective, rapid hospital wide response. Even with all the advanced training, there was still room for improvement.

Members of the Command and General Staff in the Emergency Operations Center at BWH during a recent drill.

The first lesson learned was the importance of establishing crowd control in the emergency department.  With plenty of hands jumping in to help it was almost overwhelming.  Brigham knew they needed to establish a labor pool and work on how they assigned roles to doctors, nurses, and volunteers in order to maximize contributions and response. 

The second lesson was to improve and streamline communication between the various teams in the emergency department and the emergency operations center.  With the available resources in an emergency, Brigham and Women’s Hospital discovered that they could enhance communications more readily assigning available staff in leadership and support roles.

The third lesson was overall situational awareness regarding communications, patient and staff location.  With multiple events occurring, clear, frequent information flow was critical.

In the months following the bombing event, Brigham and Women’s Hospital instituted a mandate to focus on July 4 as a milestone date to show improvement.  With a half a million spectators coming to the Boston waterfront to celebrate the holiday, the hospital wanted to be ready in advance.

BWH trauma surgeon Dr. Robert Riviello looks on as Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jarrod Clowery talks about his experience at an April 30, 2013 press conference.

They conducted more spontaneous drills to focus on role clarity, reviewed job action sheets with providers and refined their information systems based on the marathon bombings experience.

“We have to be fluid, flexible, and able to adapt to the scenario,” said Dr. Eric Goralnick, Medical Director of Emergency Preparedness.  “We are a 793 bed academic medical center that is running at capacity a majority of the time. With competing priorities, getting everyone on the same page and operating cohesively in an emergency requires constant vigilance. A commitment to preparation and training is an institutional imperative. ”


Feature For many SMEs, tape disappeared from their landscape as a data storage choice ten or more years ago. Domestically, it exists, if at all, as a legacy item with perhaps a car stereo chewing its way through a selection of fondly regarded C-90s. Still, this lack of public visibility by no means indicates that tape has come to the end of its spool.

Hard drive prices have steadily fallen while their capacities escalate unabated, and yet tape storage continues to play a pivotal role in business information management. For the big data boom, it proves cost-effective, energy efficient and easier to handle for remote back-ups and archiving. To find out more about the reliance IT places on this media and how it’s is deployed, I met with two IT professionals who share the same job title, but have very different roles.



Since the 2004 amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations moved risk assessments and program assessments from the realm of best practice to what can be seen as the territory of de facto requirements, there has been a fair bit of confusion regarding the distinctions between these two C&E program components.

In principle, a C&E risk assessment helps an organization understand not only what its risks are, but how to mitigate them.  A program assessment, of course, tells the company how well the program is functioning.  So, risk assessment can be seen as more design oriented, and a program assessment has more of an operational focus.

But in practice, the two overlap because one cannot assess risks without understanding how well a C&E program is mitigating them (i.e., the concept of “net risk”) and one cannot measure program efficacy without meaningful reference to an organization’s C&E risks.  Moreover, some program measures will clearly serve both risk and program assessment purposes.  For instance, C&E-related questions on employee surveys (e.g., whether the respondent agrees with the statement, “My manager acts with integrity”) can be useful both for program assessment purposes (that is, assessing how well the program is impacting behavior) and also risk assessment ones (that is, variations in responses among business units and/or geographies can help an organization determine where its risks are, and hence where additional C&E measures – such as training or auditing – are warranted).



CSO — Before rushing into allowing employees to do their jobs on their personal devices, organizations need to diligently address the unique risks of that practice, cautioned a report by an international cybersecurity information organization.

When businesses push Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs into place too quickly, risk management is often neglected or rushed, leaving organizations with both unknown and unnecessary risks, the Information Security Forum reported on Tuesday.

For organizations to be successful in the era of mobile devices in the workplace, risk management must be the foundation of any BYOD program, the report added.



Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are becoming a trending and serious issue when it comes to Cyber Security across many industries in particular the banking and financial sectors.

In a DDoS attack Botnets (usually referred to as a “Zombie army”) bombards a server or a network with thousands of system requests sent from infected computers and internet connections causing network traffic to become overloaded and unavailable. So how do we prevent this from happening? Below are five strategies that can be used to prevent a DDoS.

One is improving network resilience by implementing connection redundancy and dedicated DDoS mitigation systems to isolate and remediate attacks. Consider deployment of additional DNS and web servers to balance the CPU load from the incoming flood of requests or use load balancing to bring critical services back up quickly.



Combining operational data from other sources — particularly Big Data sets — is generating a lot of discussion as a “next step” for companies investing in Big Data. So it’s not surprising that Pentaho’s release of its new Business Analytics 5.0 platform is generating some buzz.

Pentaho calls this release a “complete redesign and overhaul of its data integration and analytics platform,” according to IDG. The reason for the overhaul: Pentaho wants to build a solution from the ground up that could address “data blending” and make it easier for the end user.

Which begs the question: What, exactly, is “data blending?”



Wednesday, 18 September 2013 15:07

Does the Private Cloud Have a Real Future?

Conventional wisdom holds that enterprises will embrace the public cloud while revamping internal infrastructure with private cloud technology, eventually combining the two into a grand hybrid data environment.

Sometimes the best laid plans have their detractors, however.

In this case, that would be Amazon Senior VP Andy Jassy, who took the floor at the recent AWS Enterprise Summit in London to unleash both barrels on the private cloud concept, calling it “archaic” and all but accusing traditional enterprise vendors (a.k.a. the “old guard”) of keeping the enterprise in thrall with a bunch of false promises. At best, he said even large firms will see internal infrastructure reduced to a shadow of its former self as organizations tap into the data service powerhouse that Amazon has become.



Wednesday, 18 September 2013 15:07

Story: “When I Close My Eyes, I Hear Water”

Story by American Red Cross Volunteer, Catherine Barde

Eldin and Audrey Myer, married 53 years and lifelong Colorado residents, lost their home in the devastating flood waters in Evans, Colorado. They found themselves in one of many shelters opened across Colorado as safe place for people to stay along with blankets, cots, food, comfort and emotional support.

“We got taken out on a boat – the water was over our fence,” Eldin recalled. They watched their home surrounded by a wall of water as they left.  Trees, barrels and tires filled the turbulent water as the boat carried them to safety.  John Betz, their nephew, lost his home next door and shared his photo of their rescue.

Eldin and Audrey were escorted to the local hospital and then found shelter at the Greeley Recreation Center.  Red Cross Health Services has continued to monitor their medication needs and blood pressure.

“We have lost everything including our pets, we just had no time to get anything except Eldin’s cane and my purse,” Audrey said.

“When I close my eyes, I see water, I hear water”,  Audrey Myer said, as tears welled up in her eyes. “When you have lost everything, it is so great to come to the Red Cross shelter. There is a nurse, personal items, shampoo and toiletries. We are so grateful.”


VOLUNTEERING: At this time, the American Red Cross of Colorado is fortunate to have volunteers who are trained, ready and willing to support our response to the flooding in our communities. We thank individuals and community groups who are willing to support this effort and encourage them to register to become new volunteers to help with future disaster responses. They can find all relevant information at http://www.redcross.org/co/denver/volunteer.

Should the situation change or worsen, we will update information on our website and in press releases to indicate whether we are accepting volunteers to help with this response.

In Kind Donations: The Red Cross does not accept donated items at their shelters. People with items to donate are urged to go to www.helpcoloradonow.org to find out where supplies are needed.

DONATE: The Red Cross is able to respond to a widespread disaster affecting numerous communities because of the generosity of donors. If you would like to support our work responding to these and other disasters, donate online at www.redcross.org/donate or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

PREPARE YOURSELF AND YOUR COMMUNITY: One of the best ways to take action right now if you are not personally affected by the flooding is to prepare yourself, your loved ones and/or your workplace. When you are prepared, you contribute to your community’s ability to withstand and recover from disasters. Find out more and start making your emergency Game Plan by visiting our National Preparedness Month information page: http://www.redcross.org/news/event/National-Preparedness-Month—Colorado.

KEEP IN TOUCH: If you live in an affected community, please notify your loved ones of your status via text, phone, e-mail or social media. In addition, list your status on www.safeandwell.org. You may also search for people on the site.



One southern California town has officially been warned that their insurance will be cut off if city officials do not adopt risk management policies.

Irwindale’s insurer, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, issued a performance improvement plan on August 28 and said city liability and workers compensation insurance will be terminated if it does not adopt the measures. Allegations of corruption have cast a pall over the police department and local government, and the city has been forced into almost $2 million in settlement payouts over the past five years, according to the Pasadena Star News.

“They’re on notice that they need to improve their risk management practices within the city’s operations, specifically in the police department, to maintain their insurance coverage with our agency,” JPIA’s risk management program manager Bob May told the paper.



Wednesday, 18 September 2013 15:05

Skinning The Innovation Cat

There are many ways to skin a cat. The same can be said of innovation. When I mention innovation in conversation, people generally think about a process of making a product bigger, faster, better, or stronger. However, product improvement is just one type of innovation. Innovation can target the process around creating a product, resulting in lower costs such as the "lean manufacturing" innovations from the automobile company Toyota. Innovation can target improvements in the design of marketing materials, creating a more emotionally appealing advertising campaign and resulting in higher revenue. Marketing innovation has been used by numerous firms over the years to reinvigorate their concepts and company. Samsung designed their Bordeaux television line after being inspired by a wine glass. They have been on the top of the television market ever since. Innovation can even mean cultural innovation in which the culture of the company changes and innovates to come in line with a newly updated corporate vision increasing employee loyalty, retention, and overall happiness. Innovation has many faces.
My friend and Forrester colleague Rick Holland recently introduced me to a very interesting and innovative company that is currently in the process of disrupting a very old and stale, and nearly monopolistic, market. In 2010, the Internet glasses company Warby Parker realized that they could significantly improve the process of buying glasses. Warby was founded by David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal on the premise of creating an online eyewear retailer that sold high-end specs for sub-$100 prices.

CIO — As if IT departments didn't have enough to worry about these days. They also have to ensure that the organization is in compliance with various industry and federal regulations (PCI, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA) designed to keep sensitive customer data safe. An increasingly difficult task in today's decentralized, mobile, app-filled world. It's enough to give a CIO or CTO a headache.

"Compliance is a hot issue in IT, and for good reason," says Andrew Hodes, director of Technology at INetU, a cloud and managed hosting provider. "Failure to meet rules and guidelines set by compliance standards could mean fines, penalties and loss of trust."

The Biggest IT Compliance Challenges

But keeping the organization in compliance with industry and federal rules can be difficult, especially with more companies allowing workers to bring their own devices (BYOD). So what are some of the biggest challenges to keeping compliant? Dozens of technology pros and compliance experts share their top seven answers.



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

No relationship for a Chief Audit Executive (CAE) has been transformed more over the past decade than that with the audit committee. According to The IIA’s Audit Executive Center, more than 75 percent of internal audit departments in North America report functionally to the audit committee. And in many companies, the audit committee holds a discussion session with the CAE at every meeting.

The audit committee’s success is tied to the effectiveness of the internal audit department. Accordingly, audit committee members must have complete confidence in the internal audit function and its CAE. This confidence can only be achieved with a strong, continuous and open dialogue between the CAE and the audit committee. Of course, dialogue is a two-way street; it’s as much the responsibility of the CAE as the committee members themselves. But the committee must be willing to drive that dialogue in a way that provides evidence of the internal audit’s professionalism, business knowledge and risk acumen.



A few years ago, social media were the bane of many businesses. Seen as a dangerous distraction for employees, some even instructed their IT teams to block access to social networking sites in an effort to recover employee time and productivity. Nowadays however, the tide seems to have turned. Companies look towards social media as a source of contact between their teams, with their markets, potential customers and of competitive information. But does that mean that the concerns about workers wasting time and possibly compromising a firm’s confidential data have been eliminated? Or is social media peril still lurking underneath the surface?



As the number of ShareFile Enterprise customers continues to grow, we are seeing a number of trends that are shaping the Enterprise File Sync and Sharing Market.  In reality, it is not really just about File Sync and Sharing, it is about servicing an increasingly mobile workforce.

Many of our customers are out of the office one week a month or more. It isn’t just about travel anymore. Global teams keep global calendars. We must enable employees to work from home for a variety of reasons such as family commitments, global virtual team meetings and more.

Below are some common themes that impact the overall File Sync and Sharing Market. Enterprises want:



I have experience with quality management and Six Sigma.  Change, designed to gain efficiencies and better product/service quality has become a way of life in many industries.  Many of the organizations that I have worked for have benefitted from the questions “Why?” and “Is there a better way?”  ISO not only promotes standards and best practices, but also stresses continuous improvement.

Many companies measure their Business Continuity Management program against ISO22301, or some other standard.  We may measure the result of our work against the standard; but do we do an adequate job of measuring the methods we use?  Do we look for process improvements?  Do we ask why we do things the way we do?  Do we ask if there is a better way?



Tuesday, 17 September 2013 17:14

PaaS: The Next Frontier in the Cloud

A cloud of many faces is taking shape before our eyes.

It is common knowledge by now that the cloud is not merely an extension of the data center but an entirely new data ecosystem that can grow, change, and yes, evolve into a wide range of configurations, just as any organic creature is able to adapt to changing environments. In many ways, this change can be anticipated and planned for, but as the market matures, you can bet there will be a fair number of unexpected developments as well.

But to get the kind of flexibility to handle both the expected and the unexpected, enterprises will have to shed much of the thinking that has governed cloud deployments so far. This is not merely an extension of current data infrastructure but an entirely new way to doing things. Much of the attention in the cloud is turning away from simple applications and infrastructure to fully cloud-based development platforms because of this new way of thinking.



Dealing with IT outsourcers can be difficult under the best of circumstances, like when the scope of the project is relatively small, and only one or two key suppliers are involved. But when you’re thrust into a multisourcing situation where multiple suppliers are contracted to handle various parts of a large-scale project, it can be a nightmare of “not my job” buck-passing and finger-pointing when something goes wrong. Multisourcing can be a mega-headache.

The pain is likely to get worse before it gets better. According to Information Services Group (ISG), a Stamford, Conn.-based technology services consulting firm, the multisourcing model is becoming increasingly common, and we’re on the cusp of seeing a surge of these contracts being negotiated. A record 901 outsourcing contracts valued at $25 billion expired in 2012, ISG says, and another 886 contracts valued at $21.2 billion will expire this year.

I discussed all of this in a recent interview with Lois Coatney, an ISG director who has been in the trenches and has seen the challenges inherent in the multisourcing model. She has said that one of the biggest challenges lies in the fact that “providers are financially motivated to get the highest possible fee for the least amount of work,” and that “you often see individual providers conclude that it's in their best interest to protect their turf and to find ways to show that fixing whatever problem arises is the responsibility of another team.” Before joining ISG, Coatney worked at HP Enterprise Services, so I asked her if she could share any tips based on HP’s strategy in a multisourcing environment that would have been very helpful for the customers if only they’d known. She responded that she couldn’t speak on HP’s strategy, but she could speak from a supplier’s perspective:



Monday, 16 September 2013 19:34

Are you ready for the next disaster?

If the Old Farmers Almanac is to be believed, we're heading for a seriously cold and snowy winter. In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast an active hurricane season.

You can't do much about the weather except be ready for it. That's why the American Red Cross designates September as National Preparedness Month.

Not that preparedness is just about weather: The Red Cross urges being ready for floods, fire, earthquake and other dangerous situations.

How prepared are you? If you lost power and/or water for three days, would you be able to stay warm, fed, hydrated and reasonably clean?

The good news is that preparedness doesn't have to cost a fortune. The bad news? Plenty of us don't seem to bother, at least when it comes to natural disasters. Experts say that people view those differently than they do dangers created by humans (e.g., radiation or terrorist attacks).



Reacting to Friday's elementary school shootings in Connecticut, Gov. Rick Perry wrote Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams, “asking that you direct all school districts to review their emergency operation plans.”

Every Texas district has such a plan, and educators in San Antonio said they take as many precautions as feasible.

But they can't prevent all violent incidents, they said.

“It's a harsh reality of working in a public school you face every day, that something like this could happen,” said Herlinda Longoria, principal at Harlandale Independent School District's Gilbert Elementary.

Recalling an attack by one parent against another outside San Antonio Independent School District's Bonham Academy in August, she said schools, especially urban schools, must be ready to respond.

“We live in an area where crime happens and several students have witnessed violence in their homes and neighborhoods; so it crosses our mind often that we have to be alert and protect our students,” Longoria said.



This article was reprinted with permission from Michael Volkov’s Corruption Crime & Compliance.

When you get older, you realize that the so-called “mysteries of life” or institutions which you viewed with admiration from afar are really not as complex as you think.  I would never call this cynicism.  With age, you recognize that a lot of things that occur in life are the result of nothing more than just good old-fashioned people skills.

How does this apply to the Chief Compliance Officer’s work and position?  In most forward-thinking organizations, the CCO reports to the CEO on day-to-day issues and the Board on a quarterly basis and, as needed, if an emergency occurs.



Monday, 16 September 2013 19:28

Test Your CRM Management and Administration IQ

CIO — The story's as old as system administration: Some parts of the job are straightforward and risk-free, but other tasks are fraught with high error rates and nasty consequences.

Think back to the infamous rm —rf * command that erased most of Toy Story 2 before it ever made it out of Pixar. Or go further in time to the Bell Labs study of UNIX users' made mistakes with shell scripts. The vast majority of the mistakes involved the IF statement.

Think things have changed that much with today's all-GUI, all-the-time model of system management?



President Obama Makes Federal Assistance Available to Individuals Residents Urged to Follow Instructions from Local Officials

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to support state and local response efforts to the flooding in Colorado through its National Response Coordination Center in Washington and its Regional Response Coordination Response Center in Denver, Colo.

On Saturday, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster declaration for Boulder County, Colorado.  The President’s declaration makes federal assistance available to individuals for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners in their recovery.

"As response efforts continue, FEMA encourages residents in affected areas to stay informed about changing flood conditions and follow the direction of local officials," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Let your friends and family know that you’re safe. Impacted residents in Boulder County can start registering for federal assistance today."

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in Boulder County, Colo. can apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  Disaster survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.  Those in the affected area with access to the internet may register by Web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, or online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

The President’s major disaster declaration also makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain non-profit organizations to support emergency work in Boulder County to save lives, protect property and remove debris.

When natural disasters such as flooding occurs, the first responders are state and local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and numerous private interest groups who provide emergency assistance required to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.

FEMA's priority is to support local efforts to keep residents and communities safe. FEMA has two Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) and a liaison officer on site at the Colorado emergency operations center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.  Three federal urban search and rescue teams, Colorado Task Force 1, activated by the state, Utah Task Force 1 and Nebraska Task Force 1, are on the ground to support search and rescue operations in hard hit areas.  Two additional federal urban search and rescue teams, Nevada Task Force 1 and Missouri Task Force 1, are en route to Colorado.

FEMA proactively staged commodities closer to the hardest hit areas and areas potentially affected by the severe weather and flooding.  More than 65,000 liters of water, 50,000 meals and other supplies have been delivered to Incident Support Bases established by FEMA. These resources are being provided to the state as needed and requested. A FEMA Incident Response Vehicle is in Colorado providing communications support to the emergency operations center for the town of Lyons.  FEMA has identified additional teams and personnel to support the state should they be needed and requested.

On Thursday, September 12, President Barack Obama declared an emergency for three counties in Colorado, and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts.  The declaration made direct federal assistance support immediately available to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in areas of Colorado, including Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties, affected by the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides.

We urge residents to continue to monitor weather conditions, and those in impacted areas to listen carefully to instructions from their local officials and take recommended protective measures to safeguard life and property while response efforts continue.  According to the National Weather Service, the official source for severe weather watches and warnings, flooding advisories remain in effect for several areas in Colorado, and severe weather remains in the forecast through the weekend in some areas. 

Here are a few safety tips to help keep you safe during flooding:

  • Turn Around, Don't Drown. Avoid flooded areas.
  • Give first responders space to do their work by following local public safety instructions.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or flooded road, turn around, don’t drown. Go another way.

Those in areas with the potential to be affected by flooding should familiarize themselves with the terms that are used to identify a flood hazard and discuss what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued:         

  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are now being sent directly to many cell phones on participating wireless carriers' networks. WEAs sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service are designed to get your attention and to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats like severe weather.  Take the alert seriously and follow instructions. More information is available on WEA at www.ready.gov/alerts.

For more information and flood preparedness tips, please visit: www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov to find out how you can prepare your family for flooding and other disasters.


Monday, 16 September 2013 19:26

Get Tech Ready

PHILADELPHIA – When most people prepare for an emergency, they assume they won’t be able to use technology as a resource; the power will probably be out, so technology won’t be able to help.  With effective planning, it’s possible to take advantage of technology before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones, manage your financial affairs, and get important information.

“Information and communication are two of the most important aspects of successfully getting through an emergency,” said Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, “they can get you in touch with loved ones, alert you to where resources are, and let you know when it’s safe to be outside. By using technology as a resource, you can improve your ability to communicate and receive information.”

Getting tech ready means not only preparing your devices to be easy access resources for you and your family, but also planning for ways to keep your devices powered.  Get a solar-powered or hand crank charger and a car charger for your phone to keep it powered throughout the emergency.

Follow important officials and organizations on social media channels, doing so will help you receive important information if you can’t access television or radio.  By identifying these accounts now, you won’t have to search for them in the middle of an emergency or drain your battery during the search.  Key accounts include emergency management agencies, Governors, local officials, and local media.  Another good way to keep in touch with officials is to see if they offer text message updates; FEMA has a text message program which includes preparedness tips and other resources, get more information by texting INFO to 43362 (4FEMA) or visiting fema.gov/text-messages.

Synchronize your contacts across all your devices and all your channels so that way you have many ways to get ahold of people.  By having access phone numbers, social media accounts, and email addresses, you can get in touch with your loved ones even if one system or channel is down.  Often when phone calls are difficult to make, you can send text messages, social media messages, or emails to pass along important information.

Make sure you program "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you’re unable to use your phone.  Let your ICE contacts know that they’re programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have.  If something should happen to you, that action will help you receive the care you need and let your loved ones know where you are.

Download resource apps for your smartphone, they often have important information like phone numbers, first aid tips, and other resources.  The FEMA App contains disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs).  There may be other apps available from your state or local emergency management agency, ask them to see what resources you can access.

While these are just a few examples of how you can turn technology into a valuable resource during an emergency, visit ready.gov/get-tech-ready to get more tips.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.


The enterprise is under the gun to quickly ramp up its efforts to implement a working cloud infrastructure, if only to bring some semblance of control over what has been so far a user-driven phenomenon.

But while efforts to convert legacy infrastructure into cloud architectures are ongoing, the need to tap into public cloud resources is growing. And this leads to a problem, because not all cloud services are the same and the drive to develop adequate standards, benchmarks and other means of comparing cloud is still nascent.

Fortunately, the federal government is on the case, or at least it thinks it should be. At a recent Amazon Web Services conference in Washington, top Health and human services IT honcho Frank Baitman, while praising the work the Amazon has done for the agency, expressed a need for common standards among cloud providers so the government can properly assess the services of each before buying. Such a scheme would do wonders to allow the government to support multiple vendors as it strives to offload as much data and infrastructure as possible onto the cloud.



Since 2011 the Continuity Forum has been working with Skills CFA to develop Business Continuity skills and qualifications for use in the workplace. 
We are now conducting a review of the Business Continuity Management (BCM) suite of National Occupational Standards (NOS).
National Ocupation Standards  describe what individuals need to do, know, and understand in order to carry out a particular job role or function. The BCM NOS suite must suitably outline the competence and knowledge required to work within the BCM profession or manage their specific responsibilities with the planning developed within the organisation.
We are reviewing the BCM NOS to ensure that they are up-to-date, fit-for-purpose and reflect current practice.
As part of the review we would like your feedback on the draft NOS. This short survey presents each of the NOS in detail and asks your opinion as to their suitability.
To have your say in our survey please follow this link.
The survey is expected to take approximately 20 minutes to complete, with your anonymous responses being used to shape the next stage of the project. We appreciate your input and ask that you complete this survey by Monday 30 September.
The review is being run by Skills CFA and your feedback will remain confidential and will inform the future of the Business Continuity Management NOS. If you would like to know more about this programme please do get in touch with us directly.
Please feel free to circulate this survey link to any parties who would like to participate in this consultation.

The other day I attended a meeting of a local business continuity forum. It was a very well run, very interesting meeting – the latter despite the fact that one of the topics was business interruption insurance, living proof that any subject can be made interesting by an engaging speaker. There was, however, one small glitch in proceedings that I thought was worthy of note. Or that at least gave me an excuse to write a blog.

The second item on the agenda involved a live link-up, via Skype, to a presenter in some far flung, desolate location – Reading, I think. At the appropriate time, the chairman initiated the call. And then… nothing happened, apart from a deafening silence. The technology didn’t work. Now, before you say anything, yes, of course it had been tested beforehand. This was, after all, a group of consummate business continuity professionals. It had, however, been tested on the previous Friday afternoon, whereas the live event was on a Monday morning, when the volume of traffic on the network is, apparently, much greater. To the extent that there wasn’t enough room left in the pipe for a teeny weeny little Skype call.



Iron Mountain finds that the majority of employers are not providing adequate IT infrastructure for people working from home.


With the rapid growth in home working, paper documents and digital data are moving in and out of the workplace at an ever-increasing speed, generating some significant information security challenges.

New research from storage and information management company, Iron Mountain, suggests that many employers are failing to provide the support and guidance required to protect their information when employees work from home.

The research reveals that close to two thirds of employees in Europe now work from home for all or part of their time. However, just 18% of firms provide employees guidance on what paper records and electronic data can or cannot be taken out of the office, and only 17% have a formal policy to govern home working.



Network World — Through advancements to back-end systems, providers of cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) are becoming more efficient at storing customer data and getting faster at restoring sites.

The latest company to roll out upgrades is Axcient, a relatively new player in the DRaaS market. The company says by switching to a software-based approach to managing commodity hardware, instead of expensive proprietary hardware options, it has reduced the amount of power used to back up entire business operations by 66% and has cut the capacity required to store the data by half.

Advances like these are just some of the characteristics customers should look for when evaluating a cloud-based DR provider, analysts say.



BOULDER, Colo. — Walls of water cascading down hillsides caused flash floods across Colorado on Thursday, killing at least three people. The flooding cut off major highways, isolated mountain towns and closed the main campus of the University of Colorado, the authorities said.

“This is not your ordinary disaster,” said Joe Pelle, the sheriff of Boulder County, where two of the deaths were reported, when he was asked about rescue efforts. “All the preparation in the world, all the want-to in the world, can’t put people up those canyons while debris and walls of water are coming down.”

As heavy rain continued falling late Thursday, homes, bridges and small dams built along the mountains that bisect the state collapsed, succumbing to rushing floodwaters and record levels of rainfall. Mudslides swept down hillsides left treeless by recent wildfires. Firefighters made dozens of rescues as cars were overtaken by rain-swollen creeks and roads suddenly gave way.



Here’s a question: Why is data science such a big deal these days?

Big Data, obviously, but it’s not just that, contends veteran IT analyst Robin Bloor.

In a follow up to his rant about the term “data scientist,” Bloor actually promotes the importance of data science as a practice, if not the terminology.

- See more at: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/data-science-is-growing-but-why-now.html#sthash.mC3xovXP.dpuf

Here’s a question: Why is data science such a big deal these days?

Big Data, obviously, but it’s not just that, contends veteran IT analyst Robin Bloor.

In a follow up to his rant about the term “data scientist,” Bloor actually promotes the importance of data science as a practice, if not the terminology.

Bridging the Last Mile of Business Automation

He sees 10 reasons data science is gathering so much momentum. While all relate back to Big Data, it’s important to realize that Big Data didn’t just spring from the CIO’s head, fully clothed, like some sort of silicon Athena.

Slide Show

Four Steps to a Big Data Strategy

No, there are significant technology trends that support the growth of Big Data, including:

- See more at: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/data-science-is-growing-but-why-now.html#sthash.mC3xovXP.dpuf

Friday, 13 September 2013 16:50

Towers Watson on Commercial Insurance Prices

Commercial insurance prices rose by 6 percent in aggregate during the second quarter of 2013, marking the 10th consecutive quarter of price increases, according to Towers Watson’s latest Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey (CLIPS).

The chart below compares the change in price level reported by carriers on policies underwritten during the second quarter of 2013 to those charged for the same coverage during the second quarter of 2012.

Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey



Fewer boards of directors are seen as their company’s top ERM program drivers, dropping to 26% in 2013 from 34% in 2011, according to the 2013 RIMS Enterprise Risk Management Survey, released today. This year risk managers came in as the second driver at 17%. By comparison, the second highest category in the 2011 report, which did not include risk management as an option, was “other” at 19%. Commenting on the 2011 report, Carol Fox, RIMS director of strategic & enterprise risk practice confirmed that many respondents wrote in their comments, that “other” was a risk management department initiative. “While I can’t do a direct comparison to this year’s 17%, I’d say it may be a shift as risk professionals take more of a leadership role in instituting ERM programs,” she said.



Friday, 13 September 2013 16:48


Ever been asked to answer a “few simple question” for a poll?

Back in the day, when Hector was a pup and I was a “print journalist,” I had a once-a-week assignment to go out onto the sidewalks of beautiful downtown Harrisburg PA to ask random people The Question of the Week; always something topical that my boss (“Slim” Milliron) or I contrived.

Never mind if the “feels like” temperature was 0F or that snow was blowing at 30 mph; if it was Thursday afternoon, I had to hit the bricks to find three people willing to (a) answer The Question and (b) allow my tag-along (and equally suffering) photographer to shoot a mug shot of those willing to answer The Question.

The thing that prompts this exercise is a snippet on the Advisen FPN email I receive 5 days-a-week than reads:



Thursday, 12 September 2013 16:41

Nasdaq 'shocking' outage unacceptable, says Pitt

The Securities and Exchange Commission cannot let stand the Nasdaq OMX Group's bungled handling of its late-August trading outage, former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt told CNBC. He spoke before Thursday's meeting between federal regulators and the chief executives of the major stock exchanges.

"What was shocking about the recent Nasdaq outage was the fact that it was the second such incident in very short period of time for Nasdaq," Pitt said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "It seemed as if there was no crisis management plan in action, and there had been not effective planning for that event."

Mary Jo White, the SEC chairwoman, scheduled the Thursday forum two weeks ago to address the Aug. 22 computer trading glitch that effectively shut down the Nasdaq stock market for more than three hours. The problem was in the public data network that carries the quotes and trades for Nasdaq, known as the Securities Information Processor (SIP).



The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has issued a Risk Alert on business continuity and disaster recovery planning for investment advisers. The alert was prompted by a review of responses to Hurricane Sandy, which caused widespread damage to Northeastern states and closed US equity and options markets for two days in October 2012.

“Our staff examined approximately 40 advisers in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to assess their preparedness for and reaction to the storm,” said OCIE Director Andrew Bowden. “We hope our observations in this Risk Alert and those in the earlier joint advisory will help industry participants better prepare for future events that threaten to disrupt market operations.”

The examination highlighted lack of planning for widespread events as a consistent weakness in some firms’ business continuity plans.

In addition, the Risk Alert makes observations in the following areas:

  • Planning for alternative locations
  • Preparedness of key vendors
  • Telecommunications services and technology
  • Communication plans
  • Reviewing and testing.

Read the Risk Alert (PDF).

If you’ve never dinged your car (other than brushing bumpers while you’re parking), you may not appreciate how good it can be to have adequate car insurance. Likewise, if you have been spared the pain of a PC that slows down or dies because of a virus, software for protection against viruses may seem more of a luxury than a necessity. Yet in terms of the financial outlay to have virus protection compared to potential productivity loss if you don’t, good virus protection software can be astonishingly inexpensive. In addition, the chance of infection somewhere in an organisation without virus protection can rapidly converge on 100% as the total number of employees rises.



There's a big misconception about big data, renowned statistician and blogger Nate Silver says. It's not enough to just have access to massive amounts of data: You need to know how to use it and what to do with it.

It may seem obvious, but it's a problem many organizations struggle with, Silver said during an interview with Silicon Angle's "The Cube" after his keynote speech at data management company Tableau's user conference.

"None of this big data stuff is going to be a solution for companies who have poor corporate cultures where you have trouble communicating ideas, where you don't have everyone on the same page," he says. "You need buy-in from all levels of the organization, you need C-lever people who understand the value of analytics, you need analysts who understand what business problems are trying to be solved and what the organizational goals are."



CIO — "When it comes to storing data, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution," says Orlando Scott-Cowley, Messaging, Security and Storage Evangelist at Mimecast, a cloud and mobile data storage and security provider.

Before you decide where or how you will store your structured and unstructured data, "companies first need to understand the amount and type of data they have along with the motivation behind storing the information," Cowley says. "Having this background will help determine what route to take, whether building on-premise solutions or moving to the cloud," or some combination of the two.

data storage, storage management

So how do you formulate that sound data storage management strategy? CIO.com asked dozens of storage and data management experts, which resulted in these top 14 suggestions regarding what steps you need to take to choose the right data storage solution(s) for your organization -- and how you can better ensure your data is properly protected and retrievable.



Thursday, 12 September 2013 14:29

Helping Children Cope With a Disaster

David J Schonfeld, MD, FAAP

Children often become distressed after a disaster, especially if it has directly impacted them or someone they care about.  They may also feel sad or sorry for others and want very much to help them.  Worries that something similar will happen to them or their family may lead them to ask a lot of questions so that they can better understand what has happened and therefore what they can do to protect themselves and their family.  Parents and other adults who care for children can do a lot to help them understand and cope.


Inform children and start the conversation.  It is difficult to deal with something that you don’t understand.  Even very young children will sense when something is wrong or upsetting the adults in their lives, even if they have been told nothing.  Children should be notified about a disaster as soon as possible after it occurs, otherwise they will likely find out by overhearing others or through the media (including social media).  Start by asking them what they may have already heard about the event; correct any misinformation or misunderstanding they may have.  Provide information to them in simple and direct terms, without unnecessary detail.  Television, radio, and social media often provide graphic information that may cause more distress, so limit the amount of viewing of television and other media sources immediately after the event (this is true for both children and adults).  Ask children about what questions or concerns they might have and provide honest answers.  When adults don’t talk with children about disasters, it suggests to them that adults either are not capable of dealing with difficult situations or don’t feel that the children are able to cope.  Neither message is helpful.

After a disaster, children may show a change in their mood or behavior.  They may become sad, anxious, or scared.  They may be more resistant to separating from their caregivers to go to child care programs or school, or even to go to bed or play in another room. Sleep problems, headaches and stomachaches are common.  After a disaster, children often find it difficult to concentrate on their school work.  They may, for a period of time, become more self-centered or immature and appear more clingy, less cooperative, more demanding, and irritable.  Older children and adolescents may turn to smoking, alcohol, or other drugs to deal with their feelings.

Children often show no obvious signs of distress.  After a disaster, children may hide their emotions because they are ashamed of their reactions or because they want to protect their parents who are also visibly upset.  They may try to take care of their parents, not because they are coping well themselves, but rather because they worry that their parents are having trouble adjusting.

Children may show post-traumatic reactions – but that’s not all.  If a death has occurred as a result of the disaster, children’s reactions may be due to grief.  Children need to cope not only with the disaster – but everything that follows.  Disasters lead to a number of losses and changes, such as the need to relocate, change schools, or deal with reduced family income.  These other stressors may be what bothers children the most after a disaster.

Help children cope with their distress.  Adults don’t like to see children feeling upset and often try to reassure them there is no reason to be worried or sad.  But let children own their feelings – if they feel sad or worried, then they are sad or worried.  Instead of trying to tell children that they shouldn’t feel that way after a disaster, help them learn how to cope with troubling feelings.  Share with them some of your reactions and feelings and how you coped with them (such as talking with others, writing about your feelings, or doing something positive to help others).  We can’t expect children to learn how to cope if we don’t share with them that we also have felt distress and then model how to cope effectively.

Teaching children how to cope with distress every day is a good way to prepare for disasters.  Just as you should prepare to respond to a disaster, you should prepare children to be able to cope with disasters.  Helping them learn coping skills to deal with daily stressors or other challenging events in their lives and establishing yourself as someone that is there that can understand them and help them adjust makes it more likely they will cope effectively after a disaster. Let children know that their family, school and community have plans in place to deal with many kinds of emergencies, and that there are people specially trained to help with these situations.

There is help.  Visit the American Academy of PediatricsExternal Web Site Icon for resources and advice on how to support children after a disaster, and download the Pediatric Preparedness Resource KitExternal Web Site Icon.  Your child’s pediatrician can also provide specific advice for your children and/or recommend someone else that you can talk to you about your concerns.

David J. Schonfeld, MD, FAAP, is member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council and the Pediatrician-in-Chief at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, PA.  Dr. Schonfeld is also the Chair for the Department of Pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine and the Director for the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement.


The third step in the Risk Management and Own Risk and Solvency Assessment Model Act (RMORSA) is the implementation of a risk appetite and tolerance statement. This step is meant to sets boundaries on how much risk your organization is prepared to accept in the pursuit of its strategic objectives.

An organization-wide risk appetite statement provides direction for your organization and is a mandatory part of your assessment. As defined by COSO (one of the risk management standards measured in the RIMS Risk Maturity Model umbrella framework), the risk appetite statement allows organizations to “introduce operational policies that assure the board and themselves that they are pursuing objectives within reasonable risk limits.” A risk appetite statement should be reflective of your organization’s strategic objectives and serve as a starting point for risk policies and procedures.



CYA with advertised, enforced P&P

Two New Jersey teens were texting while one was driving.

The vehicle driven by the teen on the road struck and injured two people.

The injured parties sued both the teenage driver and his texting partner, the latter on the grounds “that (the partner) had was contributorily negligent in that she ‘aided and abetted’ (the driver’s) unlawful texting while driving and second, that (the partner) had an independent duty to avoid texting a person whom she knew was driving.”

The case made its way to an appellate court that ruled that “We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had a special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.”



Wednesday, 11 September 2013 20:13

Updating data compliance for the cloud era

By Ron Miller, principal consultant at SunGard Availability Services (UK) Limited.

It might have been a buzzword within the IT industry for some years now but more recently we’ve seen the mainstream appetite for, and adoption of, cloud computing rise significantly. Whether it’s public, private or hybrid services, the promise of greater flexibility, scalability and cost-effective pricing models has been too enticing for many businesses to ignore.

The flipside, however, is that as a result of the cloud, we’re also seeing a number of companies coming under scrutiny for their data protection and compliance policies. It’s the CIOs that are leading the charge here, as they become increasingly concerned over the security of their mission critical data. There is the perception that many ‘cloud’ vendors (and that’s including those companies that have simply rebranded an existing solution to jump on the bandwagon) are failing to provide a comprehensive view on where data is being stored and the information security management framework that’s in place.

Information, both data and intellectual property, is a greater source of competitive advantage for businesses now than it ever has been. In many sectors, this is driven by consumer expectations, where there is an assumption that systems will be able to perform at optimum levels 24/7. The rise of the ‘I want it now’ culture and increased customer promiscuity (when it comes to where they take their custom), is forcing companies to ensure that every aspect of their organization and those of key partners perform with near perfect levels of availability.



For years, PBMs and insurance payers have been recognizing the risks and often exorbitant pricing associated with topical custom compound drugs, a mixture of prescription and non-prescription ingredients prepared in compounding pharmacies. Some payers and PBMs have put controls in place to reduce the costs and authorizations of these unproven formulations.


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As is often the case in workers' compensation, various stakeholders in the drug delivery process exploit loopholes or create new variations of drugs to bypass existing controls. This has proven true with topical custom compound drugs. After Healthesystems, a Tampa-Fla.-based PBM and ABM, affected a decrease in the volume of topical custom compounds, it wasn't surprised to see a corresponding rise in the number of prescriptions for two other kinds of topical products. As a result, the company deployed program adjustments to curb the growing trend.



CIO — Customer relationship management systems have functionality to burn — there are features for so many different use cases — but those features don't make a difference to your company unless users are happy enough to fill the system with data. It falls on IT to bridge the gap between user habits and system feature sets. That's the "last mile" problem for CRM.

The first order of business is avoiding user overload. One of the first tasks in CRM optimization is de-cluttering the pages:

  • Get rid of fields that are used less than 5 percent of the time.
  • Get rid of pages and buttons that are irrelevant to users.
  • Create page layouts optimized for each major role or use case of the system.
  • Use reports, views, and related lists to highlight summary information and hide less important details.



A young mechanic injures his back while tripping over a hydraulic lift at his employer's auto body shop. On the surface, the claim appears to be a typical back injury claim. However, lurking in the background is a confluence of complicating factors involving the injured worker's personal characteristics, prescription regimen and treatment pattern, which could create a volatile claim. Through the use of sophisticated analytics tools, the employer's insurer identifies this claim's potential for volatility and quickly assigns the claim to an elite team of medical professionals.

The worker is directed to a top-tier treatment facility, where he receives an appropriate surgical intervention, the right level of care and prescription medications. As a result, the worker is able to recover from a potentially disabling injury and return to his full duty role as a mechanic. Add to Facebook Add to Twitter Add to LinkedIn Write to the Editor Reprints


The use of predictive analytics to identify the non-obvious factors that can improve claim outcomes is an increasing area of focus for leading insurers such as The Hartford.

Predictive analytics can be defined as the use of statistical modeling to look at the various characteristics of a claim -- the policy, claimant, loss and treatment plan, among others, as well as environmental factors and time periods -- and assigning a "score" to each claim.



Insurers have historically used FEMA’s Specific Rating Guidelines to calculate premiums for properties at high risk of flooding, particularly those built with the lowest floor elevation below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Prior to the National Flood Insurance Program’s extension in 2012 owners of these properties received subsidized rates well below the true flood risk. Many of these properties will now be rated using the Specific Rating Guidelines which FEMA released to the public last Wednesday.



Given the rapid expansion of social and mobile technologies, organizations have increasing opportunities to connect with customers. The IT organization will play a key role not only in capturing and analyzing customer data and increasing the number and value of online customer interactions, but also in terms of creating the means for internal departments to collaborate and better serve the needs of customers.

Some organizations mistakenly believe that customers want an online relationship with their company and bombard customers with surveys, questionnaires, and offers, whereas the reality is that what most customers really want is information and discounts. Organizations that examine and continuously improve their customers’ experience in their ease-of-search, ease-of-purchase, and ease-of-tracking delivery progress will likely gain advantage. Measuring what matters to customers in terms of factors such as perfect-order delivery performance and first-time-right responses to customer inquiries and complaints helps round out the picture of the customer experience.



Tuesday, 10 September 2013 17:33

Humberto and Late Season Hurricanes

Tropical Storm Humberto, the eighth named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, is generating a lot of news headlines, as the most recent forecasts tip it to become the first hurricane of the season by Wednesday.

The question on everyone’s minds is whether or not the record for the latest formation date of the Atlantic’s first hurricane will be broken. The bottom line: if Humberto reaches hurricane status before 8am EDT on Wednesday, the record will stand.

Gustav, which was upgraded from a tropical storm to a minimal hurricane on September 11, 2002, shortly after 8am EDT, currently holds the title as the latest-forming Atlantic season hurricane.

According to the Weather Channel, in addition to 2002’s Gustav there are two other hurricane seasons since 1960 in which the first hurricane did not form until after September 7: 2001 – September 8 (Erin) and 1984 – September 10 (Diana).



Tuesday, 10 September 2013 17:32

Workday Rolls Out Big Data Analytics Module

BOSTON — Workday has unveiled a new software module for its cloud-based HCM (human capital management) application that allows customers to analyze data from both Workday and third-party sources.

Dubbed Big Data Analytics, the product is now generally available after being announced at last year's Workday Rising conference. It incorporates technology from Datameer, which places a business-user-friendly interface on top of the Hadoop framework for large-scale data processing, as well as homegrown tooling for data integration and other areas, said Dan Beck, vice president of technology product management for Workday.

While the Workday application has already provided built-in analytics, with the new product "what we're really doing is opening up our cloud to non-Workday data sets," Beck said. "People can bring in whatever data they want and join it with Workday to answer their business questions."



Tuesday, 10 September 2013 17:31

Cyber Security Risks for Financial Systems

The financial sector and the banking industry in particular are unique in the IT world: no other businesses have the same combination of constant drive for innovation, regulatory pressure and customer-facing IT applications. That also means increased exposure to cyber security risks via the interfaces to the public, whether these risks are linked to criminal intent, breach of confidentiality or other. Software testing engineers work to expose any technical security problems before systems are put into production mode, but they can’t handle all aspects of cyber security. A holistic view by a business continuity manager can add value to the overall process of making financial systems secure in the cyberspace.



Nearly 55 percent of Big Data projects aren’t completed, according to a survey of IT professionals conducted by Big Data solution provider InfoChimps.

By comparison, “only” 25 percent of IT projects aren’t completed overall, InfoChimps found.

So what’s going on with Big Data that more than half of all projects aren’t completed? It’s inaccurate scope, InfoChimps states in a recent project template, “How to Do a Big Data Project.”

The template is designed to help you beat the odds and succeed. It’s written around four steps that should be basic to all projects:



CIO — Are you dropping the ball when it comes to enterprise mobility?

A new report suggests IT might be delivering poor mobile support to BYOD employees even though IT pros think they're doing a good job. In other words, mobility is becoming a major point of contention in the rocky IT-business relationship -- and tech leaders aren't even aware there's an issue.


A Failure to Communicate

Technology services and product provider CDW surveyed 1,200 mobile users and 1,200 IT professionals, and found a significant disconnect: 64 percent of IT professionals graded themselves with an A or B for providing personal mobile support (including BYOD policies and technical support), while 56 percent of users gave IT a grade of C or worse.



Tuesday, 10 September 2013 17:28


Two years ago this month,  I focused on the 9/11 Commission recommendations that had not yet been implemented, four of them in particular. How do things look today? It entirely depends upon your perspective as a citizen and/or as an expert in the field.

Not so bad, some might say. We have foiled all domestic attacks except for the Boston bombings.  Our security and surveillance tools have never been more sophisticated. We devote billions to intelligence gathering and to examining data to analyze it into useful information.  In our rush to be proactive, and it’s pretty clear that we’ve skirted or broken some laws to stay at the top of the type of intelligence gathering that advances in technology make possible.



MAHWAH, N.J. – There are several dates throughout the year that are notorious for wreaking havoc on businesses via denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, data breaches and even malware or botnet assaults. As September 11th nears, rumors about coordinated cyber attacks on American websites continue to increase. Because of these potential risks, it's imperative that businesses tighten their network security measures now in order to protect themselves from potential intrusion or disruption, which can result in profit-loss and tarnished user confidence.

According to Radware(R), (RDWR) a leading provider of application delivery and application security solutions for virtual and cloud data centers, there are two types of dates that hackers target: ideological and business-relevant dates. Ideological dates refer to holidays and anniversaries that have a cultural, religious or secular tie to the adversary. High-risks times for the United States in addition to September 11th include Memorial Day, Election Day and Independence Day. Business-relevant dates involve a period of time that companies are particularly vulnerable to attacks, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or even regular business hours.



In the not-so-distant past, company information, files and data were confined to the four walls of the organisation. After 5 pm, and on weekends and holidays, this information was largely inaccessible to the average employee. Now, the availability of company data is seen in an entirely different light, with employees accessing files from three or four different devices any day of the week.

To address this data protection nightmare brought on by the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement, many forward-thinking companies have already implemented mobile device management (MDM) and mobile file management (MFM) tools and procedures. But, as devices continue to become ingrained in the workplace, making it increasingly mobile-centric, it's important to ask: what's next?

- See more at: http://www.computerworld.com.sg/tech/mobile-and-wireless/blog-beyond-mdm-and-mfm-whats-next-for-byod/#sthash.d8AZz2Do.dpuf

In the not-so-distant past, company information, files and data were confined to the four walls of the organisation. After 5 pm, and on weekends and holidays, this information was largely inaccessible to the average employee. Now, the availability of company data is seen in an entirely different light, with employees accessing files from three or four different devices any day of the week.

To address this data protection nightmare brought on by the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement, many forward-thinking companies have already implemented mobile device management (MDM) and mobile file management (MFM) tools and procedures. But, as devices continue to become ingrained in the workplace, making it increasingly mobile-centric, it's important to ask: what's next?

- See more at: http://www.computerworld.com.sg/tech/mobile-and-wireless/blog-beyond-mdm-and-mfm-whats-next-for-byod/#sthash.d8AZz2Do.dpuf

The Louisiana Workers' Compensation Commission is encouraging employers to look beyond some of the obvious items included in their storm prep materials.

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The 2013 hurricane season is under way and continues through November. While stocking up on first aid kits, batteries, bottled water, and other supplies is important, the LWCC says employers would also be wise to include safety precautions as well.

The most common nonfatal workplace injuries -- soft tissue sprains and strains as well as slips and falls -- are also high-risk factors for workers preparing for or cleaning up after a major storm. The LWCC suggests employers:



Monday, 09 September 2013 17:17

Lloyds website continuity hit as TSB launches

Lloyds Banking Group websites, including the new standalone TSB site, have been hit by problems on TSB launch day.  

In what could be a classic case of poor or failed business continuity planning, the banking group experienced intermittent website problems across almost all of its brands.

The problems coincide with the transfer of five million customer accounts from Lloyds to TSB, despite promises by Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio of a "seamless" transition.

According to the banking group, it experienced a “temporary issue” with its internet banking service, which affected the ability of some customers to log on.

“The issue is now completely resolved and we apologise to customers for the inconvenience this will have caused. Our branches, telephone banking and cashpoints were not affected in any way,” the group said in a statement.

A spokesman declined to comment further or respond to questions about whether the website outages were related to the TSB launch or not.



Monday, 09 September 2013 17:16

You Can Be a Local Hero

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Preparing a community for an emergency or disaster can be a daunting task; there are so many people, each with unique needs, and so many aspects that need to be addressed.  If such a monumental task is left to just one group of people such as local officials, it’s sure to remain just that, monumental.  When the Whole Community comes together to provide input, complete tasks, and take responsibility though, it becomes a very manageable undertaking.  Pitching in to help your community prepare for the next disaster has a very large impact, the kind that can make you a local hero.

“Too often we rely upon local officials and first responders to prepare for and respond to a disaster;” said Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, “there are so many ways that everyone can come together and make their community more resilient.”

Citizen Corps brings together the power of individuals through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.  Citizen Corps has many councils throughout the country at the state and local level, and you can find your nearest council for more information or to sign up at ready.gov/citizen-corps/find-your-nearest-council.

Citizen Corps has many affiliates that offer communities resources for public education, outreach, and training; represent volunteers interested in helping to make their community safer; or offer volunteer service opportunities to support first responders, disaster relief activities, and community safety efforts. Visit ready.gov/citizen-corps-affiliate-programs for more information on Citizen Corps’ affiliates.

In addition to their affiliates, Citizen Corps also has partner programs which give citizens the opportunity get involved. Citizen Corps' federally sponsored partner programs help build capacity for first responders through the use of volunteers.  These programs can be very specific in what they support, such as the Fire Corps which supports fire departments, the Medical Reserve Corps which supports medical needs, and the Volunteers in Police Service which supports law enforcement; or they are more broad in their service, such as the Community Emergency Response Teams or the Corporation for National and Community Service. More information on Citizen Corps’ partners is available at ready.gov/citizen-corps-partner-programs.

There are many community and faith-based organizations that support communities before, during, and after a disaster.  Whatever your level of interest, your skill set, or your time, there is a program out there that you can join to support your community.  Reach out to organizations that you are already involved in and see what they’re doing or talk to your local officials for ideas.

However you choose to get involved with your community and prepare for the next disaster, know that your work makes a difference to everyone, but for you it can be the difference between being a resident and being a local hero.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema.   Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.


Flood events continue to dominate natural catastrophe losses in 2013, according to the latest Global Catastrophe Recap report from Aon Benfield.

The report reveals that billion-dollar flood losses were recorded in China, Russia, Philippines, and Pakistan during August 2013, causing an initial combined estimate of $10 billion in economic losses.

Additional flood events were recorded in Afghanistan, Niger, Sudan, Mali, Laos, Cambodia, India, and the United States.

In a press release Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, says:



Editor's Note: This was originally posted on the White House blog, September 3, 2013, by Todd Park and Rich Serino. Todd Park is Assistant to the President and US Chief Technology Officer. Rich Serino is the Deputy Administrator of FEMA. 
Last week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly challenged a group of over 80 top innovators from around the country to come up with ways to improve disaster response and recovery efforts.  This diverse group of stakeholders, consisting of representatives from Zappos, Airbnb, Marriott International, the Parsons School of Design, AOL/Huffington Post’s Social Impact, The Weather Channel, Twitter, Topix.com, Twilio, New York City, Google and the Red Cross, to name a few, spent an entire day at the White House collaborating on ideas for tools, products, services, programs, and apps that can assist disaster survivors and communities.

This collaboration is a great example of this Administration’s commitment to convening private-sector talent and innovators to work with public servants in order to deliver better results for the American people. The event mobilized innovators from the private sector, nonprofits, artistic organizations, and Federal as well as local government agencies to develop solutions that support and integrate both public and private efforts for disaster relief.  It also comes as our Nation prepares for what is usually the peak of Hurricane Season.  In fact, the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Irene fell last week, and the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy is approaching.

During the “Data Jam/Think Tank,” we discussed response and recovery challenges with the participants and other Federal leaders, including Patricia Hoffman, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Energy and Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services.  The participants then broke into subgroups to brainstorm innovative ideas for addressing those challenges, vote on the best ideas, and commit to implementing them.
Below are some of the ideas that were developed throughout the day. In the case of the first two ideas, participants wrote code and created actual working prototypes.

  • A real-time communications platform that allows survivors dependent on electricity-powered medical devices to text or call in their needs—such as batteries, medication, or a power generator—and connect those needs with a collaborative transportation network to make real-time deliveries. 
  • A technical schema that tags all disaster-related information from social media and news sites – enabling municipalities and first responders to better understand all of the invaluable information generated during a disaster and help identify where they can help.
  • A Disaster Relief Innovation Vendor Engine (DRIVE) which aggregates pre-approved vendors for disaster-related needs, including transportation, power, housing, and medical supplies, to make it as easy as possible to find scarce local resources.
  • A crowdfunding platform for small businesses and others to receive access to capital to help rebuild after a disaster, including a rating system that encourages rebuilding efforts that improve the community.
  • Promoting preparedness through talk shows, working closely with celebrities, musicians, and children to raise awareness.
  • A “community power-go-round” that, like a merry-go-round, can be pushed to generate electricity and additional power for battery-charged devices including cell phones or a Wi-Fi network to provide community internet access.
  • Aggregating crowdsourced imagery taken and shared through social media sites to help identify where trees have fallen, electrical lines have been toppled, and streets have been obstructed.
  • A kid-run local radio station used to educate youth about preparedness for a disaster and activated to support relief efforts during a disaster that allows youth to share their experiences.
Before ending the brainstorm, participants committed to taking responsibility for turning these ideas into tangible actions. We will be excited to see how these materialize into impactful projects that will support disaster response and recovery efforts. Our sincere thanks to all of the participants!


You may be asking how anyone can make such a bold statement without knowing the details of your specific risk program.   Actually, I know more about your risk program than you realize, and that’s why I know it’s failing.  I also know that as much as 55 percent of the cost of all risk programs is wasted!  And more importantly, I can prove it.

Let me demonstrate:  Your risk program (audit, risk management, compliance, ethics, IT and governance) is risk-based.  You have assessed your risks and mapped your controls accordingly.  You have policies and procedures tied to risks and associated internal controls and you monitor the effectiveness of controls on a periodic basis and provide some form of risk reporting using key risk indicators and metrics.  You can effectively articulate the three lines of defense of your risk program.



In a recent joint advisory issued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight it was recommended, among other things, that “firms should consider keeping their business continuity plans, contact lists and other necessary documents, procedures and manuals at the alternative site, ideally in paper form in the event that electronic files cannot be accessed.”

In response to the above, Continuity Central is running a quick survey asking the question:“How important are paper-based business continuity plans?”

With more than 100 responses received, the results so far show that 54.4 percent of respondents believe that paper based business continuity plans are essential; 26.6 percent say that they are ‘quite important’; and 19.0 percent say that they are ‘not important’.

There is some variation of opinion depending on the size of the respondent’s organization. 54.5 percent of business continuity professionals in large organizations see paper-based BCPs as essential; this drops to 46.2 percent in medium-sized organizations and 50 percent in small organizations. However, 71.4 percent of those in micro organizations say that paper-based BCPs are essential.

The survey is still open, please take part at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/paperbcps

CIO — It's often taken for granted that tough economic times lead to a reduction of public services. But that's not what has happened in Buffalo, N.Y., in the past several years. Rather than scale back city services, the city, which has a population of roughly 260,000 people, sought out ways to use big data to deploy services more efficiently and effectively to combat blight.

Under former Mayor Anthony M. Masiello, Buffalo initiated a program called Operation Clean Sweep, a law enforcement-focused program intended to address some of the rust belt city's poorest and most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Under the leadership of current Mayor Byron W. Brown (who took office in December 2005), the Clean Sweep program evolved into a collaborative program that brings together dozens of city departments, as well as partners from state, county and federal agencies and nonprofit health and human services providers.



Last month, I pointed out that you’ll probably never hire a data scientist, based on IT consultant Robin Bloor’s view that no such person exists in the real world, because too many skill sets are at play.

Bloor wrote that instead, you’ll develop a team that brings together all the skills of the so-called “data scientist,” such as understanding data, data flows, statistics and your specific business industry.

Evan Levy, partner and co-founder of Baseline Consulting, recently added his voice to the growing list of people who say the data scientist is like a unicorn. Like Bloor, Levy contends a more realistic approach to the scientific study of data is to build a team of people who specialize in each of the areas needed.



Friday, 06 September 2013 16:04

Time to Get Serious About Climate Change Risks

While arguments from climate change deniers have subsided, there is still discussion about the cause of climate change—natural or man made? But these arguments are mere time-wasters. Right now it’s critical to put the focus on managing this risk.

Insurers have it right. For years they have been pointing to the urgent need to deal with the issues surrounding climate change. Insurers know this global risk needs to be dealt with now—and in the future—and they can’t afford to get it wrong.

Johnny Chan, Ph.D., director of the Guy Carpenter Asia-Pacific Climate Impact Center said it best: “The debate on climate change and global warming has been intensely polarized. A great deal of this ‘noise’ has clouded the very real and emerging issues that we as an industry and society need to address. In order to adapt to climate change and the changing risk landscape, it is necessary to cut through this noise and focus on objective decisions to mitigate both the financial and social risks associated with climate change.”



IT walks a fine line between balancing security issues and giving people the tools they need to get the job done. Every day companies move sensitive data around, and IT is in charge of securing that data, but what about the little things that tend to fall through the cracks?

According to data from several recent surveys there are a number of things your employees could be inadvertently doing that puts your company's sensitive data and information at risk.

A survey done recently by IPSwitch, an FTP software organization, includes some of the reasons employees are putting sensitive data into places where IT has no control over what happens to it:



Security-as-a-Service Leader Grows Revenue 189 Percent Over Three-Year Period

HOUSTON, Texas – Alert Logic (www.alertlogic.com), the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, announced today it has been named to Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing privately held companies for a second year in a row. The Company increased revenues by 189 percent over a three-year period, placing it at #1989 within the ranking.

“Our position in the prestigious Inc. 500/5000 list demonstrates our ability to meet the continuing high demand for IT security in the cloud,” said Gray Hall, Alert Logic’s president and CEO. “Our advanced security technology matched with 24x7 security expertise and analytics has provided a unique service to more than half of the largest cloud and hosting service providers. We look forward to further accelerated growth as we expand our product offerings and geographic footprint.”

Today’s news follows additional industry recognition Alert Logic has received during 2013 including being named a “Cool Vendor“ by Gartner in its 2013 Security Services report, and a leader in the emerging MSSP category in the Forrester Research report, “The Forrester Wave™: Emerging Managed Security Service Providers, Q1 2013.”

The Inc. Magazine 500/5000 list is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2009 to 2012.  Complete results can be found at http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2013

About Inc.

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 6,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

About Alert Logic
Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, provides solutions to secure the application and infrastructure stack. By integrating advanced security tools with 24×7 Security Operations Center expertise, customers can defend against security threats and address compliance mandates. By leveraging an “as-a-Service” delivery model, Alert Logic solutions include day-to-day management of security infrastructure, security experts translating complex data into actionable insight, and flexible deployment options to address customer security needs in any computing environment. Built from the ground up to address the unique challenges of public and private cloud environments, Alert Logic partners with over half of the largest cloud and hosting service providers to provide Security-as-a-Service solutions for business application deployments for over 2,200 enterprises. Alert Logic is based in Houston, Texas, and was founded in 2002. For more information, please visit www.alertlogic.com.

Customer contact organizations are at the heart of business continuity and disaster recovery strategies, as they are the go-to resource for customers in times of disaster. A new report from Frost & Sullivan looks at these important organizational assets and explores the specific business continuity and disaster recovery relating to them.

"The importance of information during times of such distress has made a strong case for advanced and multilayered business continuity and disaster recovery methods," said Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Industry Analyst Brendan Read. "This enables contact centers to plan, respond and recover from natural and man-made disasters."

Customer contact organizations face two challenges when devising and implementing effective business continuity and disaster recovery programs. The first is balancing the potential risks and losses from adversity and the investments needed for putting in place effective BC/DR solutions. The second challenge pertains to enterprises' lack of motivation to deploy these solutions due to the unpredictability of these events.



Jim Burtles, Hon FBCI, provides an overview of the Emergency Evacuation Planning Lifecycle which he has developed and explained in a new book.

For the past 12 years I have been emotionally attached and intellectually concerned with the events of 9/11 and as a business continuity specialist I have struggled with the problems associated with getting people to safety before their workplace becomes a prison or a tomb.

The end-result of many years of research, experiment and training is a robust and reliable structured approach to ensuring that people are best prepared to reach safety whenever danger looms. The very latest Business Continuity Lifecycle and its underlying principles have been adapted and applied to create a new or parallel discipline. Adherence to a clearly defined six-stage emergency evacuation planning (EEP) protocol raises the subject matter from the realms of an ad-hoc adventure to that of a disciplined practice with predictable and defendable results.



CIO — FMW Fasteners, a distributor of down-to-earth items such as nuts and bolts, now sees its future in the cloud.

The Houston-based company grew up much like its fastener industry peers, running its business systems in-house and selling through inside and outside sales reps. FMW, however, has evolved to a new model: Running its operations in the cloud. The company deployed NetSuite enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, along with the cloud vendor's customer relationship management (CRM) and ecommerce offerings.

Cloud adoption has dramatically changed how FMW conducts business. The cloud, says FMW Sales manager Steve Baker, eliminates the headache of managing on-premises IT, improves business agility and accommodates a high-growth track. "It has completely transformed the business and what we were able to do and our sense of the possibilities of what we could get done."



Thursday, 05 September 2013 14:11

Agile Business Continuity – Simple as ABC?

Agile techniques have become popular over the last few years. They have their roots in software development projects. Unhappy with ‘monolithic’ projects that exceeded both time and money budgets, project teams looked for a better way to deliver useful end-results to software users – and that also kept up with changing requirements into the bargain. With agile methodologies, software is produced and released in short cycles, typically two to four weeks. Testing is done in parallel so as to avoid delaying releases and users are constantly invited to use the current release, and comment on what they find useful or not. Can such an approach be applied to business continuity?



We say it all the time: Data governance should be driven by the business. But let’s face it: IT knows the technology and most of the technology requires heavy IT involvement.

So what does that even mean when you’re talking about something as technology-focused as master data management? And how can CIOs convince the business that data governance is its responsibility?

This excellent Supply Chain Quarterly article by Gartner’s Andrew White answers many of these critical questions about MDM and data governance.

You may know that White focuses on master data at IT research firm Gartner, but what is less well-known is that White is a supply chain management expert, as well. And like everything else in the world, supply chains are becoming more data-driven. That’s putting pressure on supply chain leaders to deal with their data problems, White explains in the article.



The constant theme in data center circles these days is change. Virtualization, the cloud, solid-state storage—all are driving traditional data infrastructure in new and exotic directions. Most observers, however, tend to view this change in terms of the present, or even the past—that is, how will this new technology solve the problems I’m dealing with today?

It’s not an unreasonable question to ask. In the end, it falls a little short, though, because the true benefit of new technology is usually not in its ability to fix the problems of the past but to open up entirely new benefits for the future. The first ones to envision that future and capitalize on it will become the titans of tomorrow’s data industry.

Gartner hit on this notion recently in its latest evaluation of the cloud industry. While noting that most organizations still need to put cloud infrastructure into motion, analyst Gregor Petri cautioned that the money being spent today to upgrade legacy data centers will be poorly spent if the enterprise maintains a data center-centric view in the new cloud/services era. In other words, why limit the cloud to a mere cost-savings function when it offers so much promise as a revenue and opportunity builder?



Thursday, 05 September 2013 14:09

Fire and water: the importance of water

By Charlie Maclean-Bristol, MBCI FEPS

The news during the past week seems to have been dominated by the possibility of military intervention in Syria. However, an item which has been pushed down the order of news, is the ‘Rim Fire’ in the north-western part of Yosemite national park. Although wild fires seem reasonably common in the USA, this one caught my eye as the ash from the fire threatened to pollute the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which provides water to 2.6 million people and provides 85 percent of the water to the city of San Francisco.

Having worked at Anglian Water in the UK for seven years, first as Emergency Planning Manager and then as as Head of Security and Business Continuity, I always take a keen interest in any emergency involving water. The contamination of water by ash is an incident that is new to me and I wonder how serious it is? Even with my limited knowledge of clean water purification, I know that water plants are pretty good at taking out any possible contaminants. In fact, due to the massive dilution associated with a large reservoir and the quality of the treatment, unless you dump lorry loads of contaminants into a reservoir it is actually very hard to pollute an entire reservoir.

Where pollutants have entered the water system it is usually at the processing stage. A classic case of this was the leaking of diesel from a generator into the water supply of part of Glasgow in 1997, which lead Scottish Water to issue a ‘do not drink’ notice to 50,000 people. This was not caused by a spill into one of the reservoirs that fed the city but at the actual water treatment plant.



The first step in the Risk Management and Own Risk and Solvency Assessment Model Act (RMORSA) implementation, Risk Culture and Governance, lays the groundwork and defines roles for your risk management function. The second step, Risk Identification and Prioritization, defines an ongoing risk intelligence process that equips an organization with the data needed for risk based decision making.

The engine behind this process – the enterprise risk assessment – isn’t a new concept, but organizations are finding that the traditional, intuitive ideas for how to conduct risk assessments are inadequate. Too often, risk managers are interviewing process owners and collecting huge quantities of data, only to find that their top 10 risks are entirely objective and lack any actionable component. And what good is a top 10 risk if you can’t answer the inevitable question; what are you going to do about it?



This study was presented at a communications conference in London and purports to demonstrate that Facebook is an effective tool in crisis communications.

I haven’t looked at the study, itself, only Bulldog Reporter’s story on it, but my reaction was first, “well, duh,” and second, was it really Facebook? Now I completely support the use of Facebook in a crisis. Coca Cola, for example, has 72 million likes on its Facebook page with over 1 million talking about it. Other brands sport similar astounding numbers. So, if Coke is in a crisis, why wouldn’t they be talking to those people who have already connected with them in this way?

But, my question is the study and the conclusion they come to. The study involved created two fake universities, showing students news stories about the crisis these universities were in and then judging student reaction. Then the researchers showed the students fake Facebook posts from the fake universities “which gave additional information and messages directly from the universities.”



Businesses are losing the battle against state-sponsored cyber attacks and things are unlikely to improve in the short term, according to a survey of senior IT security professionals.

This was the view of 58% of nearly 200 respondents, polled by Lieberman Software at Black Hat USA 2013 by Lieberman Software.

While nearly 63% of respondents think a state-sponsored attacker will attempt to breach their organisation in the next six months, 74% said they were not confident that their own corporate network had not already been breached by a foreign state-sponsored hacker.

Most respondents said they believe that the hacking landscape is going to get worse over time.



NARAHA, Japan — In this small farming town in the evacuation zone surrounding the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, small armies of workers in surgical masks and rubber gloves are busily scraping off radioactive topsoil in a desperate attempt to fulfill the central government’s vow one day to allow most of Japan’s 83,000 evacuees to return. Yet, every time it rains, more radioactive contamination cascades down the forested hillsides along the rugged coast.

Nearby, thousands of workers and a small fleet of cranes are preparing for one of the latest efforts to avoid a deepening environmental disaster that has China and other neighbors increasingly worried: removing spent fuel rods from the damaged No. 4 reactor building and storing them in a safer place.

The government announced Tuesday that it would spend $500 million on new steps to stabilize the plant, including an even bigger project: the construction of a frozen wall to block a flood of groundwater into the contaminated buildings. The government is taking control of the cleanup from the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company.



Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:24

The Importance of Being Self-Sufficient

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – After an emergency happens resources can be strained quickly and you may have to do without electricity, water service, telephone service, and access to a grocery store just to name a few.  That’s why it’s so important for everyone to have the ability to be self-sufficient after an emergency occurs.

“One of the best ways people can help their community and first responders is to be self-sufficient after a disaster;” said Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, “by being self-sufficient, people can take a lot of pressure and strain off of vital resources.  Additionally, resources may not be able to reach you for a variety of reasons so you should be prepared by having important items already on hand.”

One of the easiest ways to be self-sufficient is to build an emergency supply kit.  These kits are simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.  You should assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency because you may not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.  Keeping your kit organized in some sort of container also ensures that if you have to evacuate you can quickly take your kit with you.

There are a number of basic items that should go into your kit that you probably already have around the house, like water, food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a can opener, and a radio.  There are other items that you may not have thought of or may not have at home, like dust masks, moist towelettes, garbage bags, or a sleeping bag.

Don’t forget to take into account the needs of everyone, that thinking of things like diapers, formula, medications, contact lenses and supplies, special food, or coloring books or activities for kids.  You can get a full listing of what should go in your emergency kit and how you can maintain it at ready.gov/build-a-kit.

While building your emergency supply kit can seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be.  When you go out to the store, see what’s on sale that you need and pick up a few things at a time, that way you don’t break the bank.  Another tip is rather than buying bottled water; you can disinfect empty 2-liter bottles and fill them with water.  Can’t think of what you want for a birthday or holiday; why not suggest people buy you preparedness supplies, that way you get something you’ll actually use. 

There are many tips and tools to help you become self-sufficient after an emergency, go to ready.gov to learn more.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema.   Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.

Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:24

September is National Preparedness Month

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – This September is National Preparedness Month (NPM).  NPM, now in its tenth year, is a nationwide, month-long effort hosted by the Ready Campaign encouraging households, businesses, and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies.

“People often ask how they can help out first responders in an emergency,” said Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, “well one of the best ways is to be self-sufficient following an emergency, that takes pressure off of responders and they can focus on the most critical situations.”

Preparedness is a shared responsibility that takes input and work from the Whole Community.  A resilient community is one that’s prepared for an emergency and that preparation can’t be done solely by local officials.  It takes individuals, families, business, schools, faith-based organizations, and community-based organizations getting involved and joining together.

Residents should also talk to and work with their local emergency officials.  By talking to local officials, citizens gain valuable insight, lend input, and develop relationships for planning and communicating before an emergency strikes. 

“Another great way to get prepared for an emergency is to get involved in your community,” Tierney said, “there are many different organizations that you can get involved with, such as Community Emergency Response Teams, Citizen Corps, and the Medical Reserve Corps.”

There are many different ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs.  The Whole Community can participate in various programs and activities to make their families, homes and communities safer from risks and threats.  Community leaders agree the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters.  Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies, empowering individuals to lend support.

FEMA is encouraging everyone to take steps to become better prepared for an emergency, whether it’s at home, at work, at school, or in the community, there’s a lot that you can do to be ready and help others be ready too.  Simply put, this September, we’re calling on you to be a local hero.

For more preparedness information, visit fema.gov and ready.gov.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema.   Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.

This post is about our recently published paper that describes how strategies for implementing international cybersecurity best practice should account for five factors: technology profile, laws and regulations, law enforcement, culture and subcultures, and corruption.

To write the paper, we needed cybersecurity best practices to analyze with respect to these five dimensions. We used practices from one recent publication that focuses on insider threat. The CERT Program recommends nineteen best practices for preventing, detecting, and responding to insider threats in the Common Sense Guide to Mitigating Insider Threats, 4th Edition. The guide’s implementation recommendations are based on an analysis of primarily U.S.-based insider threat cases.

With our coauthors Randy Trzeciak, and Palma Buttles, we mapped the best practices to the five factors that affect practice implementation internationally, in the report Best Practices against Insider Threats in All Nations. Each practice is analyzed with respect to the five factors. Analysis was conducted both generally and with respect to potential implications of examples from various countries. This paper is an initial exploration of the effects of the international landscape on the implementation of cybersecurity best practices.



OAKLAND – September is National Preparedness Month and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is partnering with communities in Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawaii to encourage citizens to encourage families, individuals and businesses to act now to increase preparedness throughout the U.S.

FEMA Region 9 Administrator Nancy Ward will participate in an event with the Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM), American Red Cross, City of Chandler, and the business community to kick-off National Preparedness Month in Arizona with a press conference and expo on Wednesday, September 4th at the Chandler Wal-Mart located at 1175 South Arizona Avenue.  ADEM will share samples of a recipe found in the Emergency Kit Cook-off (www.EmergencyKitCookOff.org) that is inspired by the contents of the 72-hour emergency food kit. 

“Preparedness is a shared responsibility. It takes a whole community and this is why you see federal, state, and county government agencies partnering with local municipalities, non-profits, and private businesses to spread the message about the importance of being prepared for emergency situations,” said Nancy Ward, FEMA Region IX Administrator.  “This year’s National Preparedness Month focuses on turning awareness into action by encouraging all individuals and all communities nationwide to make an emergency preparedness plan.”

National Preparedness’ Month is a nationwide, month-long effort hosted annually by the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, that encourages households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies. One of National Preparedness Month’s key messages is: being prepared in the event an emergency means being self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services, possibly  without available response from police, fire or rescue. Preparing for such disaster realities can start with four important steps:

1. Be informed about emergencies that could happen in your community, and identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency

2. Make a plan for what to do in an emergency

3. Build an emergency supply kit

4. Get involved

This year’s National Preparedness Month focuses on turning awareness into action by encouraging all individuals and all communities nationwide to make an emergency preparedness plan. Preparedness information and events will be posted to http://community.fema.gov/connect.ti/READYNPM

Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:20

Didn’t read the small print

Aussie court rules that’s OK

A Mondaq article titled We've always done it this way: when does prior conduct result in a term being incorporated into a contract? (http://tinyurl.com/ldttsam) reports that the WA Court of Appeal ruled that reading the fine print isn’t necessary.

The case on which the appeals court ruled involved a long-standing relationship between a vendor and the vendor’s client.

Over the years, the two parties agreed that when the client needed the vendor’s services, the client would pick up the phone and order the service. The vendor would provide the service and then submit an invoice.

The back of the invoice listed the vendor’s terms and conditions and included an exclusion clause.

After one instance, the vendor invoked the exclusion clause. The client claimed it never read the back of the invoice – it was, according to the client, just a bill.



Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:18

Cloud + Data Center = The New Enterprise

The latest research into cloud computing confirms what most of us already knew: The cloud is quickly becoming the new normal in enterprise computing, portending dramatic changes in hardware, software and service markets in the coming decade.

But even as cloud adoption kicks into high gear, it should be noted that not every application is suited for full cloud deployment and that in some cases the cloud could end up costing more than traditional data center infrastructure.

First, the numbers. Verizon reported this week that cloud utilization grew by 90 percent over the past year, a reflection of the technology’s transition from a largely test and development platform to a full production environment, even for mission-critical apps. The result is that organizations are on average increasing their cloud budgets by 45 percent per month.



Wednesday, 04 September 2013 14:46

Can Google Glass Help First Responders?

Robocop may not be real, but his efficiency is something worth aspiring to. Through the use of Google Glass, communications vendor Mutualink may soon give public safety and military personnel a chance to capture some of the half-robot, half-man’s technological capabilities. Showcased from Aug. 18 to 21 at the annual Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) conference in Anaheim, Calif., Mutualink demonstrated how Google Glass could serve real-time information, hands-free, to public safety officials using its interoperability communications platform.

Mutualink provides public safety and military organizations with the ability to share all kinds of data despite mismatched hardware or software. During its demonstration at APCO, hundreds of fusion centers, schools, hospitals, utility plants and operation centers were connected, able to share video, voice and data ad-hoc. That, said Vice President of Innovation Michael Wengrovitz, is the basic capability already offered by the company. Google Glass, about to enter the consumer market, will provide a new avenue for delivery of Mutualink's services, Wengrovitz explained.



By Ray Abide

The choice of business continuity exercise scenario is an important factor in its success, but how do you go about deciding what you should focus on?

Start by determining the top risks for *your* organization but avoid being influenced by external hype and scare-stories.

For example, in the middle of flu season, it is likely that some people might suggest that an appropriate exercise would simulate a response to an increasing number of influenza cases among workers which escalates into a workforce shortage. I am reminded of the intense focus on pandemic planning during the mid-2000s when there was significant attention given to a strain of avian influenza which rarely is transmitted to humans becoming much more easily transmitted to people and setting off a pandemic; or, the H1N1 (Swine Flu) pandemic of 2009 which drove the World Health Organization to create a lot of anxiety when it raised its pandemic alert level for the first time to phase 5, meaning that a full pandemic was considered imminent. While both are still very much risks today, they became subject to high-levels of media attention but then quickly subsided when the media found something more interesting to follow.



IT security is critically underfinanced by business, a global study has revealed.

Some 60% of IT decision-makers say there is insufficient time and money available to develop IT security policies, according to Kaspersky Lab’s Global Corporate IT Security Risks 2013 survey.

As a result, barely half of the companies surveyed feel that they have highly organised, systematic processes to deal with IT threats, the survey found.

The situation is especially poor in the education sector, where only 28% of organisations are confident they have sufficient investment in IT security policies.

But of even greater concern, only 34% of the government and defence organisations surveyed said they have enough time and resources to develop IT security policies.



CIO — It's commonly accepted among marketers that data-driven marketing powered by big data analytics is the wave of the future. That has led Gartner to predict that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. Others have suggested that the CMO will become the CIO's biggest customer.

Just how that relationship will shake out depends on how CIOs approach the problem of big data and business intelligence (BI). Jennifer Zeszut, former CEO and co-founder of innovative social media monitoring specialist Scout Labs (acquired by Lithium Technologies in 2010), and current CEO and co-founder of Beckon, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering for gaining insight from marketing data, says most IT departments have a flawed approach to big data and BI that forces smart CMOs to seek alternatives.



Tuesday, 03 September 2013 15:22

Who would'a thought?

Risk management is more than just looking at the organization.

It requires a little - or a lot of - curiosity and a strong look beyond the obvious.

Some examples.

Distant fire endangers san Francisco

As firefighters battle the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park, the folks in San Francisco, roughly 200 miles to the west of the park, must be concerned with both their water supply and the electricity grid that serves the area.



Do you remember those problems in school calculus about the multiplication of bacteria? Throw in a little network effect and you can start to build a crude but realistic model of how illnesses like influenza are propagated throughout an organisation. One person carrying flu germs and coming into contact with other people in an enterprise can wipe out hundreds of work hours by spreading the disease. In these cases, the best solution for overall business continuity is individual business interruption – by having the person(s) concerned stay at home until the germs have gone away.



The growth of data surpassed unfathomable long ago, and anyone who deals with data knows this. But seriously, step back from the vastness of it for a minute and consider how massive these data amounts are.

We live in a world where cell phones have more processing power than the Apollo computers that landed us on the moon. And cell phones are far from the only devices contributing to our data gluttony.

A few recent stats on what to expect:



Tuesday, 03 September 2013 15:19

Futurist SME

You can find things of ERM interest in many different places.

I’m reading a novel* that involves organogenesis and some Wall Streeters who were buying life insurance policies at 15 cents-on-the-dollar from people with diabetes and other life-shortening diseases, people who due to the economy or cost of medical care were unable to continue paying policy premiums.

The ERM connection is that the Wall Streeters thought they had covered all the bases to assure their scheme would be highly profitable - the Wall Streeters would buy the policies, pay the policy premiums for what they expected to be a limited time, and then collect the policy's face value when the former policy owner died. They even hired a company to "run the numbers" based on actuarial statistics to assure the worthiness of their scheme.

Unfortunately, the Wall Streeters and their statistics vendor were putting their eggs into the proverbial basket based on history. They overlooked near-future possibilities such as the development of test-tube organs (organogenesis).



Tuesday, 03 September 2013 15:17

Eating your own Cooking – NSA example


Many have been jumping on the bandwagon of criticism for both sides of the issue of the Snowden leaks. Discussions are flying around LinkedIn and other sites about who is to blame ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/30/snowden_sysadmin_access_to_nsa_docs/ ). All of this further enhances my belief that organizations, large and small, need to re-evaluate business as usual.

There is a push for security against external attacks; however, it has been well documented that most threats come from inside to allow passage inadvertently or maliciously take / leak classified information. I use the term classified intentionally, not to indicate governmental but organizational context. Classifying information is not just the responsibility of the government but of each organization (Information: Integrity, Confidentiality, Availability).  A couple month old advertisement for FedEx touted the cost saving mentality by a company that reprinted on the blank side of used paper.  An individual in the meeting turned the page over to ask about the title on the back, “Executive Compensation List”.  The head of the meeting dives across the conference table to grab the ‘list’ out of the attendee’s hand.  I found this hilarious as it points out that too often business as usual does not look at the big picture.  Discrete parts certainly need to be refined by subject matter experts; however, the whole needs to be examined as well.



Tuesday, 03 September 2013 15:16

Managing Small Business Risk

As any risk manager can tell you, risk knows no market segment. Large businesses with their multi-million dollar losses may get more attention but small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face risks as well. The difference for these smaller businesses is that the losses they face can’t always be absorbed into their balance sheet. Losses that would be relatively minor for their larger counterparts, could be devastating and could even force an SME to close its doors forever.

This is why, according to a survey by UK insurer Premierline Direct (part of the Allianz UK Group), it is interesting to see that despite being aware of, and having encountered, many common risks like customer non-payment, supplier issues and natural disaster losses, not all SMEs have been spurred to take action to mitigate future risk. One-fifth of UK SMEs surveyed not only do not have anyone who is responsible for managing risk, but have no plans to manage risks in the future. One-quarter do not consult with any specialists for risk management advice. Of course, the majority of SMEs do take risk management measures but closing the gap for the remaining businesses should be a priority.

To illustrate their findings and offer some tips on how SMEs can manage their risks more effectively, Premierline Direct provided the following infographic.



Companies that hold any amount of data on their customers must now -- today -- begin thinking very seriously about what will happen to their reputations and their businesses if they do not take immediate steps to reassure customers their data is safe and private. Questions about who actually owns, and therefore controls the rights to, customer data are bound to surface very quickly as the world realizes privacy, as it was once defined and understood, is gone. To guide IT professionals in thinking about Big Data privacy challenges, ICC, a nationally recognized enterprise technology, has defined five questions every company must ask about their data and offers a new white paper about Big Data and privacy issues, “Big Data: Big Brother or Guardian Angel?”



The term “information technology” is often forgotten. People think of IT and they think of the “tech” who will help fix their computer. But the primary role of information technology workers is to manage the flow of information or data. IT systems provide email, calendars, records, documentation, data storage and more—all of which are forms of information.

Providing security to all of this data is done in large part via access control (AC), which includes managing user access to disparate systems and stores of data.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a framework for AC called the Policy Machine (PM), which helps IT create an enterprise-wide operating environment that simplifies management, governance and data interoperability issues that plague AC administration today.




As part of the National Preparedness Month 2013 the Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ) group is offering some free webinars offering a great resource of information regarding the timely disaster preparedness topics of writing and testing your organization’s disaster.

The first webinar is entitled “How to Conduct Powerful Exercises Every Time and addresses those crisis situations that require quick reaction and on-the-spot decision making —and — are often unexpected and unavoidable.  The degree of any organization’s success in responding, controlling and managing such a crisis is directly reflected by the level of effective and relevant training of the people involved.  Having accurate continuity plans is not enough to ensure a successful recovery.  People must be trained.  Conducting exercises is one of the most important activities that we can do to train people to respond, restore and recover from a crisis event.  These exercises transpose our response and recovery strategies from theory based ideas to reality.

Exercises build continuity muscle by generating knowledgeable and trained people along with more accurate and viable documentation when designed, developed and conducted correctly.  But what does it take to pull off a powerful and effective exercise?  How do you measure the results of an exercise?  And how can you leverage the learning environment that the exercise creates for maximum learning experience?

Some of the topics to be covered in this webinar are:

1.         What is and why should you conduct disaster exercises

2.         The six types of exercises

3.         Using the Exercise Planning Template (handout)

4.         Designing just the right exercise with the best of ingredients to obtain desired results

5.         How to prepare people for their success with maximum outcome

6.         Conducting the exercise where theory meets reality

7.         How to spot low hanging fruit by recognizing and identifying action items

8.         Virtual exercises, are they effective

9.         Focusing on what makes exercising easy …and fun

Exercising our business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management plans are no longer an option if the objective is to have a viable continuity program works when reality strikes.  This is the one training about exercises that you cannot miss.  We will cover issues and present information that you will find nowhere else.  Take the time to make this happen for you.

Click here to register for this webinar being held on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 – 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT.

Click here to register for the second webinar entitled “Escape the BC Plan Quagmire: Tips and Tricks for Migrating Seamlessly to a Better Solution “and which will be held on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT.

If applicable, please pass this information along to those business continuity planning team members


Whistle-blowers are in the news more and more, but some organizations don’t seem to have caught up with the trend, or the fact that retaliation is illegal. They don’t seem to realize that negative reactions to a whistle-blower can make them look petty—and guilty.

Take two front page stories in our area newspaper on the same day this week. Both were about whistle-blowers who put their jobs on the line to come forward. One was fired, the other was suspended and later resigned.

In one case, The Journal News reported, a member of a New York town’s financial staff, the supervisor of fiscal services for more than 10 years, testified at a hearing that she notified several of her superiors that the town’s revenue projections were overestimated—on a financial statement needed for a bond application. She also reported improper money transfers—one made to the town supervisor. The woman was ignored, told to keep quiet, and eventually fired.



By Rob Sobers

A tidal wave of structured and semi-structured data is drowning the enterprise – documents, video and audio – and to get value from this data, and turn it into an asset, people across many teams need to be able to collaborate and share that data. However, if the wrong people access the data, it can seriously damage the business.

In order to manage and protect that data, businesses need to have systems and structures in place to manage it, and to understand how the data is being used, who has access to it and, more importantly, who shouldn’t have access to it.

Businesses today are struggling with proper data protection. IT is tasked with protecting an organization’s data, but often without the business-context needed to do this effectively. When considering how valuable an organization’s data is, a ‘best guess’ scenario is not enough. There are certain steps IT should take to keep data properly protected and managed, while still ensuring the right people have the access to that data.



If you ever need a belly laugh, visit the site DamnYouAutocorrect.com (warning: it’s often not safe for work). It’s also a great illustration of why you shouldn’t just force users through the same exact login procedure when they use mobile apps versus full-fledged browser windows: hitting all the right tiny keys is hard work, and often the software behind the scenes is helpfully trying to “correct” everything you type.

Responsive design is all the rage in consumer web app design, and for good reason: users can put down one device, pick up another, and change the screen orientation in mere moments, and app developers can’t afford to miss a trick in optimizing the user experience. Similarly, in researching current authentication methods and trends, we’ve come to believe more strongly than ever in adapting your user authentication methods to your population, the interaction channel they’re using, your business goal, your risk, and your ability to pick up on contextual clues about the user’s legitimacy or lack thereof. Call it responsive design for authentication.



Decades ago, the ‘Jaws’ film series struck a chord with its marketing slogan ‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water’. Risks are like sharks as well. You think you’ve disposed of one, only to find a new one circling you and your organisation, waiting for an opportunity to emerge and attack. The Institute of Risk Management has a research paper on offer dealing with emergent (or is that emerging?) risks – which it defines as those risks that have not yet happened, but that are expected to firm up and increase greatly in significance in the near future.



Just a quick reminder — September 2013 is National Preparedness month throughout the U.S.

And, given the fact that each year many small businesses nationwide are forced to close their doors in the aftermath of severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and hurricanes, it is a good time to remind all businesses that help with your own business preparedness planning is available in this National Preparedness Month period through a series of free webinars in September hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in collaboration with FEMA’s Ready Campaign and the Agility Recovery organization.

Below is a list of the topics. The hour-long webinars will be presented at 2 p.m. EDT each Wednesday in September.

September 11: Protecting Your Organization by Preparing Your Employees

September 18: The NEW 10 Steps to Preparedness – Lessons from the Past

September 25: Crisis Communications for any Organization

Watch for more information to follow regarding this important resource of awareness assistance and training opportunity.

As the job descriptions for data scientists and data analysts become more specific and the worries that not enough skilled potential hires are available in the right place at the right time to deal with Big Data initiatives, some CIOs see another potential problem arising from the race to maximize data analytics. And the negative consequences are partially pointed right at IT.

Much planning and investment is being devoted in companies around the world to selecting, procuring and providing sophisticated and powerful tools to allow employees across the organization to collaborate, analyze data and reach organizational goals. It’s become accepted as almost fact that to neglect this technology investment is tantamount to ruin. But, writes Andrew Horne, managing director of the CEB CIO Leadership Council, on the Executive Board blog,



To many executives of small to midsized businesses, Big Data isn’t even a part of their lingo, much less on their IT radar screen. From what I’ve read, though, just because you may not call it “Big Data” doesn’t mean you aren’t already dealing with it. The size of the data may be relative to the size of your company.

But my focus isn’t the size of your Big Data; it’s whether Big Data projects provide value for small to midsize businesses.

The answer is yes, but with some caveats. Let me explain. A company may have only 1 terabyte of data to analyze, but it may still be less effective than an enterprise with 100 terabytes of data to comb through. According to a post from the SMB Group:



Friday, 30 August 2013 14:11

Closing the Chasm


I was recently following a discussion on LinkedIn about what Law Firm staff should do to help IT. There were many responses over a period of three months. One response likened IT to fire fighters and staffers to arsonists (LOL – Ben Schorr). Ironically, the specificity of law is not unique to this problem. Legal firms have their own life-cycle and cadence that is certainly unique. The problem of communication and integration of IT and business is worldwide and ubiquitous in all industries.

The basic premise of a law firm is to serve the clientele in matters of the law. IT is also a service (similar to the ever more popular Cloud), which needs to be consumed as such. Often this point is touched upon very lightly or not at all. In fact, some pundits in the industry refer to IT as a commodity or a product. A product (piece of hardware or package of software) is not a solution. Technology enables people and process to create a solution. Thus, ITs basic premise is to serve its clientele in matters of automating processes and assisting people using technology to resolve the problems facing business.



CIO — As the federal government warms to the idea of allowing employees to use their own mobile devices for work and develops new device management policies, agency CIOs and others will still have to grapple with the challenges associated with application security, experts warn.

The initial challenge for federal IT managers evaluating BYOD policies was to ensure that their agency's infrastructure was secure enough for new devices to enter the network and provide for central management, according to Tom Suder, president of the mobile services provider Mobilegov.

With those policies in place, agencies have cleared the way for the development and adoption of innovative new applications that could boost productivity in a mobilized workforce. But those apps invite a host of new security challenges.



Many UK organizations are struggling to manage the threats they face because of inconsistencies in the way different teams communicate, share and interpret information. Although most organizations have a good understanding of the potential hazards they face, KPMG’s ‘Global Risk Survey’ reveals that a lack of skills, combined with a relaxed approach to ‘raising the alarm’, is increasing the risk to business operations.

More than 1 in 5 respondents to KPMG’s survey (21 percent) suggest that poor lines of communication between risk management teams and senior executives, combined with weak reporting processes, are to blame. A similar proportion (22 percent) argue that not all business units fully appreciate enterprise-wide threats, and that the resulting lack of a ‘big picture’ is a major challenge to handling day-to-day business risks.

Many of those questioned also suggest that their organization’s ability to spot, weigh up and manage emerging risks is not where it needs to be. For example, just 28 percent claim that their front-line teams are very effective at identifying potential problems and only 33 percent believe that these teams can adequately deal with new threats.



CIO — I hear a lot of conversations these days about whether the "I" in CIO still means "information" or if it really stands for some other "I" word. Innovation? Integration? Intelligence? While those are always entertaining discussions to have, I'm thinking about a different letter entirely: Who is the CPO at your organization? The "P" doesn't stand for procurement or privacy, but for policy or process.

As I talk with CIOs about where their businesses are heading and what they are doing to get there faster, we often end up discussing their investments in consumer-based or emerging technologies. Then the focus inevitably moves to policy and process. "If I am going to enable and promote [bring your own device]," one CIO told me, "I need to have a policy and process in place that employees must follow to ensure we are safe, secure and compliant." I hear virtually the same comments about cloud and social, too.



Wednesday, 28 August 2013 16:07

Coherence of Vision

In my recent blog post Choosing Your Point of Organizational Incoherence, I stressed the importance of making a choice on how to deal with systemic incoherence that is beyond your control as a CIO or a CTO. Technology, economy and society are not likely to be aligned anytime soon; emphasis on maximizing shareholders value might make it impossible for you to make certain strategic investments; and, unrealistic expectations about predictability of the software development process might make you want to tear your hair out. True and painful that these three factors and possibly many others might be, you can’t just sit on your hands waiting for all the moons to be aligned. You have to act now and pick your point of incoherence in order to address today’s needs. For example as mentioned in the previous blog post, a CTO client of mine has recently chosen his Scrum Masters as the preferred “point” through which to manage end-to-end incoherence in his company.

This blog post addresses dealing with (in)coherence at the vision level. My fundamental premise is that once you have picked your point of organizational incoherence, you will be able to deal with most of the tactical, operational and strategic challenges that might come your way. However, you will not be able to deal with vision issues through your chosen point of incoherence. The reason is straightforward: unlike tactics, operations and strategy, your vision must be sustainable and coherent. Figure 1 illustrates this critical difference between tactics/operations/strategy on the one hand, and vision on the other.



Wednesday, 28 August 2013 16:03

The Realities of Cloud Data Integration

I’ve written many times about the challenges of integration when you’re dealing with the cloud—either integration with services or integration with cloud infrastructure.

But I’m starting to see articles that add more depth to the data integration/cloud conversation, particularly when it comes to using cloud infrastructure.

Baseline Magazine recently published an article, “Integrating Clouds Into the IT Infrastructure,” that reminds us once again that the cloud is permanently changing the role of CIOs and IT within the enterprise.



By Jim Mitchell

Perhaps I’m just a curmudgeon (a crusty, ill-tempered old man), but it irks me when someone uses the term “Business Continuity” exclusively to refer to IT planning.  Perhaps I’ve been in this industry too long.  I remember when IT planning was referred to as “Disaster Recovery”, and only business operations used the term “Business Continuity”.  Suddenly (or at least it seems sudden to me) IT specialists are throwing around the term Business Continuity as though they invented it – and as though everyone should understand what they mean.

Is Business Continuity an appropriate term for everything to do with recovery from, or response to a business disruption – to include both technology and operations?

Let me take a step back for a moment to admit that I’ve been a BCM industry advocate for integrating BC (business operations) and DR (technology) planning for many years.  I have been in the industry long enough to remember when IT Disaster Recovery plans were routinely created without input from ‘the business’ (the people who actually make money for the organization).  In that era – largely based on mainframes and midrange computers, and eventually ‘client-server’ infrastructure – DR plans were an all-or-nothing proposition.  You either had a working data center or you didn’t.  If the data center was disrupted (fire, power outage, flood, etc.) the Disaster Recovery Plan was the only alternative.  You packed up your people and sent them – and your backup tapes – to a 3rd party recovery site.  Anything short of smoke-and-rubble was viewed as an operational outage – not worth the cost of invoking the DR plan.



An updated version of an article first published in 2010.

By Charlie Maclean-Bristol.

Snake oil is applied metaphorically to any product with exaggerated marketing but questionable and/or unverifiable quality or benefit (1).

For the consultant, selling business continuity can be the ultimate snake oil. Often, the potential client has been told to implement business continuity and doesn’t know where to start. Along comes the consultant, offering to take all the potential client’s pain away. They make all the right noises about BIAs, BCPs and RTOs but the client is never sure whether they are being sold the snake oil or a genuine cure. With other types of consultancy there is often a ‘cost benefit’, where the consultant will be able to show demonstrable changes or cost savings to the client.

In purchasing business continuity consultancy you buy from a consultant who plans for something which may never happen. If the plans have to be used, the consultant has been paid and is off to their next job. If the plan does not work, the consultant can blame the updating of the plan and not the original plan which they delivered. Therefore, providing business continuity consultancy is the snake oil peddler’s dream: it can command a premium price; you are often selling to a client who does not really understand what they are being sold; and it is very unlikely that your plan will actually be used and, if it is used, you most likely have been paid for the work and are long gone.

The purpose of this article is to give potential purchasers some ideas on what to look for in choosing a business continuity consultant, which will hopefully ensure that you get the services at the quality you require. By using the ideas within this article you should hopefully avoid the purveyors of snake oil and employ someone who will give you a genuine cure for your business continuity problem.



University tuition fees are at an all-time high of £9,000 maximum a year, so for many students university is no longer a viable career option for them. However, university is not the only way to achieve a fulfilling career in the IT industry.

Lesley Cowley, CEO of Nominet, said for those that do decide to look into the alternatives to university, there are many options:  “Apprentice schemes are a good starting point as they can offer students the opportunity to gain some on-the-job skills alongside college studies, meaning that both the business and the individual can grow their own future talent.”

Cowley said in the IT industry for example, many are put off by the misconception that you must have an ICT education or qualification to work in the IT industry: “In fact, there are multiple routes into IT careers; from college and university courses to workplace apprenticeships. For example, our post A-level apprentice scheme is currently in its third year and gives school leavers the opportunity to apply for roles within our technical infrastructure, software development and business intelligence teams.



What good is a high-performance team in a vacuum, and how long will one last without an environment in which it can thrive?

This is the question that comes to mind when I’m asked to comment on the role of leadership in high-performance teams. Teams may be able to achieve various states of high performance for a time, or from time to time, perhaps experienced by the team as being “in the zone.” But my thoughts turn toward questions of causing teams to be in the zone on demand, and of sustaining a state of high performance.

Three Simple Words…

Be. Do. Have. These three words outline what I’ve learned in life, and they work as a sequence to achieving sustained success. Ironically, in most cultures I’ve encountered, the success sequence is often performed backward, and doing it backward isn’t successful. In fact, instead of success, the reversed sequence leads to a state of sustained unfulfillment. Too often, people operate in a “have-do-be” sequence. For example, “Were I to have money, I would do what people with money do, then I could be what people with money are” (rich). As a result, following this sequence leaves people perpetually unfulfilled because how much “have” do you need before you can start “doing,” and how much “doing” is needed before you can declare yourself to “be rich”? Typically, starting with the “have” leads to never getting to the “be.”



Editor's note: Kelly Wallace is CNN's digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. She's a mom of two girls and lives in Manhattan. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter.

(CNN) -- My mother-in-law and I talk about nearly everything. But when I mentioned to her recently that I was working on a story about emergency preparedness, I realized that's one thing we've never discussed -- even though she lives nearby and would certainly factor into our family plan.

"If a disaster strikes, where would we meet?" we asked each other. "Who would we call? What would we take with us?"

A new national advertising campaign shared with CNN exclusively ahead of its official launch Wednesday aims to get families like my own at least talking about what we'd do in the face of a natural disaster or other emergency.

"This is a pretty fearful topic for a lot of parents," said Priscilla Natkins, executive vice president and director of client services for the Ad Council, the private nonprofit group spearheading the campaign along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.



Have you ever wondered, what’s top of mind for leading CEOs? Below are direct quotes from a discussion on July 23, 2013 with some of the most admired CEOs on key topics like: uncovering emerging changes, CEO priorities, what’s around the corner, the future of big data, differentiating their customer model. The CEOs in the discussion all have 100 plus year old companies who lead their specific industry.

- Hikmet Ersek is CEO and President of Western Union, which might actually be the world’s largest retailer with 520,000 storefronts and more than 1 million agents. Ersek was cited as 2012 ‘Responsible CEO of the year’ by Corporate Responsibility Magazine.

- Shivan Subramaniam is 14-year CEO, and Chairman, of FM Global. FM Global is the 185-year old insurance leader with no actuaries – only engineers — where 30% of the Fortune 1,000 are clients.



BRAITHWAITE, La. (AP) – Isaac barely had hurricane-strength winds when it blew ashore southwest of New Orleans a year ago, but its effects are still apparent in coastal areas where it flooded thousands of homes.

After landfall on Aug 28, 2012, Isaac stalled, dumping more than a foot of rain and churning a monstrous storm surge. Water flowed over levees and destroyed homes and businesses in coastal Louisiana and Mississippi.

In the end, it was blamed for seven deaths. In Plaquemines Parish, one of the hardest hit areas, damage to homes and businesses has been estimated at more than $100 million, said Guy Laigast, director of the parish's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.



Tuesday, 27 August 2013 15:19

HR Departments Invaded By Data Scientists

CIOWhen General Motors was looking for someone to lead its global talent and organizational capability group, the $152 billion carmaker clearly wasn't looking for a paper-pushing administrator. Michael Arena, who took the position 18 months ago, is an engineer by training. He was a visiting scientist at MIT Media Lab. He's a Six Sigma black belt. He's got a Ph.D.

This is not your father's human resources executive.

But it is a sign of where the corporate HR function is headed. Arena is dedicated to the hot field of talent analytics--crunching data about employees to get "the right people with the right talent in the right place at the right time at the right cost," he says.



Tuesday, 27 August 2013 15:19

Disaster Recovery Set to Grow in the Cloud

One of the big things about cloud computing is the potential for cutting costs and saving capital. On demand storage and Software as a Service (SaaS) paved the way with applications stretching from cloudified accountancy to sales force and customer relationship management. ‘All things shall move to the cloud’ is the mantra of many, and disaster recovery appears to be obeying the same rule. RaaS or Recovery as a Service is set to grow according to a recent Research and Markets report, with an impressive 55.2 per cent compound annual growth rate between 2013 and 2018, moving to a $5 billion market globally in five years’ time. But what does RaaS change for organisations down on the ground?

What changes is the way disaster recovery is paid for and how much it costs. With cloud vendors continually innovating in terms of service offerings, customers will often see cloud DR costs going down compared to conventional or in-house solutions. New pricing models are coming where users pay on the basis of how much disaster recovery they actually do (for example, restoring stored data), rather than how much DR for which they provision (for instance, how much data they upload for storage).



The announcement that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will step down from that position within the next 12 months has brought the often-neglected topic of succession planning to the forefront again. The attention is not yet as sharp as it was when Steve Jobs announced his medical leave from Apple, and it may not reach that level. However, it’s never too early to discuss in earnest your company’s and your department’s plans, if any, for succession in at least key positions.

If the words “succession planning” don’t appear anywhere in your organization’s processes or documentation, that’s not necessarily a negative. This type of planning, writes Sue Brooks, managing director for talent management firm Ochre House, is ready for broadening: “Currently, succession plans are focused on filling roles, but to be truly strategic we need to look at developing individuals into these new roles through talent management.” That approach isn’t surprising coming from a talent management firm, but it doesn’t mean she’s wrong. And for those with no formal succession planning process in place, I think these should be encouraging words. Considering the succession plan as part of the ongoing talent management efforts keeps the focus and energy from flagging, and covers alternate scenarios, including department reorganizations, for example, and not just leaders leaving the company.



The data center is quickly moving toward hyperscale architectures, the result of both advancing technologies and economic forces weighing on the enterprise.

The question, though, is not whether hyperscale deployments will increase in numbers or even come to dominate the IT industry, but will the owned-and-operated data center model simply become too burdensome for the vast majority of organizations?

On the economic front, it’s hard to argue against the hyperscale model. As Google, Facebook, Amazon and others have proven, volume hardware and software deployments can reach the point at which a single buyer becomes a channel in itself—that is, the company consumes in such volumes that it can custom-order its own platforms directly from the chip- and board-level suppliers that cater to the big OEMs. And in the case of Facebook, these designs are starting to trickle into the IT industry at large through initiatives like the Open Compute Project.



CSO — Big data does not necessarily mean Good Data. And that, as an increasing number of experts are saying more insistently, means Big Data does not automatically yield good analytics.

If the data is incomplete, out of context or otherwise contaminated, it can lead to decisions that could undermine the competitiveness of an enterprise or damage the personal lives of individuals.

One of the classic stories of how data out of context can lead to distorted conclusions comes from Harvard University professor Gary King, director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science. A Big Data project was attempting to use Twitter feeds and other social media posts to predict the U.S. unemployment rate, by monitoring key words like "jobs," "unemployment," and "classifieds."

Using an analytics technique called sentiment analysis, the group collected tweets and other social media posts that included these words to see if there were correlations between an increase or decrease in them and the monthly unemployment rate.



According to a survey performed by Experian Data Breach Resolution and the Ponemon Institute, only 31 percent of companies are insured against data breaches.  Meanwhile, 76 percent of respondents rated the impact of a security breach to be greater than or equal to a natural disaster, business interruption or fire.

The average cost for data breach was estimated by respondents to be $163 million, although some projections neared $500 million in damages. For a 24 month period, the 56 percent of respondents having suffered a cyber-security attack reported the average cost of the breach to be $9.4 million.



IT outsourcing as a percentage of the IT budget dropped this year, reversing a four-year trend and marking the first time since the start of the recession that IT organizations have begun shifting spending plans on a percentage basis toward developing internal operations and capabilities and away from outsourcing partners, according to a report by research and advisory services specialist Computer Economics.

Survey results suggested organizations are starting to "back-source" their IT services, bringing them back in-house after a period of growth in the use of service providers. The decline in IT outsourcing was reported as significant, down from an average 11.9 percent in 2012 to 10.6 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, IT operating budgets are rising 2.5 percent this year at the median, and IT capital budgets are up 4 percent.

"With the tentative improvement in the economic outlook, IT organizations are putting newfound resources into internal operations and capital investments at a pace that is greater than their spending with IT service providers," the report noted. "IT outsourcing budgets are not necessarily shrinking so much as IT budgets are rising. The denominator is rising faster than the numerator."



Monday, 26 August 2013 15:39

There are no winners in the blame game

Every time a major security breach makes the headlines, a common reaction happens. Even before the details of the breach are known, the infosec world gets into a frenzy of speculation as to how the attack happened, who conducted it, and whether the attackers were skilled or not. Invariably the conversation focuses onto the company that is the victim of the attack, and it often tends to highlight how stupid, negligent or weak its security defenses were. In effect, we blame the victim for being attacked.

While the organization may have been negligent, or their security not up to scratch, we should not forget they are still the victim. How good, or not, the victim’s security is a separate issue for a separate conversation. Foisting blame on the victim on top of having to deal with the incident does not bring much value to the conversation. The blame for the attack should lie squarely on the shoulders of those who conducted it.



A lot of people don’t see the necessity of listening online. The truth is this is perhaps more important than actually being active online. The cold hard fact is that people are having conversations (good and bad) about your brand whether you like it or not and for anyone with an interest in selling (which let’s face it we all are) its crucial to pay attention to what our customers, potential customers, competitors and influencers are saying about our brands.

ORM — Online Reputation Management — is a really good way to go about listening. There are a number of tools out there that you can use, but the real value comes out of understanding what ORM actually means for your business.



WASHINGTON (AP) – The latest high-tech disruption in the financial markets increases the pressure on Nasdaq and other electronic exchanges to take steps to avoid future breakdowns and manage them better if they do occur.

The three-hour trading outage on the Nasdaq stock exchange Thursday also can be expected to trigger new rounds of regulatory scrutiny on computer-driven trading. Investors' shaky confidence in the markets also took another hit.

The exchange opened as normal Friday.

Questions about potential dangers of the super-fast electronic trading systems that now dominate the U.S. stock markets ripple again through Wall Street and Washington. Stock trading now relies heavily on computer systems that exploit split-penny price differences. Stocks can be traded in fractions of a second, often by automated programs. That makes the markets more vulnerable to technical failures.



There has been a lot of speculation about the impact of PRISM on data security and cloud computing; just this week alone two influential articles have been written quoting wildly different predictions on how much the revelations will cost cloud vendors, but there’s no denying that the ripples in the industry are starting to rock the boat.

The Information Technology and Innovation Forum (ITIF) recently announced that due to the fears over data privacy and security that PRISM has highlighted, the cloud computing industry stood to take a hit in the order of $36 billion by 2016. But Forrester Research has come out to say this estimate is too low and the impact could be far deeper to the tune of $180 billion.



CIO — Even though midmarket industrial firms have valuable IP and business processes, they are lagging behind other industries when it comes to data security, according to a recent report by assurance, tax and consulting firm McGladrey.

"A lot of the executives we asked about security risks don't believe their data is at risk or is at very little risk," says Karen Kurek, leader of McGladreys industrial products practice and a member of the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) Board of Directors. "Two-thirds of them said it was at little or no risk. I think in general, in this sector, a lot of people don't understand the potential exposure that they have."

"But we know that middle market companies very much are targeted," she adds. "Part of [the reason for their belief] is because ignorance is not bliss. There's this false sense of security. They don't know what they don't know until something happens to them."



Network World — California is rolling out a new law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from electric generating plants, and the cost of the effort is expected to be passed along to data centers, which are among the biggest consumers of electric power in the state.

This means data center operators in California will need to step up their energy efficiency efforts in order to avoid the higher costs. And the handwriting is on the wall for data centers in the rest of the U.S., as President Obama has directed the EPA to develop greenhouse gas controls nationwide.

The law that took effect on Jan. 1 requires California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The plan is to try to reduce emissions statewide by 2 percent to 3 percent a year. According to the California Air Resources Board, the lead enforcement agency, the law requires power plants to obtain permits, also called "allowances," for every metric ton of greenhouse gases they emit.



The Department of Energy was hacked. Again. It is the second time this year that the DOE was the victim of a breach. The breach took place in, and it is believed that the personally identifiable information (PII) of 14,000 present and former employees was potentially compromised.


Defense contractor Northrop Grumman recently announced that it, too, suffered a similar breach.

In both cases, because of the type of information affected, the hackers may have been doing little more than data mining for valuable-on-the-black-market PII. Or it could be the hackers were looking for more, like the ability to access data involving the critical infrastructure or national security stored on the organizations’ networks. We don’t know, and we won’t know, as Anthony DiBello, strategic partnerships manager, Guidance Software, pointed out to Sue Marquette Poremba in an email, without a complete forensic analysis of the compromised systems. He went on to say:






Hello, this is George J. Silowash, Cybersecurity Threat and Incident Analyst for the CERT Division. Organizations may be searching for products that address insider threats but have no real way of knowing if a product will meet their needs. In the recently released report, Insider Threat Attributes and Mitigation Strategies, I explore the top seven attributes that insider threat cases have according to our database of over 700 insider incidents. These attributes can be used to develop characteristics that insider threat products should possess.

The top seven characteristics that insider threat products should have based on cases from our database include the ability to execute these activities:




Business adoption of Internet of Things solutions will be fast — in fact, as I wrote yesterday, it’s already here for some industries. That’s why CIOs and other IT leaders need to gear up for supporting the unique data issues related to this trend.

Let’s look at what makes the Internet of Things data a bit different from other IT data resources.

The Problem: Mega Big Data. One of the main differences will be in the amount of data you’ll need to sort, improve, integrate, analyze and manage. You’ve heard of Big Data? All these devices, constantly chattering updates about moisture, light, movement and whatnot, will create crazy amounts of Big Data.

IT Requirement: A (possibly real-time stream) data analytics platform that can handle Big Data and a scalable infrastructure to support it.



Friday, 23 August 2013 22:11

Four steps for denying DDoS attacks

How should banks and financial institutions deal with increasing numbers of large-scale denial of service attacks?

By Avi Rembaum and Daniel Wiley.

Financial institutions have been battling waves of large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks since early 2012. Many of these attacks have been the work of a group calling itself the Qassam Cyber Fighters (QCF), who until recently posted weekly updates on Pastebin about their reasons behind their attacks, and summarising Operation Ababil, their DDoS campaign.

Other hacktivist groups have launched their own DDoS attacks and targeted financial services institutions with focused attacks on web forms and content. There have also been reports of nation-state organized cyber assaults on banks and government agencies, along with complex, multi-vector efforts that have combined DDoS attacks with online account tampering and fraud.

These incidents against all sizes of banks have shown that there are many kinds of DDoS attacks, including traditional SYN and DNS floods, as well as DNS amplification, application layer and content targeted methods. Denial of service (DoS) activities that have targeted SSL encrypted webpage resources and content are an additional challenge. In some instances, the adversaries have moved to a blended form of attack that incorporates harder-to-stop application layer methods alongside ‘cheap’, high-volume attacks that can be filtered and blocked through simpler means.



Friday, 23 August 2013 22:11

Five new virtualization challenges

As virtualization capabilities are built into networking, storage, applications and databases giving shape to the software defined data centre, problems with management and visibility across data centre boundaries will emerge. A recent survey by SolarWinds revealed that more than 700 IT professionals in six countries across the globe agreed that virtualization technology contributes significantly to management challenges, indicating the impact is undeniable and vast.

With the software defined data centre transition an imminent reality, the following five management challenges arising from the survey should be considered by every business continuity manager:

Virtual mobility impacts network optimization
Virtualization has typically operated within a contained portion of the network such that changes in the virtualization environment didn’t usually impact the broader network. With improvements and increased adoption of workload mobility technologies like Metro vMotion and storage vMotion that make it easier to move workloads geographically, the rapid movement of workloads could cause new problems for the overall enterprise network.



European companies are prioritising risk management as never before, although some weaknesses remain.

These findings come from research on risk management leadership conducted with risk managers from the Federation of European Risk Management (FERMA) and the public sector associations PRIMO by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services sponsored by insurer Zurich.

In their responses, more than 200 executives at major European organizations emphasise how top management and the board are increasingly setting direction and taking tighter control of risk management, integrating it with overall company strategy and embedding it deeper into corporate culture.

The survey indicates that, at 35 percent of organizations, either a chief risk officer or a risk manager has direct responsibility for risk management. At 27 percent, either the CEO or the CFO/treasurer has direct responsibility, while the board itself is responsible at 14 percent.



CIO — There's no doubt that multisourcing -- parceling out the IT services portfolio among a number of vendors--has its benefits: competitive pricing, increased flexibility and access to a deeper pool of talent, among others. But working with multiple providers creates multiple challenges, not the least of which is trying to get all of those competing vendors to play nice.

In fact, almost everything in the typical outsourcing transaction, transition and operation is conspiring against them getting along.

For one thing, they may be no incentive for the providers to work together. Multisourcing has entered the mainstream, but outsourcing contracts and negotiations haven't kept pace with the trend.



Believe it or not, your IT department is probably full of squirrels. No, not those cute fuzzy critters that climb trees, but data consumers that hide data away with the same relentless fortitude as their bushy tailed namesakes hide acorns.

I was inspired by this idea by Dave Russell, VP and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner. Dave is a long-time industry watcher and one of the smartest people around when it comes to understanding the data protection industry. I was in a meeting with him recently when he mentioned how IT departments tend to have lots of people in them who like to “squirrel away” copies of data. That got me thinking.



Friday, 23 August 2013 22:07



Outsourcing, co-location, leasing, COO / CFO absorption of the CIO role, cloud computing and so on are the topics littered across the landscape of today’s IT world. Reading an article recently sparked a long running exposed nerve I have endured painfully throughout my career in this industry, IT. While it is absolutely true that we should not bind ourselves within the borders of our thought, nor our physical location. The truth resounds in a deafening roar, “Do not forget the human element!” People are still a part of this technological world. Processes certainly support people and are automated by technology; however, this does not take the place of the communion that occurs between people.

Regardless of the business model, remote operations are attractive due to the low cost component of the equation. Those that are skeptical about IT ever providing bottom line benefit if kept in house can now relax. I am not out to debunk the bottom line cost reduction that outsourcing, cloud computing, or other forms of remote operations contribute. IT must evolve (http://wp.me/p3JnQK-12). In fact, I am a big believer in cost reduction. The issue at hand is how to “communicate” within the context of our ever-digitizing world. We cannot lose the communion portion of that word, communicate.



By Jack Rosenberger

A vice president of datacenter initiatives and digital infrastructure with the analyst firm 451 Research, Michelle Bailey recently spoke with CIO Insight about IT investments, the current lack of innovation, business metrics and what many CIOs should be thinking about but aren’t. Here is a condensed version of Bailey’s remarks.

It’s time for companies to invest in IT. “The economy is improving, and we’re seeing jobs growth and improvement in the housing market, especially in the U.S., but what we aren’t seeing a return to IT spending. We haven’t seen the return to IT spending that we would have expected to see by now. Instead, we are seeing companies hoarding cash and a lot of bloated balance sheets. We’ve seen a lot of IT consolidation projects, with CIOs going after the low-hanging fruit, which is fine during the downturn of the economy. But what we’re not seeing—and what we should be seeing—is long-term investments in IT.”



Friday, 23 August 2013 22:05

How to build a risk threat model

Each business is different and requires diverse security measures and best practices, yet each security division runs into similar barriers when trying to convince management to loosen the purse strings.  

Security experts shared their tips and advice on how to build a risk threat model, at Rapid7’s United security summit 2013.

John Pescatore, director emerging security trends at SANs believes different environments require different security gauges.

“A car has a check light for when running out of gas," said Pescatore. "A boat has different gauges to not just gas but to show depth. A plane has gauges on gas, if the wings are level, etc. All environments are different and require different protections. Attackers target anyone that has information that be sold.”



It’s time to think about how you’ll manage data from the Internet of Things.

I’m not being trendy. I know it seems too new to be possible, but actually the Internet of Things is a simple concept. Sensors + Wi-Fi = Device. It will quickly take root like kudzu, overwhelming your systems, particularly your data systems.

Consider this: Cisco states that what it calls the “Internet of Everything”—people, process, data and things using network connections—will reach an additional $544 billion in profits this year alone, according to CNET. By 2020, the GSM Association’s Connected Life predicts growth to 24 billion connected devices, Wired reports.



Migrate an installed Windows system, even Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012, to a GPT/uEFI configuration on a solid-state drive without interrupting the use of applications or having to restart the system.

Paragon Software Group (PSG), the leader in data backup, disaster recovery and data migration solutions, announces Paragon Migrate OS to SSD 3.0, a one-step tool to migrate Windows systems to faster solid-state drives (SSDs). This major upgrade allows users to perform system migration to a GPT/uEFI configuration directly under all versions of Windows from XP, onwards including Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. Users can continue working with applications during the migration process and are not required to restart the system. In addition, Paragon Migrate OS to SSD 3.0 now offers the option to build a WinPE bootable media to do migrations or fix various boot problems without installing the product. 

As PC users seek to take advantage of SSDs’ better access time, read/write speeds, and resistance to physical shock from drops, the challenge becomes moving massive amounts of data, applications and the operating system from the existing hard drive to a smaller SSD. Paragon’s intuitive wizard simplifies the migration process, automatically downsizing the source system volume and providing intelligent selection of specific files when migrating to smaller-capacity drives, and auto-aligning copied system partitions – all without rebooting the system.



Softening market a relief for business insurance buyers

By John Prendergast

Market forces at play in the business property and casualty insurance category mean that some buyers can expect reduced costs and improved quality when the time comes to renew.

This contradicts predictions at the time of the Christchurch earthquakes, that cover would be more expensive and restrictive for many years. The reality is increased capacity from insurers seeking market share has led to a softening market for business insurance. But to access possible benefits, organisations will need to demonstrate a sound understanding of their risk profile and have an active risk management plan in place.

Property and casualty insurance is a category that includes business interruption, material damage and business continuity insurances. Business interruption is an area where medium to large businesses typically may spend up to 80% of their insurance dollars – anywhere between $200,000 and $3.5 million a year, depending on the organisation size and industry.



The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight have issued a joint advisory on business continuity planning.

The advisory follows a review by the regulators in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which closed US equity and options markets for two days in October 2012. It encourages firms to review their business continuity plans and consider implementing the following suggestions (published verbatim):



The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force has issued a detailed new document which provides recommendations for ways to use Hurricane Sandy rebuilding projects to enhance business, community and critical infrastructure resilience.

The recommendations in ‘Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy: Stronger Communities, A Resilient Region’ were identified through the help of input from the Task Force’s community engagement with a wide range of stakeholders (including businesses, non-profits, philanthropic organization, local leaders and community groups).

The recommendations include:



Perhaps you’ve already come across Duct Tape Marketing, a popular business book about successful marketing for small businesses. Duct tape, as you may know, is the strong adhesive tape you can use as a quick fix to bind many different things together especially if you don’t have any other solution. It stops things from falling apart, falling over, leaking or separating when they shouldn’t. Is a ‘duct tape’ approach possible for business continuity too? And if so what would be the ‘duct tape’ to make it happen?

It turns out that the title of the book may be a bit of a stretch compared to its contents. With a slogan of ‘Stickiness – marketing that sticks like Duct Tape’, the methods proposed are based more on top-down business strategy. On the other hand, readers seem to appreciate the book for its simplicity, its orientation towards action and its ‘let’s do it now’ approach. In other words, the book scores higher on the freshness of its approach, rather than on any innovation in its material. Readers also note the emphasis on planning and the design of programs to support key business objectives.



Personally, I have several old cell phones stuffed into a “junk drawer” in my office. I know the IT guys at my previous employer, a midsize tech company, had extra monitors, towers and hard drives stacked in empty cubicles and in the server room. My point is, it can be a good idea to reuse electronic equipment, but are we all just really putting off getting rid of the stuff because we’re honestly not sure what to do with it?

If your company doesn’t have a policy for disposing of electronic devices, phones or computers, now may be the time to create one. Usage of PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets is increasing in the business world, and with new technology constantly evolving, users typically need the latest and greatest versions, which leads to stacks of old, obsolete electronics piling up in the office. And getting rid of those old gadgets and computers isn’t as easy as chucking them into the dumpster, either.



New market data is adding momentum to the software-defined data center (SDDC) movement, invoking images of instant provisioning of end-to-end data environments and anytime/anywhere access for users unwilling to restrict their data usage according to the whims of the physical universe.

Normally, this is the part where I would say something like “the reality will be quite different,” but the fact is that SDDC does have the potential to foster the kind of data infrastructure that allows users and even applications themselves to define their own operating environments, seamlessly compiling resources wherever they may be found—physical, virtual, on-premise, in the cloud—and dramatically reducing both the cost and power consumption of today’s patchwork infrastructure.



Thursday, 22 August 2013 15:04

Patching the BCM Program Gaps

As a software company involved in the Business Continuity Management industry for over 13 years, we are constantly collaborating and exploring new opportunities with organizations in the market for BCM software that are looking to create an effective program to meet their goals and objectives.

Based on our experience, we have concluded that the end-state of BCP should be the ability to respond to any disruption that impacts an organization’s ability to deliver products & services. Disruption of that ability may be result from any an impact on any area of operations. Unifying Employee Health &Safely, Crisis Management, BCP, IT- Disaster Recovery Planning, Supplier Continuity Planning, Alternate Work-Area Planning, Integrated Notification and Incident Management – among other forms of contingency planning – can lead to a resilient organization, and provide tremendous advantages. We call this collaborative effort, “Unified BCM”.




CIO — In the aftermath of the great data heist by Edward Snowden, the now-infamous computer specialist who stole top secret information from the National Security Agency and leaked it to The Guardian earlier this summer, CIOs are feeling a little helpless.

"People are saying that if it happens to the NSA, which must have incredible tools to prevent people from leaking data yet still leaks on a grand scale, we better be really careful," says Jeff Rubin, vice president of strategy and business development at Beachhead, a mobile security company.




Ah, the irony. We have all of these incredibly cool communication tools at our fingertips, and most of us are probably far lousier communicators now than we were before all of these tools came along. If things keep going the way they are, at some point, we’re all going to become babbling idiots who use yet undreamed of devices to convey our babbling.

Maybe what we need is a counterintuitive approach to reverse the trend. If so, Geoffrey Tumlin might have found the key. Tumlin, a communication consultant and author of the new book, “Stop Talking, Start Communicating,” contends that shoddy communication may be ubiquitous, but it’s not inevitable. Here are 10 tips he’s come up with to help save us from ourselves:

Back up to go forward. Try to remember how we communicated before we got our new devices. The digital revolution facilitated hypercommunication and instant self-expression, but, ironically, made it harder for anyone to listen. There’s just too much “chatter clutter” getting in the way—just consider the frenetic activity happening on Twitter at any given moment. To make the most of our conversations, we need to remember how we connected effectively with others before we had smartphones and computer screens to “help” us. Specifically, we should implement three guiding habits: Listen like every sentence matters, talk like every word counts, and act like every interaction is important. These points will help you be more present in conversations and will improve your ability to communicate effectively.



Today, Citrix crossed an important milestone in the way enterprises will view apps for work. We announced the general availability of the Citrix Worx App Gallery – an app ecosystem with over 100 committed apps.

So, what is an app ecosystem? Apple and Google created big app ecosystems for iOS and Android that drove the adoption of those platforms, Facebook launched their App Center for social media apps, and Salesforce.com created the App Exchange for SaaS apps. Similarly, the Citrix Worx App Gallery is an ecosystem for enterprise-ready mobile apps.

The enterprise app challenge

End users wish to use different types of apps for work. However, enterprises looking to mobilize apps face a big burden of tasks in order to make apps enterprise-ready and available to their end users. App security tools in the form of app wrappers or SDKs have been bandied about as tools to protect apps. But, for IT there is very little clarity on how an app makes its way from an app vendor into their end users’ device with the necessary policies and controls in place. Often, the solution involves the enterprise identifying apps or app categories that it needs, executing contracts with the app developer, getting the app binaries, applying the security wrapper, verifying the app and then deploying it for end users in an enterprise app store. This process would then start all over when the app or mobile OS is updated, or when the enterprise mobility vendor changes the app security SDK.



Intellectual Property (IP) theft – whether by competitors or states – has been occurring for a long time. Traditional approaches of protecting IP involve patents, copyrights, trademarks, physical security (locking documents away), classifying documents using a labelling scheme and staff education.

These traditional approaches are still valid today, and may need to be strengthened. They should also be supplemented by a range of electronic approaches. 

These include electronic licensing, encryption, data classification, access control, logically or physically separate networks, and providing "clean" devices to staff travelling to countries where IP theft is likely. All approaches are complicated by the demands of international travel, collaborative working, the need to share information (including IP) in the supply chain, consumerisation, and the cloud.

Information Security Forum (ISF) research has shown that protecting your IP can follow an information-led, risk-based process similar to that used to protect information in your supply chains, as discussed in the Securing the Supply Chain reports and tools.



Much has been written, presented and debated in the past few years on the “right way” for executives and policy makers to reinvigorate companies, markets and economies. The distinguished scholar Carlota Perez suggests fundamental changes to the way growth and prosperity get measured. Along somewhat similar lines, Steven Denning focuses on the damage inflicted through adherence to the tenet of maximizing shareholder’s value. Gary Hammel, elaborating on another thread that Perez touches on, advocates values over value. Last but not the least, Hagel, Brown and Davison emphasize the power of pull for both designing the right system and designing the system right [i].

While the debate spans some topics that are clearly beyond the scope of responsibilities a typical executive is entrusted with, it is quite relevant to the Agilist concerned with end-to-end process implementation. Agile principles can, of course, be beneficially applied to product delivery departments such as dev and test. However, the real benefits to be had can only be attained through applying agile principles to the overall business process, not “just” the software development process. As pointed out by Tasktop’s Dave West in his recent Agile 2013 presentation, many/most of the Agile implementations tend to be of the Water-Scrum-Fall variety. In such implementations the Agile process in R&D is “sandwiched” between before-and-after corporate processes that are Waterfallish in nature. From a system perspective, incoherence at one point or another of such systems is pretty much inevitable due to incongruence of operating principles across the “Water,” the “Scrum” and/or the “Fall” components of the system. This reality and its operational manifestations are illustrated in Figure 1 and Figure 2 respectively.



President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force released their findings yesterday, sharing 69 recommendations to repair existing damage and strengthen infrastructure ahead of future natural disasters.

The task force encouraged an emphasis on new construction over simple repair, citing the impact of climate change on severe weather events. “More than ever, it is critical that when we build for the future, we do so in a way that makes communities more resilient to emerging challenges such as rising sea levels, extreme heat, and more frequent and intense storms,” the report said. Construction designed for increasingly dangerous storms, infrastructure strengthened to prevent power failure and fuel shortage, and a cellular service system that can subsist during disasters are all critical investments to prevent future loss.

Recommendations included streamlining federal agencies’ review processes for reconstruction projects, revising federal mortgage policies so homeowners can get insurance checks faster, and making greater use of natural barriers like wetlands and sand dunes. The team also said that planners need better tools to evaluate and quantify long-term benefits of future projects along the shoreline, but did not detail what would be best ecologically and economically.



IDG News Service - Heading into the heart of hurricane season 10 months after Sandy slammed the New York metropolitan area, Wall Street has had time to reassess and revamp backup plans.

Sandy's storm surge caused the first weather-related, 48-hour closure of markets since the Great Blizzard of 1888.

"You could say Sandy forced the hand of the trading firms," said David Weiss, an analyst with the consulting firm Aite Group.

"A confluence of trends" that lend themselves to overall system resiliency was, however, already under way, Weiss added. The commoditization of server hardware suitable for trading and back-office systems, for example, has helped give rise to third-party data centers that can help financial-sector companies reduce risk.



IDG News Service - After the terrorist strikes of Sept. 11, 2001, the New York Stock Exchange learned some valuable lessons in keeping a time-sensitive financial trading network alive during a time of crisis.

"We found that during 9/11, carrier point-of-presence facilities went down, a lot of firms in the industry were not able to trade. So we made a decision to build a resilient network for the industry," said Vince Lanzillo, who is head of co-location for the Americas for NYSE Technologies (NYXT), a commercial subsidiary of NYSE Euronext that offers infrastructure, content and liquidity services to the financial industry.

So, when Hurricane Sandy struck last year, NYXT was prepared to continue operations, though the NYSE itself decided to halt trading, citing concerns with employee safety and other factors.



Wednesday, 21 August 2013 16:58

Hurricane Sandy Task Force Issues Report

With two months to go to the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, a federal task force created after the storm has issued a report that’s getting a lot of media coverage.

The plan includes 69 policy initiatives, of which a major recommendation is to build stronger buildings to better withstand future extreme storms amid a changing climate.

Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and chair of the task force, notes:



The fear that business services – or indeed the business itself – might not be recoverable after a disaster-level event results in many sleepless nights for CIOs across the world. But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Disaster recovery planning, a subset of business continuity, comprises the process, policies and procedures required for the recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure after a disaster-level event. 

Disasters come in multiple forms and may be highly unpredictable in nature, but the effect they have on your business can be calculated and mitigated against through robust preparation and testing.



Part one of a two-part series

Crisis: Any situation that is threatening or could threaten to harm people or property, seriously interrupt business, significantly damage reputation and/or negatively impact the bottom line.

Every organization is vulnerable to crises. The days of playing ostrich are gone. You can play, but your stakeholders will not be understanding or forgiving because they've watched what happened with Fukushima, Penn State/Sandusky, BP/Deepwater and Wikileaks.

If you don't prepare, you will incur more damage. When I look at existing crisis management-related plans while conducting a vulnerability audit (the first step in crisis preparedness), what I often find is a failure to address the many communications issues related to crisis/disaster response. Organizational leadership does not understand that, without adequate internal and external communications, using the best-possible channels to reach each stakeholder group:

- See more at: http://blog.missionmode.com/blog/the-10-steps-of-crisis-communications.html#sthash.1PpM1F2j.dpuf

Part one of a two-part series

Crisis: Any situation that is threatening or could threaten to harm people or property, seriously interrupt business, significantly damage reputation and/or negatively impact the bottom line.

Every organization is vulnerable to crises. The days of playing ostrich are gone. You can play, but your stakeholders will not be understanding or forgiving because they've watched what happened with Fukushima, Penn State/Sandusky, BP/Deepwater and Wikileaks.

If you don't prepare, you will incur more damage. When I look at existing crisis management-related plans while conducting a vulnerability audit (the first step in crisis preparedness), what I often find is a failure to address the many communications issues related to crisis/disaster response. Organizational leadership does not understand that, without adequate internal and external communications, using the best-possible channels to reach each stakeholder group:

- See more at: http://blog.missionmode.com/blog/the-10-steps-of-crisis-communications.html#sthash.1PpM1F2j.dpuf

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop a Postal Service worker. But a hurricane will stop the mail truck.

Hurricane Sandy, the massive super-storm that pounded the East Coast in 2012 and caused billions of dollars worth of damage, also managed to destroy or damage 110 delivery vehicles used by the U.S. Postal Service. Most of vehicles were damaged by flooding, but one got hit by a falling tree.

The damaged vehicles are a small segment of the fleet affected by the hurricane. Postal Service employees managed to save 16,157 vehicles unscathed, which the USPS Inspector General credits to good emergency planning before the hurricane.

According to its 2012 Hurricane Preparedness Guide, USPS instructed employees to move mail vehicles to higher ground.

By Danny Bradbury

The world and its dog has been shocked by the Prism news story. Early in June, we found out that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had developed a secret data-gathering mechanism to steal all our data and store it in a large data warehouse.

We are outraged that it is being mined, searched and otherwise prodded. But do we really think that big data security problems stop at Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Fort Meade?

The private sector has been collecting data on all of us for ages. It is stored in massive data sets, often spread between multiple sources. What makes us think this is any more secure? At least the NSA is well trained in keeping it all under lock and key.

Social trend

What does “big data” mean, anyway? Some describe it – wrongly – as simply a lot of data in a relational database. But if that were the case, then the security challenges would be the same as for conventional databases. And they aren’t.

Others view it as data sets so large that they cannot be handled by traditional relational tools. But we have had that kind of thing for years, in the form of data warehouses.



By Lockwood Lyon

As summer (in the northern hemisphere) comes to an end and summer vacations wrap up, it's time to prepare for the upcoming end-of-year rush. The months of November and December are characterized by a significant increase in consumer transactions including holiday-related purchases of food and gifts, travel, bank transactions, and winter clothing.

Many retail organizations call this period the Peak Season, and for good reasons: not only are transaction rates higher during this time of year, but a significant amount of a company's profit (sometimes as much as 40%) is realized.

To meet the upcoming demands on IT systems database administrators (DBAs) need to prepare the database and its supporting infrastructure for increased resource demands. Being proactive now can pay big dividends by maintaining service level agreements (SLAs), avoiding outages and resource shortages, and ensuring a positive overall customer experience.



Monday, 19 August 2013 17:27

Policies & Procedures

Create BEFORE need


Lack of relevant policies and procedures is likely to cost the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) at least US$25,000.

According to Lawyers and Settlements.com, a 30-year veteran nurse at UTMC was terminated for failure to stop another nurse from removing items from the operating room before the procedure had concluded. The complaining nurse claims she was also fired for violating policies on communications and logging out.

The story is that the plaintiff was working in the operating room (OR) with another nurse.

The other nurse left the OR for lunch, but, according to the article, failed to log out of the hospital computer system. Returning from lunch the nurse allegedly disposed of a kidney that was waiting to be transplanted.