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IDG News Service (Brussels Bureau) — Europe's Justice Commissioner warned Tuesday that data privacy concerns could derail a major trade deal between the U.S. and the E.U.

"The U.S. will have to take European concerns about privacy and data protection very seriously ... otherwise, the European Parliament may decide to reject the TTIP," Commissioner Viviane Reding said at a conference in Washington.

TTIP -- the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership -- is being negotiated in secret between the E.U. and U.S. It has provoked concerns in Europe that it could weaken citizens' privacy rights.

The issue of protection of personal data could "easily derail" the negotiations, Reding said, and she warned against including the topic in the trade talks. "Data protection is not red tape or a tariff. It is a fundamental right and as such it is not negotiable," she said.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/742222/Data_Privacy_Concerns_Could_Derail_EU_US_Trade_Talks

Religious Discrimination apparently is alive and well in the workplace according to Newsmax in an article hededCQ Steep Rise in Workplace Religious Discrimination Claims .

Suggestions on what to do about the situation are given at the Ohio Employer's Law Blog under the heading Halting the tide of religious-discrimination claims .

According to Newsmax,

    "Religious discrimination complaints in the workplace have more than doubled over the last 15 years and appear to be growing faster than other types of complaints.

    "In 2012, there were 3,811 religion-based complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the second-highest number in a year ever recorded, after 2011, when 4,151 complaints were filed, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    "While age, sex, race, and disability claims are still much higher, religious claims are increasing at a faster rate and have doubled in the last decade and a half."

    ...

    http://johnglennmbci.blogspot.com/2013/10/erm-bc-coop-religious-discrimination.html

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 15:29

Big Data, Big Warehousing and the Cloud

In physics, the nightmare scenario is when an unstoppable force encounters an immovable object. In the enterprise, that would be like Big Data volumes becoming so large that even your expensive new data warehousing solution can’t handle it.

Warehousing vendors have always prided themselves on their ability to scale, but with Big Data about to make the jump from generalized shopping patterns and mobile app usage to highly granular details like how hot an individual car engine is running or whether the fridge needs a new water filter, it’s starting to seem that yesterday’s version of big wasn’t as future-proof as it seemed.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/big-data-big-warehousing-and-the-cloud.html

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 15:28

Hurricane Sandy One Year On

Pictures are often more powerful than words and so it is as we mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

This NASA image shows Hurricane Sandy approaching the U.S. East Coast at 1:35pm Eastern Daylight Time on October 29, 2012.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3419

CIO — The myriad glitches that have marred the rollout of the Web portal for Americans to sign up for health insurance stand as what the CIO of the federal government calls a "teachable moment."

Speaking at a government IT conference on Tuesday, U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel acknowledged that the launch of Healthcare.gov has been troubled, but suggested, hopefully, that it will serve as an object lesson that will inspire, rather than deter, ambitious government IT projects in the future.

"Our goal, number one, hands down, the president reminds every day: get this thing fixed, make sure it's working and meet Americans' expectations on this," VanRoekel said. "As an aside, our focus, my focus, is also about what can we learn from this. How can we learn? And what can we take from this experience to say we shouldn't do things this way?"

...

http://www.cio.com/article/742267/U.S._CIO_Sees_Healthcare.gov_Glitches_as_a_Teachable_Moment_

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 15:02

The Risky Business of Not Taking Risks

In my work, I frequently engage in a broad-based leadership development program to prepare top talent for advancement. That was the case when I recently worked with a large construction company to groom Mike, one of the presidents, and Joe, the lead risk officer, for advancement.

During the 360-degree peer interviews I asked Mike how Joe could improve in general and how he could specifically help Mike with his growth objectives. Without hesitation, Mike answered, “I need for Joe to take me right to the edge of the cliff without letting me fall over. Right now he’s serving as the business-prevention arm of the business.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a better definition of what those in risk and compliance can do to support the organization. Take them as far as ethics and good sense will allow without letting them hurt themselves or the company, but don’t serve as the business prevention unit.

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/the-risky-business-of-not-taking-risks

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 15:01

Crossing boundaries

John Robinson
INONI

Our BCM World Conference presentation is an illustration of how BCM can pleasantly surprise business leaders with the value it brings. Our case study will be about Reed and MacKay, a £200M turnover top-end executive travel firm located in Farringdon close to the heart of London’s legal, media and financial district. This is a multi-faceted, time-pressured and highly successful business and illustrates perfectly the importance of accurate and decisive BIA. The following explains why I believe they found it so valuable, noting that Reed and Mackay subsequently gained accreditation to ISO 22301 at the first attempt.

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/crossing-boundaries.html

The ‘new normal’ propounded by management gurus a few years back was that ‘change is the only constant’. Companies, said the gurus, must constantly change, innovate and reinvent themselves in order to remain competitive and successful. They applied their mantra to everything from marketing to manufacturing to supply chain – with varying results. Victories included moves to lean and green manufacturing that saved money and the planet at the same time. Less fortunate changes have included Microsoft Windows 8 and (some time ago) Coca-Cola’s new Coke. Sometimes continuity itself is the best business continuity there is, but how can you tell?

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it-when-change-is-not-the-only-constant/

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 14:59

Hurricane Sandy, A Year of Recovery

FEMA Helping Survivors and Communities Rebuild

WASHINGTON – On the evening of October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey, with impacts felt across 24 states. The storm battered the East Coast, particularly the densely-populated New York and New Jersey coasts, with heavy rain, strong winds, and record storm surges.  In Sandy’s immediate aftermath, more than 23,000 people sought refuge in temporary shelters, and more than 8.5 million customers lost power. The storm flooded numerous roads and tunnels, blocked transportation corridors, and deposited extensive debris along the coastline.

At the direction of President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners are worked closely with disaster survivors to ensure they received all the assistance for which they are eligible under the law. Over the course of the year, more than $1.4 billion in Individual Assistance has been provided to more than 182,000 survivors, and an additional $2.4 billion in low-interest disaster loans have been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  More than $7.9 billion in National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) payments have been made to policy holders.

Over the last twelve-months, more than 11,900 grants totaling over $3.2 billion have been approved for emergency work, to remove debris and rebuild or replace public infrastructure in the hardest hit areas.  This includes more than $1.3 billion for first responder costs for personnel overtime, materials and equipment used to save lives and protect property; more than $400 million obligated toward repairs to storm damaged homes so that disaster survivors could safely remain in their homes; and more than $19 million toward the costs to repair storm flooded and damaged schools.  FEMA has been working in concert and integrating with all levels of government, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, communities and individuals to provide a whole community approach to recovery and leverage the capabilities of the entire nation. 

While supporting disaster survivors and communities on their road to recovery, FEMA has been aggressive in its implementation of new authorities granted in the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 (SRIA). In many ways, the passage of SRIA represents the most significant legislative change to the FEMA’s substantive authorities since the enactment of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.  The changes have nationwide impact and provide greater flexibility to state, local, tribal and territorial governments, allow FEMA to operate more effectively and efficiently, and provide tribal nations options for seeking emergency and disaster declarations for their tribes.  To date, 13 of the 17 provisions outlined in this legislation have been completed, implemented via a pilot program, or are otherwise immediately available.

FEMA is encouraging everyone to take steps to become better prepared for an emergency, whether or not the event occurs while they are at home, at work, at school, or in the community. For more information on preparing for severe weather events and other disasters, visit www.Ready.gov or www.listo.gov on the Internet. Information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster can also be found at m.fema.gov or by downloading the FEMA app from your smartphone’s app store.

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

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

http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/28/hurricane-sandy-year-recovery

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 14:58

Has Anything Changed a Year After Sandy?

Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast of the United States a year ago this week. It’s a time to take a quick look backward to some pretty dire days and then look ahead to assess whether readiness has improved in the areas impacted by the storm.

At a luncheon presentation at last week’s Cable-Tec Expo ’13 in Atlanta—a technical conference sponsored by The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE)—Time Warner Cable Chief Security Officer Brian Allen took a look back at how the operator handled the storm.

The big lesson, according to Leslie Ellis’ report on the presentation at Multichannel News, is to create plans and put them in place ahead of time. Her story touches on the two big issues: fuel and power. The story concludes with Allen’s point that post mortems—figuring out what worked and what didn’t—are important.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-and-telecom/has-anything-changed-a-year-after-sandy.html

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 14:56

Electronic Privacy? There's No Such Thing

Computerworld — Most people suffer from the delusion of privacy. They think it can be guaranteed somehow for their various electronic gadgets. But that is a delusion, and sadly even many in the information security field don't know it. Still, it's surprising how strong the desire to believe otherwise is, and how tech companies will sometimes try to feed that illusion.

Take the news that the encryption in Apple's iMessage can potentially be cracked. I was surprised, but not because the encryption could be cracked. That's a given, no matter the encryption algorithm. I was surprised because I didn't know that iMessage used point-to-point encryption. I just assumed that Apple could always read my messages. Call me uninformed for having missed that news, but what I think is that I was actually better informed than those people who saw Apple's promise that it couldn't decrypt iMessage traffic and let the delusion of privacy lull them into thinking that was really true. Believe me, we'd all be better off if we just acted on the theory that there is likely to be a back door every time.

Don't get me wrong. The fact that iMessage uses encryption is refreshing. Such encryption will do a lot to protect most of us in most of what we do (but more on that later). What is not refreshing is that Apple at best implied and at worst misrepresented that its encryption was uncrackable. Any computer professional in this day and age who thinks that any form of electronic communications is completely secure really doesn't know his profession.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/742123/Electronic_Privacy_There_s_No_Such_Thing

LINCROFT, N.J. – The devastating aftermath of Superstorm Sandy left survivors and businesses in New Jersey with large-scale recovery needs. Throughout the year, the state’s private sector has made significant contributions to the recovery process and continues to play a key role.

FEMA Private Sector Specialists discuss disaster mitigation with business ownersMore than 600 businesses, utility companies, banks, insurance companies, colleges and universities, and professional organizations stood with local, state and federal agencies, voluntary agencies and faith-based organizations to strengthen the recovery efforts.

They disseminated information about disaster assistance to 7.2 million New Jersey residents through bill inserts, newsletters, signage and other means.

“One fast-food chain, which asked to remain anonymous, distributed 7,000 sandwiches with disaster-assistance information at 32 distribution points in three counties,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “That’s just one example of how essential the private sector is to a strong recovery effort.”

Immediately after Sandy struck, specialists with FEMA’s Private Sector Division in External Affairs deployed to New Jersey to work with chambers of commerce, industry associations, individual companies, colleges and universities and other organizations.

Kathy Cook, Public Information Officer, explains her role in assisting Sandy survivors to roundtable of federal and insurance industry partners

Response was immediate. Utility companies inserted messages in billing statements, reaching 3.3 million customers. The South Jersey Transportation Authority featured registration information on its Vehicle Messaging Systems at toll plazas, and the ticker messaging system on its website, reaching an estimated 2.9 million people a month.

Chambers, associations and businesses shared FEMA’s electronic newsletter (the E-News Update) for the private sector stakeholders with their memberships and contacts. The access to recovery information proved invaluable to their members and had far-reaching effects.

“To have the opportunity to interact directly with representatives, ask questions and get answers has helped not only members, but their clients as well,” said New Jersey Association of Realtors Chief Executive Officer Jarrod Grasso. “The recovery process in the aftermath of Sandy has not been easy, but getting the correct facts to our members has relieved a great deal of the uncertainty related to flood maps, insurance and elevation that so many New Jersey residents felt."

Home Depot Hurricane Workshop

Two FEMA program areas, Private Sector and the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordination group, facilitated an Insurance Industry Roundtable. The resulting public-private partnership engaged the insurance industry in a series of four meetings to explore how to enhance and expedite the disaster assistance process. A roundtable work group identified issues impeding the process and then developed recommendations that were submitted to President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.

The private sector reached out in more basic ways as well. Sometimes it was as simple as offering a space to work. Operation Photo Rescue, a nonprofit organization of volunteer photojournalists from around the country, wanted to help Sandy survivors restore treasured photos. The organization began helping disaster survivors during Hurricane Katrina recovery. Volunteers need to set up a temporary shop close enough for survivors to access the free services.

“Finding a place for us to host our copy run was turning into a major problem as we could not secure a building close enough to where Sandy hit,” said Operation Photo Rescue President Margie Hayes. “We were coming up empty handed until Chris Spyridon, regional pro sales manager for Home Depot, offered us space at a Home Depot in Seaside Heights.”

The business of recovery is long-term, and an important part of that is preparedness, which not only helps individuals survive a disaster but can help businesses endure as well. FEMA’s Private Sector specialists have covered the state to help executives and officials understand the need for a continuity plan so work continues once the emergency is over. Montclair State University recorded FEMA’s preparedness webinar to share with all of New Jersey’s colleges and universities.

Amy Ferdinand, the university’s director of Environmental Health and Safety, said, “With the recent trend of ever-increasing disasters – whether natural or manmade – being the ‘new normal,’ there is a definite need among business leaders and stakeholders to become better informed on the topic of continuity and business planning.”

Next in the One Year Later series: the role of Environmental and Historic Preservation in disaster recovery.

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

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/28/new-jersey-private-sector-gets-down-business-sandy-recovery

Monday, 28 October 2013 15:33

Electronic privacy? There's no such thing

Most people suffer from the delusion of privacy. They think it can be guaranteed somehow for their various electronic gadgets. But that is a delusion, and sadly even many in the information security field don't know it. Still, it's surprising how strong the desire to believe otherwise is, and how tech companies will sometimes try to feed that illusion.

Take the news that the encryption in Apple's iMessage can potentially be cracked. I was surprised, but not because the encryption could be cracked. That's a given, no matter the encryption algorithm. I was surprised because I didn't know that iMessage used point-to-point encryption. I just assumed that Apple could always read my messages. Call me uninformed for having missed that news, but what I think is that I was actually better informed than those people who saw Apple's promise that it couldn't decrypt iMessage traffic and let the delusion of privacy lull them into thinking that was really true. Believe me, we'd all be better off if we just acted on the theory that there is likely to be a back door every time.

...

http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/530218/electronic_privacy_there_no_such_thing/

More often than brands would probably like, we’re given opportunities to learn about social media crisis management through the highly visible fallout from the experiences of others. This weekend, social sharing platform Buffer was hacked, resulting in a Saturday afternoon and evening crisis for the start-up.

I wouldn’t say it was a positive experience for Buffer, but I will say this: it turned out okay. Not awesome, but okay. That’s about the best you can hope for when hackers cause an interruption in service for your customers that lasts several hours.

...

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2303237/Buffers-Response-to-Hacking-A-Study-in-Social-Media-Crisis-Management

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the New York Stock Exchange's (NYX_) Head of Operations, Lou Pastina, tells TheStreet that the Exchange's emergency backup plans are more robust than ever. Even pre-scheduled events such as initial public offerings would have the option of moving forward in the face of another weather-triggered event in New York, he says.

The New York Stock Exchange's Print as "P" plan, allowing the switch to an electronic trading system through the NYSE Arca platform, formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, has undergone numerous tests over the past year involving trading firms throughout the U.S. financial sector, Pastina said. The NYSE Arca's key datacenters are located in both New Jersey and Chicago.

The most difficult task for the NYSE is preparing systems to assure that enormous amounts of data are sufficiently backed up, including trades that may be in the process of being executed, Pastina said. And though machines handle the bulk of the chores, a minimum staff presence may be needed at the NYSE floor in Manhattan to help facilitate some aspects of the electronic trading system, he added.

...

http://www.thestreet.com/story/12074488/1/sandy-teaches-ny-stock-exchange-some-lessons-in-electronics-backup.html?cm_ven=RSSFeed

Dejan Kosutic is an expert in information security management and business continuity management. In this interview he talks about the key changes in the ISO 27001: 2013 revision, the new security controls, mandatory documentation, implementation challenges, and much more.

What are the key changes in the ISO 27001: 2013 revision, as well as the benefits?

The key benefit of this new ISO 27001 is that it can be more easily implemented in smaller companies – a greater degree of flexibility is allowed, and a smaller number of mandatory documents is needed. For instance, the risk assessment process is simplified, and there are no more requirements to document procedures like internal audit or corrective action.

What are the new security controls and how does the 2013 revision deal with new risks?

...

http://www.net-security.org/article.php?id=1907

Dejan Kosutic is an expert in information security management and business continuity management. In this interview he talks about the key changes in the ISO 27001: 2013 revision, the new security controls, mandatory documentation, implementation challenges, and much more.

What are the key changes in the ISO 27001: 2013 revision, as well as the benefits?

The key benefit of this new ISO 27001 is that it can be more easily implemented in smaller companies – a greater degree of flexibility is allowed, and a smaller number of mandatory documents is needed. For instance, the risk assessment process is simplified, and there are no more requirements to document procedures like internal audit or corrective action.

What are the new security controls and how does the 2013 revision deal with new risks?It could have been so much worse.

A year ago this week, the 1,000-mile-wide monster known as Sandy bashed into the coast, causing massive tidal flooding and wind damage before moving inland, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people in South Jersey and Southeast Pennsylvania.

But a change in its path could have brought here the widespread destruction and misery seen in New York and Northern New Jersey's shore. The story of the superstorm could have been much different given that so many residents of Philadelphia and its suburbs were unprepared, officials say.


Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/229258261.html#UeHx7sp2VkP4hD3x.99

Everyone old enough to remember will recall Y2K – the year our world was supposed to end in a catastrophic transition from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000.  Instead, since we are still here, we all recall what happened: nothing.

September 23, 2013 was the day when the new HIPAA regulations for covered entities came into effect.  Despite all the whining and predictions of disaster, we all continue to exist and the world did not end.  What happened?  A lot has happened.

The regulations gave all covered entities 180 days to comply with the new HIPAA requirements, which impose new and significant obligations on covered entities to revise their HIPAA policies.  Covered entities should have updated their HIPAA compliance policies and procedures, their notices of privacy practices and their business associate agreements for protecting sensitive health information from disclosure.

The key areas to change included:

....

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/hipaa-compliance-and-september-23-2013-the-day-the-world-did-not-end

Monday, 28 October 2013 15:19

Managing supply chain continuity

David Window
Continuity 22301 Ltd

As a member of three institutes - Institute of Risk Management, Business Continuity Institute and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply - I hope to explain why as business continuity professionals, we struggle to engage with my alter ego - the procurement professional.

Over the last two years I have been debating this topic with a colleague who is an accomplished procurement professional and we have challenged each other considerably in our efforts to justify the question, “why bother doing business continuity in supply chain”. We have also interviewed other procurement professionals to gauge our opinions against theirs.

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/managing-supply-chain-continuity.html

NEW YORK — A year after Hurricane Sandy catastrophically flooded hundreds of miles of eastern U.S. coastline, thousands of people still trying to fix their soaked and surf-battered homes are being stymied by bureaucracy, insurance disputes and uncertainty over whether they can afford to rebuild.

Billions of dollars in federal aid appropriated months ago by Congress have yet to reach homeowners who need the money to move on. Many have found flood insurance checks weren’t nearly enough to cover damage.

And worse, new federal rules mean many in high-risk flood zones may have to either jack their houses up on stilts or pilings — expensive, and sometimes impossible — or face insurance premiums of $10,000 or more per year.

...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-year-after-sandy-a-slow-recovery-for-thousands-of-people-along-east-coast/2013/10/26/f56c249e-3e8a-11e3-a94f-b58017bfee6c_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines

LINCROFT, N.J. -- The devastation Superstorm Sandy left behind changed the face of many New Jersey communities, perhaps none more so than along the Shore. With individual homes and businesses and even whole communities swept away, many people were left wondering if it’s even possible to live at the Shore.

But also along the Shore are homes that stand like lone sentinels, a testament to mitigation techniques that make structures stronger and safer. Mitigation construction practices such as elevation, berms and use of damage-resistant materials help reduce the risk of future damage. More and more, buildings throughout the country, and along the Shore, are constructed with these techniques.

Mantoloking home surrounded by Sandy floodwaters

 

 

When Mantoloking resident Ed Wright built his home 30 years ago, he used a classic mitigation technique: elevation. Last October, that decision proved to be a good one. The storm surge from Sandy swept away five neighboring homes and left his standing alone at the end of the Mantoloking Bridge.

Wright had seen photos of debris washing down the street and elected to elevate the home rather than build on a standard foundation. He built it on 35- to 45-foot pilings sunk into the ground and later enclosed the ground level with breakaway walls, which are designed to collapse in flood waters.

Elevation is a tried-and-true mitigation technique. After a major disaster declaration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency makes Hazard Mitigation grants available to the designated state for projects that reduce or eliminate losses from future disasters.

Projects eligible for hazard mitigation grants include retrofitting buildings to minimize damage from high winds and flooding; elevation of flood-prone buildings; minor flood-control projects; and the purchase of property at risk of repetitive flooding for conversion to open space. The state works with local communities to determine the focus of the Hazard Mitigation program.

Hazard Mitigation grants cover up to 75 percent of approved project costs. State and local governments pay the remaining 25 percent (in-kind donations of labor and materials can contribute toward this share). A project's potential savings must be more than the cost of implementing the project.

A completely restored Mantoloking home, one year after Sandy

While the state sometimes pays for mitigation projects through FEMA grants after a disaster, Wright paid for his home’s elevation as part of the construction cost. It was an investment in the future.

The day after Sandy struck New Jersey, a friend called Wright to tell him his home was the only one standing. When he returned home, he didn’t know what to expect.

“We had no clue,” he said. “It was very emotional to see it standing there all by itself.”

The home experienced minimal damage, losing the furnace, air conditioning unit, washer and dryer, and vehicles.

“We’re very fortunate,” Wright said. “We’re very happy to be here.”

Property owners who are interested in the Hazard Mitigation programs available in New Jersey after Sandy should contact their local emergency management office.

Video-links: Elevation Helps a Home Survive Hurricane Sandy,
What To Do About Mold (in American Sign Language)

Next, the One Year Later series examines the ways in which New Jersey’s private sector got down to business to aid in the recovery process.

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.

 

http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/25/one-year-later-mitigation-technique-applied-30-years-ago-survived-sandy

The tricky part about data is learning to accept what it says without imposing your own agenda.

It seems Big Data is no exception — at least, when it focuses on traditional, structured data, according to a Harvard Business Review Blog post written by Prof. Theos Evgeniou, Assoc. Prof. Vibha Gaba and consultant/visiting professor Joerg Niessing of international business school, INSEAD.

“A large body of research shows that decision-makers selectively use data for self-enhancement or to confirm their beliefs or simply to pursue personal goals not necessarily congruent with organizational ones,” they write. “Not surprisingly, any interpretation of the data becomes as much an evaluation of oneself as much as of the data.”

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/the-under-appreciated-value-of-big-data-diversity.html

IDG News Service (Brussels Bureau) — European Union leaders have given themselves room for maneuver in implementing new data protection laws, while pledging to introduce them in a timely fashion.

All 28 leaders of the E.U. member states discussed issues of data protection, mass surveillance and the digital economy at a meeting that continued late into the night on Thursday.

They agreed that there is a strong need for an improved, robust digital economy in Europe and that artificial barriers between member states must be removed to create the so-called "digital single market."

...

http://www.cio.com/article/742048/Data_Protection_Essential_to_Digital_Economy_Say_EU_Leaders

Sandy facts

  • October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy strikes with a storm surge weather experts had never seen before
  • 37,000 primary residences destroyed or damaged
  • 8.7 million cubic yards of debris left behind
  • 2.7 million New Jerseyans without power

The first 48 hours

  • 548 FEMA specialists on the ground in New Jersey
  • Three mobile disaster recovery centers open
  • 3 States responded with Emergency Medical Services – 385 people
  • 8 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and U.S. Public Health Strike Teams arrive
  • October 31, 2012, the first FEMA Individuals and Household Program disbursement of $155,027

Response milestones at one year

  • More than $5.67 billion in total federal assistance approved for Individual Assistance grants, SBA low-interest disaster loans, National Flood Insurance Program payments and Public Assistance grants.

Individual Assistance

  • More than $413 million approved for individuals and households including:
    • Nearly $356 million for housing assistance
    • More than $56.6 million for other needs, including clothing, household items, disaster-related damage to a vehicle, and disaster-related medical and dental expenses
  • More than 261, 000 people contacted FEMA for help or information
  • 127,046 housing inspections completed
  • 36 disaster recovery centers opened
  • 90,000 visits to disaster recovery centers
  • 5,546 individuals and families housed temporarily in hotel rooms under the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program
  • 3,410 survivors received disaster unemployment assistance

U.S. Small Business Administration

  • More than $819.8 million in SBA low-interest disaster loans approved for homeowners, renters and businesses

National Flood Insurance Program

  • More than $3.5 billion paid on all claims in flood insurance payments made to policyholders

Public Assistance

  • More than $926 million was approved in FEMA Public Assistance grants to communities and some nonprofit organizations that serve the public
  • 4,959 projects approved so far

A whole community response

  • 507 voluntary agencies were involved in recovery
  • More than 1.6 million meals and 1.4 million liters of water were distributed
  • 21 languages were used to communicate assistance information to survivors
  • More than 1 million multilingual fliers were distributed
  • Nearly 8.7 million cubic yards of debris was removed
  • At peak, more than 2,429 people were deployed to New Jersey by FEMA and other federal agencies
  • 36 federal agencies assisted FEMA during Hurricane Sandy in New York
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received 335 requests for generators – 106 installed at peak
  • Approximately 300,000 pounds of food was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • The Defense Logistics Agency delivered 2.3 million gallons of fuel to distribution points in New York and New Jersey
  • The Port of New Jersey was closed to incoming and outgoing vessel traffic because of Superstorm Sandy, according the U.S. Coast Guard

http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/25/year-after-hurricane-sandy-new-jersey-recovery-numbers

Friday, 25 October 2013 18:05

Whose job is business continuity?

John Stagl weighs into an ongoing debate which is taking place on Continuity Central about what the role of the business continuity planner is.

We have over the past couple of decades developed an entire industry of business continuity planners and planning trainers to help companies deal with unanticipated events that can impact a company’s performance in the market place. This entire effort is founded on the assumption that companies will go out of business without these plans in place. Too often, these plans are developed by individuals who do not have access to, nor completely understand the strategic goals and pressures impacting the company. In most cases these well intentioned individuals do not even understand the dynamics of the competitive market in which the company functions every day. Even more importantly, these ‘planning individuals’ have not been trained to look for external factors that may influence the success of their company as part of their planning efforts. They have been educated to believe that all of the information they need is present within the company and known by the various levels of management in that company. The consequence of this naïve orientation is a business continuity plan document that is obviously lacking in fundamental information to achieve the company’s goals and long term success.

For years these planners have been trying to find ways to convince upper management that this planning effort is valuable to the company. At the same time professional and certification groups staffed with individuals who have also been trained with this inadequate planning method have created ‘standards’ of best practices for companies. Auditing firms, sometimes with a profound lack of complete business understanding, have embraced these planning methods and standards as critical factors that must be present in order for a company to be managed effectively. The result is a planning process within a company that is still, after all of these years, viewed as a necessary expense and not an asset.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1115.html

Friday, 25 October 2013 18:04

Overcoming data residency issues

Dave Anderson looks at how organizations can overcome a common barrier to cloud computing adoption.

The benefits of adopting cloud technologies have been widely reported, and are commonly understood. However, the decision to adopt a cloud strategy brings with it many questions and concerns about jurisdictional and regulatory control over the privacy and protection of sensitive data. For instance, data residency and sovereignty requirements often insist that certain types of sensitive and private data are stored where the government will have legal jurisdiction over it. More often than not, this means within its borders. But the cloud allows providers to possibly store, process or back-up data across several global locations, as well as allowing organizations to freely move data outside of national borders. So, how does this impact compliance to data residency requirements?

Addressing data residency, protection and privacy concerns requires an understanding of both international and domestic regulations. Companies that do business in Europe must understand the implications of regulations such as the European Data Protection Law, as well as local data mandates. The EU’s Data Protection Directive is an example of this, as it prohibits personal data that can be linked to an individual from moving outside the EU, sometimes even outside of a specific country’s borders. Data residency is also particularly concerning for multi-nationals that have offices all over the world, covering several jurisdictions.

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http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1116.html

LINCROFT, N.J. -- One month after Superstorm Sandy, Dan Shields and his business partner, Robert Higgins, were thanking their lucky stars.

Their waterfront restaurant, Windansea in Highlands, had withstood the raging flood tides and winds of Sandy with only relatively minor damage.

The Windandsea restaurant overlooks a sandy beach and a calm sea.

Atlantic Highlands, N.J., Oct. 10, 2013 -- The Windansea restaurant withstood flood tides and winds with minimal damage from Hurricane Sandy. By renovating with FEMA's building recommendations prior to Sandy, the restaurant was able to open shortly after storm. Rosanna Arias/FEMA

The rest of Highlands was not so fortunate. Flood waters had inundated dozens of homes and businesses in the low-lying sections of the borough. Debris littered the streets; a mobile home park on the north side of the borough was in shambles.

As flood waters receded in the business district, store owners had to reckon with the physical destruction of their businesses and the loss of their livelihoods.

Many of Shields’ and Higgins’ fellow restaurateurs were essentially out of business for the long term, faced with major damage from the storm.

What saved Windansea?

 

 

The borough’s new building code that required properties in flood zones to comply with tough new Federal Emergency Management standards. “We had to stick to ‘V’ zone construction,” said Shields, referring to the strictest standards for properties located in high-risk flood zones. “I felt like we were the poster child for FEMA.”

When the business partners bought the restaurant in 2000 for $690,000, they planned to invest approximately $300,000 in renovating the old restaurant, formerly known as Branin’s Wharf. But as work on the building progressed, hidden problems came to the surface. “It was just a terrible, terrible building.” Ultimately, more than 50 percent of the existing building had to be demolished. One day, as they worked on the restaurant, officials from FEMA and the borough drove up and told them to stop work. “You’ve got to do it our way,” they told the partners.

The structure would have to be rebuilt in compliance with FEMA standards for “V” zone construction, the strictest standard that applies to properties at high risk of flooding.

Patrons sit in the undamaged outdoor seating area of the Windandsea restaurant.

Atlantic Highlands, N.J., Oct. 10, 2013 -- Hurricane Sandy damaged many businesses along the waterfront with floodwater and wind. The Windansea Restaurant received little damage because of mitigation measures taken prior to Hurricane Sandy. Rosanna Arias/FEMA To put it mildly, the partners were not happy. The shoestring budget they had assembled to pay for what they thought would be a fairly simple remodeling job wouldn’t cover the extensive construction that the town demanded. “It was a completely different animal from buying a little restaurant and (fixing it up),” Shields said.

Making the bayfront building flood-resistant required driving 80 pilings that measured 12 inches in diameter into the ground to a depth of 30 to 40 feet, reinforcing the roof and walls with steel rods and connecting the elements of the entire structure with steel plates and structural steel to hold the floor to the walls.

The project took a year longer than the partners anticipated and cost over $1 million more than they had originally budgeted.

“I felt like I was victimized,” Shields told the Asbury Park Press a few weeks after the storm, “like FEMA was trying to prove a point, trying to flex their muscles and trying to take it out on a little guy like me.”

He doesn’t feel that way anymore.

Though the building sustained some damage to its first floor lobbies and outdoor Tiki bar, Windansea was able to re-open less than three weeks after the storm. “There was not a crack in the sheetrock, not a thing out of place.”

Video-links: Avanti Linens Recovery and Mitigation Efforts, NJ Stronger Than The Storm Ribbon Cutting

Next, the One Year Later series examines the ways in which New Jersey’s private sector got down to business to aid in the recovery process.

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

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/25/one-year-later-mitigation-efforts-paid-highlands-restaurateurs

With 1) SalesForce and other large SaaS vendors announcing grandiose plans for cloud IAM, not just for access control but also provisioning and 2) long-standing IAM 'arms suppliers' extending into the cloud (CA CloudMinder, SailPoint) we are already seeing pureplay cloud IAM players (Okta, OneLogin, Ping, etc.) starting to scratch their heads as to how to deal with the pressure. 

Forrester expects that we will see the following in the next 12-18 months:

...

http://blogs.forrester.com/andras_cser/13-10-25-forrester_expects_a_wave_of_acquisitions_of_cloud_iam_providers

By Martin Welsh and Keith Taylor

Too often information security incident response plans, disaster recovery and business continuity plans are not aligned with the overall corporate crisis management process. Now, more than ever, an organization must be able to quickly respond to a security breach, both from a tactical response and via a strategic corporate message. In this article we will discuss the benefits of, and offer an approach to, integrating the security response process into the overall corporate crisis management plan.

Similar efforts go into building, managing, exercising and maintaining both security incident response plans and overall corporate crisis management plans. For most organizations the escalation, notification and decision making process is similar, regardless of the incident. The struggles organizations encounter, while developing these plans, also tend to be similar. Building awareness, understanding roles and responsibilities, allocating time and resources (financial and human), can all be impediments to sound response plans.

Better plans can be developed by overcoming these shortcomings through integration.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1114.html

Friday, 25 October 2013 18:00

The road to fire safety resilience

Russ Timpson
Horizonscan

The key messages when it comes to fire safety resilience are that:

  • Prescriptive approaches to fire risk mitigation are reactive, cumbersome and commercially irrelevant
  • Fire risk ownership will only be achieved through linkage to business imperatives such as resilience, supply chain integrity and insurance
  • Tools and techniques do exist to assist those tasked with risk ownership to understand the scope and scale of the risks involved

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http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-road-to-fire-safety-resilience.html

With the retail industry’s biggest season quickly approaching, every facet of the sector needs to reevaluate plans to mitigate the increased risk that comes with increased demand. The holidays are certainly not the time to lose out on business due to breakdowns in the supply chain, loss of inventory from theft, or the fallout from credit risk. Yet a shocking 13% of retailers are doing nothing to manage their risk, according to a new study.

Insurance giant Allianz recently surveyed British retailers to see how they are managing changing risks within their business, and what steps retailers are taking to manage risk while growing businesses. This new infographic of their findings from Premierline Direct, which is part of the Allianz UK Group, offers some insight into the risks and concerns of major retailers, how these risks can be managed, and where insurers can better fit into the process.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/all-stores-want-for-christmas-is-to-manage-retail-risk

Prepping for a webinar presentation next week for the oil and gas industry, I’ve been going back to some of the basics of crisis communications. Why do crisis communication efforts fail? Indeed, what constitutes failure? How is the success of a communication effort measured?

Seems to me the primary measure is on reputation–which translates to brand value, closely related to share or company value. That’s measured by those who have a stake in the company, sometimes called “stakeholders.” A communication fail occurs when there is an “unnecessary” loss of reputation, trust, brand value and/or share value. The “unnecessary” is necessary.

...

http://ww2.crisisblogger.com/2013/10/the-three-simple-reasons-why-crisis-communication-efforts-fail/

Friday, 25 October 2013 17:57

American Blackout

 

By Kristen Nordlund

This Sunday night there might be a few things vying for your attention – it’s Game 4 of the World Series, the Packers face the Vikings, and there’s a new episode of The Walking Dead. In addition to sports and the undead, the National Geographic Channel is debuting a movie about what happens when the lights go out. Literally.

American Blackout chronicles five groups of people during a ten-day power outage caused by cyber criminals.  How realistic is this scenario? Considering that since 2000 there have been more than 60 wide-scale power outages, including one in India lasting two days and affecting 670 million people, and it might not seem so far-fetched. Adobe PDF file

Although “American Blackout” may seem like an extreme example, many areas of the country have already experienced blackouts (like the Northeast blackout in 2003 that lasted up to 3 days for some areas) or other places like California that experience controlled blackouts (when a utility company shuts off power to an area).  Many areas experience blackouts after natural disasters like hurricanes or extreme weather.  Either way, being without power to control the lights, charge your phone, and use every day household appliances like the refrigerator or the heat, could become an emergency situation.  This is where being prepared can come in handy.

Nearly half of U.S. adults do not have the resources or plans in place in the event of an emergency.  So take this opportunity to check out the resources CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response have put together on what you can do during an emergency. In order to make sure viewers have information about how to be prepared in the event of a blackout, CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and National Geographic ChannelExternal Web Site Icon worked together to provide important personal preparedness messages that will appear during the movie.

Thanks to this joint effort, CDC is providing tips on how everyone can get prepared by getting a kit, making a plan, and being informed.  First, put together a kit with water, food, and other supplies like medications, copies of personal documents, sanitation and personal hygiene products and more.  Second, make a plan with your family or friends in case something happens.  Third, be informed by learning how to shelter in place, understand what kinds of emergencies you should be prepared for in your area and make sure you know to manage stress during emergencies.  

A wise man once said, ”Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” Okay, so that wise man was Albus Dumbledore, but the point is if the power is out, it’s best to be prepared. Visit CDC’s preparedness website for more information and to get started.

http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2013/10/american-blackout/

CityPoint, a 36 floor, 706,557sq ft. tall building, managed by CBRE, a real estate services company, and located in Ropemaker Street, London, believes it is the first tall building to achieve ISO 22301:2012 certification against its scope, successfully coordinating seven individual service providers: security, engineering, cleaning waste, IT, telecoms, lift and building management under one umbrella to deliver resilient building management services.

Stephen Massey, head of BCM (EMEA) for CBRE, interviewed Lee Murray, building manager for CityPoint, to get his insights and advice for those wishing to implement ISO 22301:

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1113.html

Patrick Roberts
Cambridge Risk Solutions

Ever since becoming involved in the profession, nearly ten years ago, I have been constantly intrigued by the attitude of different organisations towards business continuity. Simplistically, I began by assuming that large well known companies, with both assets and reputation to protect would be universally receptive to the idea of BCM, but (painful) experience has taught me that this is not the case. Equally, since starting our own BCM consultancy in the east of England, we have been surprised by the number of very small organisations that have asked us for assistance, organisations that we would never have considered approaching as potential clients. The same surprising pattern is borne out if you look at the firms which are certified to BS 2599, and are now certifying to ISO 22301. It is a curious mixture of large household names and much smaller firms.

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/drivers-for-employment-of-bci-members.html

What goes on inside your enterprise is of prime importance for your business continuity management. However, so are the actions and attitudes of vendors on which you rely to run your business.  In the same way that you regularly check on BC processes and awareness inside, you should also conduct periodic investigations of key business partners. The first thing to know which vendors should be on the critical list. Essentially, a critical vendor is one on which you are heavily dependent and which cannot easily be replaced in-house or by another vendor. Such a vendor may also have access to confidential information in order to make the relationship work. Let’s suppose you’ve identified such partners. What are your next steps?

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/critical-vendor-reviews-are-part-of-business-continuity-management-too/

In the U.S., small to midsized businesses are feeling more confident in their futures than they have been in several years, says the Sage Business Index for 2013. Sage Group conducted the survey of 11,000 SMBs from around the world from July through August and found that global confidence is up, but it is much higher in the U.S.

After several years of global economic issues, these findings show that the economy may be finally beginning to mend. Connie Certusi, executive vice president of Sage Small Business Accounting said in a statement:

‘Small businesses continue to be the driver of the U.S. economy and it is inspiring that business owners are confident in their prospects. With that said, many business owners have legitimate concerns about the variables that can impact their bottom line, namely the rising cost of energy, raw goods and inflation. Small business owners are always more vulnerable to these concerns so it is wise to be mindful of the challenges that these businesses will continue to face in 2014.’

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/smb-tech/smbs-feel-business-confidence-could-increase-tech-spending.html

Thursday, 24 October 2013 13:58

FEMA Corps Members Training in Vermont

WILLISTON, Vt. – A team of young Americans who have volunteered to serve their country during disasters is in Vermont learning more about the science of disaster response and recovery from observing Vermont’s recovery from flooding earlier this year as well as Tropical Storm Irene.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency welcomed a team of FEMA Corps members to the Joint Field Office in Williston for a two-week stint of education, which will be highlighted by actual site visits, as part of their nine-month assignment to FEMA’s Region I office in Boston.

“These young people embody the true spirit of FEMA,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mark Landry, the head of FEMA’s operations in Vermont. “They have volunteered to help their country, and through their service our nation will be better prepared for disasters in the future.”

The seven FEMA Corps members – who range in age from 18 to 24 and hail from seven different states – have met with and gained valuable insights from state and local officials as well as veteran FEMA personnel.

FEMA and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCC) launched FEMA Corps in 2012 to strengthen the nation’s ability to respond to and recover from disasters while expanding career opportunities for young people.

FEMA Corps is a new unit of AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) whose members will be devoted solely to FEMA disaster response and recovery efforts. The five-year agreement provides for a full service corps of 1,600 members annually who will be an additional workforce in support of FEMA’s current disaster reservist workforce.

Once trained by FEMA and CNCS, members will provide support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovering centers to sharing valuable disaster preparedness and mitigation information with the public.

FEMA Corps members will serve for a 10 month term with an option to extend for a second year. The program will prepare thousands of young people for careers in emergency management and related fields. During their service, they will gain significant training and experience in disaster services and will provide important support to disaster survivors.

http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/23/fema-corps-members-training-vermont

Thursday, 24 October 2013 13:56

Difficulty in Modeling for Terrorism

The following is an excerpt from the RIMS executive report “Terrorism Risk Insurance Act: The Commercial Consumer’s Perspective.” The report is available for download here.

For any insurer to operate successfully and avoid going out of business, it must be able to accurately estimate the probability of its losses, the severity of those losses, and then determine the amount of premium that must be charged to cover those losses should they occur. Historical data from past events is used to predict the losses from future events and pric­ing is set accordingly. Even extraordinary events like Hurricane Sandy or the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, while harder to accurately estimate, can be predicted to a certain degree based on historical data and experi­ence. Terrorism risk, however, differs substantially from these other risks in several different ways.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/difficulty-in-modeling-for-terrorism

Drug-resistant germs called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, are on the rise and have become more resistant to last-resort antibiotics during the past decade, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report.  These bacteria are causing more hospitalized patients to get infections that, in some cases, are impossible to treat. 

CRE are lethal bacteria that pose a triple threat:

  • Resistance: CRE are resistant to all, or nearly all, the antibiotics we have - even our most powerful drugs of last-resort.
  • Death: CRE have high mortality rates – CRE germs kill 1 in 2 patients who get bloodstream infections from them.
  • Spread of disease:  CRE easily transfer their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria.  For example, carbapenem-resistant klebsiella can spread its drug-destroying weapons to a normal E. coli bacteria, which makes the E.coli resistant to antibiotics also. That could create a nightmare scenario since E. coli is the most common cause of urinary tract infections in healthy people.

Currently, almost all CRE infections occur in people receiving significant medical care.  CRE are usually transmitted from person-to-person, often on the hands of health care workers.  In 2012, CDC released a concise, practical CRE prevention toolkit with in-depth recommendations to control CRE transmission in hospitals, long-term acute care facilities, and nursing homes.  Recommendations for health departments are also included.  CRE can be carried by patients from one health care setting to another.  Therefore, facilities are encouraged to work together, using a regional “Detect and Protect” approach, to implement CRE prevention programs.

In addition to detailed data about the rise of CRE, the Vital Signs report details steps health care providers, CEOs and chief medical officers, state health departments and patients can take now to slow, and even stop, CRE before it becomes widespread throughout the country.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/2013/dpk-vs-hai.html

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 17:10

Supply chain resilience

Lyndon Bird
Business Continuity Institute

In 2009 The Business Continuity Institute decided that more research was needed into the level of business disruption being caused by supply chain problems. The challenge we set ourselves was to provide data to help organizations develop and enhance resiliency within their supply chains. This work was done with the strong support of Zurich Insurance Services and in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

Since then, this has become a regular annual survey and its findings have become increasingly influential to the business continuity, purchasing and supply and insurance communities. At BCM World 2013, the findings from the most recent survey will be announced and I will be leading a discussion on these alongside Nick Wildgoose of Zurich Insurance Services.

This is the first release of data from 2013 survey and those attending the session will be given a printed copy of the full report. Although the methodology used in 2013 was consistent with previous years, some additional questions were added.

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/supply-chain-resilience.html

Keeping your doors open for business is a concept that the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has promoted for many years with its long standing popular business continuity planning toolkit.  Many of our website readers are familiar with this disaster preparedness planning tool.

As the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches, our staff research team found that IBHS has just recently launched a free, online version of their business continuity planning toolkit —-entitled OFB-EZ™ (Open for Business-EZ).  This online version is a somewhat streamlined version which guides users through an easy process to create a recovery plan that will help even the smallest businesses recover after a disaster.

CIO — Social media can be a powerful marketing tool. But used the wrong way, social media sites can have a negative impact on your business -- costing you goodwill and prospective customers. So how can you create a positive impression of your business and/or your products on popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ -- and avoid potentially costly social media blunders? CIO.com asked dozens of social media experts and managers to find out. Here are their top 15 picks for the most common social media mistakes businesses make and how to avoid them.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/741875/15_Big_Social_Media_Mistakes_Companies_Make_and_How_to_Avoid_Them

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 17:07

Disaster Alert: Hurricane Raymond

Hurricane Raymond is a category 3 hurricane, heading toward the Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacán. Mexico’s Civil Protection agency has declared a red alert in three municipalities: one in Guerrero and two in Michoacán. Some preventative evacuations of at-risk communities have also been undertaken and school classes have been suspended. The Mexican Red Cross has put all of its delegations on alert and is in permanent contact with Mexico’s Civil Protection agency to continue monitoring the event. Some 15,000 food parcels, 3,000 hygiene kits, 1,000 kitchen kits and 500 home-cleaning kits have been pre-positioned close to the area.

There are currently 50 damage evaluation personnel in Acapulco, Mexico and 250 volunteers in the area. Along with rescue units, Mexican Red Cross staff and volunteers are supporting evacuations, as well as assisting at the shelters equipped for food delivery. Since Monday evening, rains have continued along the Pacific coast, causing water levels of some rivers to increase—but have not yet resulted in flooding.

http://newsroom.redcross.org/2013/10/22/disaster-alert-hurricane-raymond

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 17:06

Privileged Users Abusing Data Access

Privileged access. Privileged users. These words should make us all uncomfortable at this point. While IT, management and users are all bombarded with and distracted by daily news of new malware attacks or software vulnerabilities, the more serious threat to network security and data integrity continues quietly: insider threats. Whether the initial intent is malicious or not, once the breach occurs, even if it is accidental, the damage is done.

So-called privileged users are a big part of the problem. Whether “privileged” because they are power users of some sort or have reached that rank through a different path, or are “privileged” because their access was never restricted through an oversight, the temptation to access data not necessary to their daily tasks proves too tempting to users on a regular basis. IT is not exempt from that group, either. Results from BeyondTrust’s recent survey, “Privilege Gone Wild,” for example, show that in many companies, controls on access to data are still lacking, or easily circumvented. The responses from 265 IT decision makers across a variety of industries are disheartening:

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/governance-and-risk/privileged-users-abusing-data-access.html

When it comes to data silos, nobody does it quite as well as the government.

This makes government agencies the butt of a lot of jokes, but there are actually some pretty good reasons for these silos.

First, most government agencies have been around for nearly 100 years and counting. Second, these agencies have usually grown through Congressional action, which can by act establish a whole new division to support new services.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/the-five-fold-path-for-ensuring-data-information.html

We are about to kickoff our next Forrester Wave on web content security.  The inclusion criteria for vendor prequalification will be sent out within the next two weeks. We will be focusing on both traditional web gateways as well as the hybrid and SaaS delivery models. What does this mean for you?

  • Vendors:  If you feel that your solution applies to this Wave, please contact us and let us know that you'd like to be sent the prequalification survey.  We will be limiting the number of vendors participating in this evaluation. 
  • Enterprises:  If you would like to provide us feedback on your experience with web content security solutions and vendors, we would love to hear from you.  We plan to leverage your feedback for evaluation criteria as well as score weighting.  

Please contact Kelley Mak (kmak at forrester.com) if you are interested in participating.   We expect this Wave will publish in the Spring of 2014. (Fine print: This is a publication estimate and this date is subject to change.)

http://blogs.forrester.com/rick_holland/13-10-22-kicking_off_the_forrester_web_content_security_wave

By William Heisel

One year ago, valley fever was a disease that few people outside of Arizona or Central California had heard of.

Caused by breathing in spores from a fungus that grows in the dirt throughout the Southwest, coccidioidomycosis – as it is formally known – can cause serious illness and a painful death. It spreads from the lungs to the bones, skin, and organs. It can cause lifelong pain and disability and require years of expensive medications. If you live in one of the 15 states that are required to report cases of the disease to the CDC, you have a greater chance of getting valley fever than you do AIDS, hepatitis, or Lyme disease.

I lived south of Los Angeles for 10 years and never heard about it. Nobody I know in Seattle had ever heard of it, either.

“Is that like yellow fever?” is a typical response.

It might have remained a poorly understood and under-the-radar disease if it weren’t for three things: an intense regional media campaign to focus attention on the disease, a new wave of scientific interest led by the CDC, and the intervention of local and federal policymakers.

Now people throughout the United States know about the disease through big stories in the national media. And two of the top health officials in the country – Dr. Thomas Frieden from the CDC and Dr. Francis Collins from the NIH – have pledged to pull together a multi-million-dollar clinical trialExternal Web Site Icon to find better treatment protocols.

This all started in the summer of 2012 when ReportingonHealth.orgExternal Web Site Icon’s editor-in-chief and I (in the role of project editor) convened a group of Southern California media outlets  to talk about the possibilities for collaborating together on untold health stories. The news website is an initiative of The California Endowment Health Journalism FellowshipsExternal Web Site Icon at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and the reporters who took part in the initial discussions were all former fellows in the professional journalism training program. The project was supported by The California Endowment and, from the onset, we set out to have an impact and make a different through investigative and explanatory journalism. 

From Bakersfield to Fresno to Merced to Stockton, the story we heard from editors and reporters was consistent: people in Central California communities had been hit hard by valley fever, but the news outlets had only scratched the surface reporting on it.  Over the next year, the Bakersfield Californian, the Merced Sun-Star, Radio Bilingüe in Fresno, The Record in Stockton, Valley Public Radio in Fresno and Bakersfield, Vida en el Valle in Fresno, the Voice of OC in Santa Ana and ReportingonHealth.org banded together under the Reporting On Health Collaborative banner.

We called our series Just One BreathExternal Web Site Icon because all it takes to catch valley fever is to breath in the fungal spores. The series documented the rise of the disease epidemicExternal Web Site Icon, the toll on familiesExternal Web Site Icon and the financial costsExternal Web Site Icon, the stalled attempts to find a vaccineExternal Web Site Icon, and a range of other issues. Throughout, the collaborative identified the levers that – if switched – could prevent infections and improve the lives of patients afflicted with the disease. And we ultimately provided a five-point road mapExternal Web Site Icon for changing the course of the disease. We coupled the reporting with an innovative community engagement campaign.

Our stories led to coverage by some of the best-read media outlets in the worldExternal Web Site Icon, including the Associated PressExternal Web Site Icon, the New York TimesExternal Web Site Icon, and the BBCExternal Web Site Icon.

At the same time, the CDC began ramping up its publication of journal articles related to valley fever. Between 2000 and 2011, there were an average of two articles on valley fever in CDC publications: MMWR Weekly and Emerging Infectious Diseases. In 2012 alone, though, the CDC published six articles that provided new information about the disease.

Among these studies was one particularly important report. Coccidioidomycosis-associated Deaths, United States, 1990–2008 detailed the mortality from valley fever, the age groups being hit the hardest and the ethnic differences in death rates. Jennifer Y. Huang, Benjamin Bristow, Shira Shafir, and Frank Sorvillo reported:

During 1990–2008, a total of 3,089 coccidioidomycosis-associated deaths among US residents were identified; these deaths represent 55,264 years of potential life lost. The overall crude mortality rate was 0.58 per 1 million person-years (95% CI 0.56–0.61); after age adjustment, the mortality rate was 0.59 deaths per 1 million person-years (95% CI 0.57–0.61).

That report was followed by an update on the upswing in reported valley fever cases in March 2013, in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The study, Increase in Reported Coccidioidomycosis – United States, 1998-2011, was co-authored by two of the CDC’s lead experts in fungal diseases: Dr. Tom Chiller and Dr. Benjamin Park, along with Clarisse A. Tsang, Farzaneh Tabnak, Dr. Duc J. Vugia, and Kaitlin Benedict. They wrote:

This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that the incidence of reported coccidioidomycosis increased substantially during this period, from 5.3 per 100,000 population in the endemic area (Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah) in 1998 to 42.6 per 100,000 in 2011. Health-care providers should be aware of this increasingly common infection when treating persons with influenza-like illness or pneumonia who live in or have traveled to endemic areas.

Soon, it wasn’t just the media and the scientists who were calling attention to valley fever this past year. Politicians started to move, too.

Within a few weeks of the Just One Breath kickoff in September 2012, Michael Rubio, then a California state senator, called a town hall meetingExternal Web Site Icon in Bakersfield that brought together community leaders, clinicians, researchers, and patients to talk about how to deal with the disease. He then formed a valley fever committee in the state Senate.

“Let’s have a competition: Who can come up with a better test so we can achieve it?” Rubio said to the crowd. “Who can come up with a better treatment so we can have a cost-effective way of treating this very serious disease?”

At the federal level, Sen. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, contacted Dr. Frieden at the CDC. McCarthy told reporters earlier this yearExternal Web Site Icon that he knew there had to be a better way to deal with valley fever.

“What I would like to do in the short-term is a randomized clinical trial, because no facts are proven out there for the best treatment for valley fever,” he said. “It’s still unknown.”

That was in April. Last month, McCarthy helped make something unprecedented happen when he brought Drs. Frieden and Collins to Bakersfield for a two-day symposium on the disease.

The unknowns about valley fever are starting to give way to concrete, concerted action. As developments unfold, you can be assured that many more people are going to be paying attention. Gone are the days when valley fever was thought of as an unavoidable risk, the downside of all the upsides of living in the Southwest. People have seen what is possible when the science, policy, and advocacy communities put their heads together, and they want to see that same attention paid to valley fever.

William HeiselExternal Web Site Icon is a Contributing Editor at ReportingonHealth.org and the Project Editor on the Just One Breath series about valley fever. A reporter for 20 years, Heisel lives in Seattle, where he works as the Director of Communications for the Institute for Health Metrics and EvaluationExternal Web Site Icon.

Comments Icon  Post a Comment

http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2013/10/just-one-breath-how-voices-of-valley-fever-were-heard-coast-to-coast/

One in three British companies is putting business operations at risk by storing data back-ups on-site, according to new research by Onyx Group and Computing magazine.

The research, which took place among IT managers in UK SMEs, shows that less than half back-up data off-site in a secure data centre, despite the risk that loss of IT poses to business continuity.

The research also revealed that just 16 percent of businesses are confident that their disaster recovery procedures are as good as they could be. A further 14 percent did not know whether they could be improved.

Neil Stephenson, CEO at Onyx Group commented: “This research shows a real lack of confidence in existing disaster recovery procedures and an obvious need to review and improve the business continuity plans that many UK SMEs currently have in place.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news06978.html

Network WorldThis vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

Cloud computing has transformed the way IT resources are utilized, but the externalization of infrastructures and applications has brought with it the perception of increased risk, which seem to swirl around visibility and control.

This perception of increased risk has prevented the adoption of cloud solutions in a number of industries, so the key question is how to make decisions about moving your organization's IT solutions to the cloud while considering the risks involved. A

Let's review the key advantages of cloud computing:

...

http://www.cio.com/article/741803/How_to_Assess_Risk_When_Considering_Cloud_Computing

Alan Elwood
Risk and Resilience Ltd


So far I have posted about the need to concentrate on ensuring your OODA Loop can operate faster than the emergency and talked about how to manage information and actions in a crisis. To complete this series of three blog posts I am going to look at how you can structure crisis decision making. Decision making in a crisis is not the same as in everyday circumstances so you will need access to different tools. Here are five things to consider:

Key Questions: Have a system to guide your decision making that analyses the situation but also allows you to use your experience and intuition. Think about the key set of questions you need to ask yourself and write them down in advance. These questions should help you (1) understand what is going on and the implications of that; (2) appreciate what needs to be done and why it needs to be done; (3) be clear on where your priority lies; and (4) identify, resource and co-ordinate tasks. Once you have this in place make its use is second nature - rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

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http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/implementing-crisis-decisions-turning.html

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 15:51

5 Tips for Managing Clouds at Scale

Network World — The enterprise adoption of cloud computing resources has taken a precarious path. Many organizations have started by running small workloads in the public cloud, reticent to use the platform for bigger mission-critical workloads.

But once they get comfortable with say a test and development use case in the cloud, or an outsourced e-mail platform, perhaps CIOs and CTOs warm up to the idea of using outsourced cloud resources for more jobs.

At a recent panel of cloud users, one thing became clear though: Managing a public cloud deployment at small scale is relatively straightforward. The problem comes when that deployment has to scale up. "It gets very complex," says IDC analyst Mary Turner, who advises companies on cloud management strategies. "In the early stages of cloud we had a lot of test and development, single-purpose, ad-hoc use case. We're getting to the point where people realize the agility cloud can bring, and now they have to scale it."

And doing so can be tough. The panelists at the recent Massachusetts Technology Leadership Cloud Summit had some tips and tricks for users though. Here are five.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/741794/5_Tips_for_Managing_Clouds_at_Scale

While good planning and processes are at the heart of business continuity and disaster recovery, technology can accelerate the benefits as well. We live in an age of cloud computing and smartphones. Both can be used to help an organisation get back on its feet after incidents, or simply ride them out without severe or permanent consequences.

Mobile Apps. With a billion smartphones in the world, the mobile app is now a familiar concept. The MIRA smartphone app makes use of the extensive capabilities of mobile devices to communicate with and localise respondents in order to coordinate DR and BC processes and exchange crucial information.

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/how-technology-smooths-the-way-for-business-continuity-and-disaster-recovery/

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 15:48

Thornton May: The Future Will Need CIOs

Computerworld — Several weeks ago, a group of enterprise CIOs gathered to celebrate the 32nd birthday of CIO-ness. That's right, the "chief information officer" job title is 32 years old.

There are several origin myths associated with the CIO position floating around our industry, but all of them roughly place the moment of CIO conception as sometime during 1981. I asked the hundred-plus CIOs in attendance to think back to what they were doing when they were 32. Doing pattern recognition on the responses revealed much. The most important observation was that by age 32, the executives in the room emphatically concluded that their careers were not over. They unanimously agreed that from age 32, their jobs got bigger, better and different.

We should all be able to conclude with equal certainty that at age 32, CIO job is not over either. Not even close. Things are going to get bigger, better and different on a massive scale.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/741752/Thornton_May_The_Future_Will_Need_CIOs

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 15:37

Picking Up the Insurance Tab

Your broker will help you determine your insurance needs, go out to market, and obtain competitive quotes. She’ll guide you through the buying process, price negotiations and policy terms. She might even take you out to a nice lunch and introduce you to the key players at your carrier. There’s no debating it – your broker is a great help when you’re purchasing insurance.

But the one thing your broker won’t help you with is paying your insurance bill. For that, you’ll need a budget.

Preparing an insurance budget is a lot like splitting the tab after an expensive meal. You’re pretty sure that everyone sitting at the table should pay something, but how much? Should the bill be divided evenly? Should each person pay according to what he ordered? Should you skip all the awkwardness and just pay the thing yourself?

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http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/picking-up-the-insurance-tab

 

In 2011, Chris Kloosterman joined the IT team at Saint Michaels University School (SMUS) in Victoria, BC, Canada after leaving his position at nearby Brentwood College School. St. Michaels University School is a private co-educational, independent day and boarding school of 930 students from kindergarten through grade 12.

The timing of Kloosterman’s hiring as the new systems administrator could not have been better as SMUS was facing major challenges with its data backup and recovery system. Fortunately, he had just spent months in his previous role evaluating backup solutions and had great insight to share with SMUS manager of computer services, Rob Przybylski.

With the previous system, Symantec Backup Exec 2010 version 13, the school was backing up full plus incrementals over seven days, but wanted the ability to back up all data every day. SMUS also needed an easier and more robust solution for performing file level restores and looking at data retention policies to ensure they had copies of data where they needed copies. With Backup Exec 2010 version 13, doing multiple copies was cumbersome. During testing, they generally did not work. SMUS went to disk and archive to tape, but because tape was so unreliable, they had to back up to two different disk boxes in two different locations. That was problematic.

As it came time to evaluate and implement a new backup solution, Przybylski relied heavily on Kloosterman who had been part of Brentwood College School’s extensive research into backup systems. With his thorough knowledge of the available systems, SMUS didn’t need to replicate his research efforts.

Based on Kloosterman’s endorsement of the STORServer Backup Appliance, SMUS implemented the system in June 2011. The competitive solutions were either significantly more expensive or lacked the robust features that the Appliance offered.

Driven by IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager (TSM) and other proven technologies, the STORServer Backup Appliance is a comprehensive, fully integrated, backup, archive and disaster recovery solution in a single, easy-to-use configuration of hardware and software technologies.

STORServer has enabled much faster backups for SMUS. Previously, with Backup Exec 2010 version 13, the school was doing incremental backups daily and full backups during the weekend, which proved to be incredibly challenging for performing restores. In order to restore a file, Przybylski had to go to the latest full backup and look up all backups since then. If a file changed daily, that meant they backed it up daily. So, if a file changed every day for 30 days, SMUS had 30 copies of it due to a 30-day retention requirement. STORServer enabled the school to get proper file retention policies back to a year and eliminated the worry about all the different data sets they were backing up every day.

SMUS is currently backing up 17.5 terabytes (TBs) of raw data across two locations—one at its main facility and the other at a nearby junior school. The school is fully virtualized with 60 virtual servers and runs Windows and Linux and a 10 gigabyte network in its server room.

Using Backup Exec 2010 version 13, backups started running at 10 p.m. every evening and usually finished by 7 a.m. the next day. However, if there was ever an issue, backups would go into the next work day and make the system very slow. The backup window was growing and growing and Przybylski feared SMUS would eventually run out of physical time to perform backups. Now, STORServer’s backup window is a quarter of that—mere hours.

The Appliance has saved the school immense amounts of time. Restores previously took half an hour to 40 minutes depending on when the file was deleted. Now, restores happen instantly with STORServer.

In October 2013, SMUS had a major storage crash. The process of restoring all of the data using the STORServer Backup Appliance included more than 7.1 million files restored to the main file server, 900 student email boxes and a couple of bare metal server restores. With no hiccups, problems or errors, STORServer had all of the data restored in a matter of a few days.

Although quantifying a cost savings of implementing the Appliance is difficult, Przybylski says the peace of mind the solution offers is invaluable.

The daily time period we would need to spend on managing the STORServer Backup Appliance is probably a quarter of the time we were spending on the old system,” says Przybylski. “We now spend at most 10 minutes a day maintaining the system. Time wise, it is a huge savings. And, my level of comfort is priceless.”

Since implementing the Appliance, the system has been able to meet SMUS’s growing needs. The school has bought extra tapes—as its backup data set has grown—and changed out the hard drives in the unit with help of STORServer. According to Przybylski, there wouldn’t be any issue expanding the system even if their file data volume doubled, which it likely will. STORServer could handle that growth.

STORServer is quite a hands-off system,” says Przybylski. “You set it up at the beginning with the retention policies, and then it really does run itself. Restores are instant and can be done by any of our technical staff. It doesn’t require expertise of the TSM platform. But, the biggest benefit is the peace of mind that my data is backed up and I can get it back in case of disaster. That was not the case with our old system.”

One of the biggest topics in IT today, specifically for anyone in the backup field, is deduplication. Using STORServer, SMUS is able to store 17 TBs of data on 9 TBs with compression and data deduplication.

Our WAN backups used to take seven nights to get a full backup, but with deduplication, we now get a full backup every night in just minutes over the same WAN connection,” says Przybylski “This has helped us out more than any of the other features of the Appliance. Compression and deduplication mean we have a quarter of the disk space our old system had. Now, we can store more data and archive sets than was previously possible. We don’t have to store data for specified periods of time. Some files are archived forever and most have retention policies.”

 

Katie Collison
Steelhenge

Crossrail is the biggest construction project currently in Europe and is one of the largest single infrastructure investments ever undertaken in the UK. It is a rail link that will run 118km from Maidenhead and Heathrow airport to the West of London, through new twin bore 21 km tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood, east of London. Crossrail will increase London’s rail based transport network capacity by 10% and bring an additional 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of commuting time to London’s key business districts, supporting regeneration across the capital. It represents construction on a staggering scale.

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/establishing-iso-22301-in-europes.html

Over the past few months, the discoveries of two engineers have led to a steady trickle of alarms from the Department of Homeland Security concerning a threat to the nation’s power grid. Yet hardly anyone has noticed.

The advisories concern vulnerabilities in the communication protocol used by power and water utilities to remotely monitor control stations around the country. Using those vulnerabilities, an attacker at a single, unmanned power substation could inflict a widespread power outage.

Still, the two engineers who discovered the vulnerability say little is being done.

Adam Crain and Chris Sistrunk do not specialize in security. The engineers say they hardly qualify as security researchers. But seven months ago, Mr. Crain wrote software to look for defects in an open-source software program. The program targeted a very specific communications protocol called DNP3, which is predominantly used by electric and water companies, and plays a crucial role in so-called S.C.A.D.A. (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems. Utility companies use S.C.A.D.A. systems to monitor far-flung power stations from a control center, in part because it allows them to remotely diagnose problems rather than wait for a technician to physically drive out to a station and fix it.

...

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/electrical-grid-called-vulnerable-to-power-shutdown

It seems many organizations are starting where they are with Big Data. On a practical level, what that means is:

Now, I’m not going to be the one to say whether that’s a good idea or not at this point. You do what you need to do.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/analytics-approaches-nobody-puts-big-data-in-a-box.html

There was a time when data facilities had to be kept close to the knowledge workforce because the cost of building and maintaining broadly distributed network architectures was just too high, as was the latency they created.

Today’s high-speed, high-bandwidth networks have put an end to that, however, resulting in global cloud configurations that can connect data to virtually any device at a moment’s notice. The end result is that data centers are starting to crop up in the most unusual places, most often driven by the desire to implement the broadest possible data footprint while keeping costs to a bare minimum.

In many cases, this has led to a building boom of sorts in the coldest climates of the globe. Facebook, for one, recently took the wraps off its newest hyperscale facility, located in the small town of Lulea, Sweden. The facility lies just south of the Arctic Circle where the temperature rarely hits 70 degrees F and can easily slip to below zero in the dead of winter. Using ambient air and Sweden’s ample supply of renewable energy (mostly hydroelectric), the facility boasts a PUE of 1.04, which means that just about all the energy it consumes goes to data infrastructure, not cooling or power generation. For a center that handles upwards of 10 billion messages per day, that adds up to quite a savings for Facebook.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/driving-data-efficiency-to-the-ends-of-the-earth.html

Friday, 18 October 2013 19:11

Be Cyber Smart. Stay Cyber Secure

CHICAGO – Cybercriminals don’t discriminate, so don’t be a target - protect your privacy and guard against fraud by practicing safe online habits. Cyber security threats and attacks are gaining momentum. With more than $525 million in losses due to online criminal activity in 2012, proper security measures are a critical component in keeping your identity and finances secure. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is taking this opportunity to remind our partners and the general public to create a safe, secure, and resilient cyber environment.

“Computers, smartphones and other electronics have become a prevalent part of our daily lives,” said FEMA Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. “Everyone needs to understand how frequently cybercrimes occur and arm themselves with the latest information and tools necessary to protect their families against potential fraud.”

Helpful information on protecting kids online, securing your computer and avoid scams can be found at OnGuardOnline.gov. Here are a few tips to safeguard yourself and your computer:

Set strong passwords, change them regularly, and don’t share them with anyone.

Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates.

Maintain an open dialogue with your friends, family, colleagues and community about Internet safety.

Use privacy settings and limit the amount of personal information you post online.

Be cautious about offers online – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Report a cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as

appropriate.

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

Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/fema, twitter.com/femaregion5, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

 

http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/18/be-cyber-smart-stay-cyber-secure

One thing that has become all too transparent with social media and the Internet is that there are an awful lot of ugly, nasty people out there. And when they can hide behind anonymity they can get real ugly. That reality has driven a whole new class of reputation crisis. But left many with the question of what do you do when the uglies, nasties and digital mob start creaming you online?

My sense is that the standard answer (certainly mine has been) is that it doesn’t make sense to respond to any and every gratuitous attack. Monitor, monitor, monitor and if it looks like some accusation is getting legs then respond. However, I continually am surprised by the remnants of the old Mark Twain comment (I think it was Twain) who said never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. While that refers to news, because of the impossibility of determining a meaningful distinction between new media and old media, it also applies in some thinking to online attacks as well. Particularly if the attack is coming from someone with a large following.

...

http://ww2.crisisblogger.com/2013/10/should-you-respond-to-nasties-online-walmarts-new-approach/

As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches in late October, Allianz Group’s specialist corporate insurer, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), warns that while there is heightened awareness, many businesses have not yet implemented adequate changes.

A new Risk Bulletin from AGCS entitled ‘Superstorm Sandy - Lessons Learned: A Risk Management Perspective’ examines the cost of the disaster and outlines what businesses need to do now to ensure they can mitigate the adverse financial impact of future storm events.

“Many businesses are not as prepared as they could be. Today businesses need to prepare for the new normal of weather events and this can be a laborious process,” said Tom Varney, Regional Manager for Allianz Risk Consulting in the Americas. “For many companies it takes time—in some cases years—to appropriate funding and actually make the much needed changes. For others it may just be about focusing on the right things at the right time. Allianz is committed to helping clients identify vulnerabilities, mitigate risk and be as prepared as possible.”

Superstorm Sandy - Lessons Learned: A Risk Management Perspective identifies four key steps that businesses can implement now to be better prepared for future extreme weather events:

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news06973.html

Friday, 18 October 2013 19:08

Horizon Scanning

Colin Ive
CoDRIM

As new threats appear, it is easy for busy Business Continuity practioners to miss these with their heads so deeply burrowed into the challenges of organisations. Practitioners are already overloaded with work and, as we have seen in recent years, this is often due to cutbacks, to having an amalgamation of roles or simply by being directed to focus on achieving compliance with new standards and increasing demands from customers etc. Yet without an effective and externally focused ‘risk radar’ seeking out these threats on a permanent, efficient and effective basis, an organisation can find itself suddenly confronted with unwelcome surprises which could impact their business either directly or via a failing supply chain. Surprises which can severely damage their bottom line!

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/horizon-scanning.html

Being involved in a legal action, even it the organization prevails, is expensive and can lead to an interruption to "business as usual."

 

Lately I have been reading about more and more court cases on complaints by workers claiming they were not paid for mandatory work done prior to, and following, work hours.

For example, a bus driver has to report 15 minutes early to inspect and prepare his bus to accept passengers. His formal work shift begins at 7 a.m., but because he has 15 minutes "prep" time, he actually begins work at 6:45 a.m.

Think about the person who has to "suit up" to work in either a clean room or a potentially contaminated area - a nuclear plant, for example. Not only does the employee have to take time to prepare for the job, the employee also needs time to doff the protective gear after the work day is complete.

...

http://johnglennmbci.blogspot.com/2013/10/erm-bc-coop-in-minute-job-prep-recovery.html

Thursday, 17 October 2013 15:05

Walk a mile in their shoes

David Tickner
Computrix Services

Whether a consultant or an internal business continuity planner, it’s never easy to get management to commit to a continuity program. Perhaps it’s the approach you take or that you find management a bit too bottom line focussed.

Where is the key to gaining corporate commitment for BC programs - the CEO’s office, the CFO or the Risk Manager? Perhaps it’s not even inside your organisation, there could be other options.

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/walk-mile-in-their-shoes.html

One of the biggest factors in helping people to get along and making businesses profitable is communication. Mobile phones in particular have become the symbol of this: depriving somebody of his or her mobile phone is today akin to torture, at work, at home or anywhere else. The trend continues too towards more advanced and more diverse communications technology, as workers bring in their own mobile devices for work and customers increasingly put their faith in the cyberspace.  Yet, our communication fails when we’re in an elevator, in a tunnel, underground or any place similarly isolated from the business network. Do military communications hold an answer?

If communications are important to most businesses, for the armed forces they are vital. With this in mind, military communications have often been in the forefront of communications technology in sophistication, performance and availability. The Internet that we now take for granted was originally a DARPA (US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) project. The goal was to construct a communications network that would automatically reroute information to deal with any part of the network breaking down or being destroyed. Similarly, the army, navy and air force (and the police) had two way radios and radio networks long before the first mobile phones became available for consumers.

...

http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/the-army-as-the-model-for-business-communications/

I’ve flogged this horse before, but this new info graphic from istock (and video version of it) reminded me of the importance of video on the web.

Imagine it was 1994 and we were having a conversation about crisis communications. You said to me, “You know, this Internet thing might be big. I think crisis communicators ought to look at how this thing called a ‘web site’ might help in a crisis.”

“Pah, fooey,” I would say. “Why would anyone need that? Everyone knows that crisis communication is about putting out press releases and handing them out to the waiting press mob outside the door.”

...

http://ww2.crisisblogger.com/2013/10/why-crisis-communicators-should-pay-more-attention-to-video/

by Hilary Tuttle

 

In the October issue of Risk Management, social media and eDiscovery expert Adam Cohen chatted with me about the biggest corporate risks in sites like Facebook and Twitter, and outlined some best practices for developing and enforcing a social media policy. But behind every account sits one major risk that’s hard to control: a person.

Not all of Cohen’s advice could make the magazine, so here are some of his extra tips for how to mitigate the risks of personal social media – both to protect your company and to protect yourself.

...

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/online-exclusive-how-to-protect-yourself-on-social-media

It’s sometimes easy to forget that, as far as most end users are concerned, analytics is merely a means to an end. As such, those users are generally a lot more interested in the path of least resistance when it comes to applying analytics.

With that issue firmly in mind, Adobe this week at the Digital Marketing Association 2013 conference updated Adobe Analytics, a service that allows users to analyze massive amounts of unstructured Big Data.

Nate Smith, product marketing manager at Adobe, says Adobe Analytics eliminates all the complexity associated with Big Data by exposing analytics applications as a service. As a result, organizations don’t have to invest in expensive data scientists to organize their data; they just load it into the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/adobe-delivers-big-data-analytics-via-the-cloud.html

It’s sometimes easy to forget that, as far as most end users are concerned, analytics is merely a means to an end. As such, those users are generally a lot more interested in the path of least resistance when it comes to applying analytics.

With that issue firmly in mind, Adobe this week at the Digital Marketing Association 2013 conference updated Adobe Analytics, a service that allows users to analyze massive amounts of unstructured Big Data.

Nate Smith, product marketing manager at Adobe, says Adobe Analytics eliminates all the complexity associated with Big Data by exposing analytics applications as a service. As a result, organizations don’t have to invest in expensive data scientists to organize their data; they just load it into the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

How would you coordinate 30,000 volunteers in 5,000 locations across an arc 500 miles long in just eight weeks?

That was the challenge Aaron Titus faced in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Undaunted, he went to work. Realizing he couldn't do it alone, he focused on building a solution that decentralized the coordination process, worked across agencies, and empowered leaders in the field. He succeeded. 

- See more at: http://blogs.csoonline.com/security-leadership/2802/conversation-aaron-titus-using-open-source-coordination-transform-disaster-recovery#sthash.dSBium9X.dpuf

Our staff recently was informed of a new emergency and disaster preparedness free mobile app solution called the “In Case of Crisis” mobile solution.

The “In Case of Crisis” mobile solution —  created and developed by Irving Burton Associates (IBA) –allows institutions – e.g. educational, corporate, government or hospitality — convenient and secure access to emergency information with features such as easy-to-read instructional and building diagrams, one-tap key contact calling, and push notifications for updates/alerts and maps.

The app includes access to a library of 85 possible emergency event scenarios with templates and images or organizations can customize with their own event details. A dedicated client success team provides hands-on coaching and best practice tips for publishing emergency plans to mobile devices.

Thursday, 17 October 2013 14:48

Cavalcade of Risk #194: Is this just fantasy?

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Either way, we’re delighted to be taking our first turn at hosting Cavalcade of Risk #194. For those of you who, like us, are new to this, the CavRisk blog carnival is a round-up of risk and insurance-related posts from around the blogosphere.

Our debut as a Cav host kicks off with a post on fantasy insurance in which Hank Stern of InsureBlog poses the question: What if your Fantasy Footballer gets sidelined in real life? The good news is there’s an insurance policy for that. Game on.

Next up, at Workers’ Comp Insider, Julie Ferguson, brings us back to real life with a roundup of the impact that the government shutdown is having on workplace health & safety and various regulatory and employment-related matters. It’s her second, and hopefully last, roundup on the shutdown, Julie notes.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=3409

with Dan Zitting

5 Steps to Integrating Governance, Risk Management and Compliance Activities Across the Organization

Governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) efforts are often spread across an organization. Each department takes a different approach with its own systems, technologies and tools to engage in risk management activities. Senior management is often stymied in trying to get a clear picture of risk across the organization, having to compare apples and oranges served up from various silos of GRC activity.

Without a consistent way to look at the universe of risk across the organization, how can you weigh impact and likelihood and keep up to date on ever-changing risk profiles?

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/cant-see-the-risk-forest-for-the-grc-silo-trees

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 14:51

Recovery Strategies

Ian Charters
Continuity Systems Ltd

It is a pity that the term ‘recovery strategy’ was ever coined. It gives the impression that an organisation has one high level recovery strategy which will provide a response to all BC issues and around which all recovery plans and procedures will be based. For example – “in the event a disruption the organisation will move priority staff to operate from its recovery centre at...” which is seen as a solution to all problems.

Instead the ‘recovery strategy’ of an organisation is likely to be a whole raft of measures put in place before an incident occurs that will, hopefully, give it some workable options for response when an incident occurs whatever the circumstances.

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/recovery-strategies.html

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 14:49

Disaster Update: Cyclone Phailin

Cyclone Phailin made landfall on October 12th, striking the East coast of India including the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.  Wind speeds reached 130 miles per hour and the storm surge reached 10 feet in some areas.

The storm triggered India’s biggest evacuation operation in 23 years with close to one million people evacuated by government authorities with support from the Indian Red Cross.  More than 110,000 are taking refuge in Red Cross run cyclone shelters. Phailin had a devastating impact damaging or destroying more than 250,000 homes and nearly 1 million acres of crops. 

The emergency response has been constrained by the cancellation of air-flights and trains, damage to highways and roads along the coastline, and disruption to mobile communication.

The Indian Red Cross (IRCS) has deployed teams to assess the affected areas and is mobilizing emergency relief items, clean water, and shelter materials.  More than 2,500 volunteers are responding. Three water treatment units have been deployed along with 11,000 tarps. The IRCS is planning to support some 200,000 people with initial assistance including distribution of shelter and relief supplies, health checks and provision of safe water.

The cyclone affected 11 million people but due to intensive preparedness efforts few lives were lost. In 1999 Cyclone Orissa made landfall in a similar area and killed more than 10,000 people.  Since that time the Indian Red Cross has increased its disaster preparedness efforts and training in the communities. 

 “Disaster risk reduction interventions for the last many years in Odisha, especially the construction of 75 cyclone shelters and training of large number of volunteers made it possible for nearly 110,400 people to get protection in these Red Cross Cyclone Shelters during the evacuation,” said Dr. S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General of the Indian Red Cross.

http://newsroom.redcross.org/2013/10/15/disaster-update-cyclone-phailin

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 14:46

Listen to Understand – Not Simply to Reply

by

I have worked for a few organizations where the concept of the CEO was to help customers improve their business by understanding their business and business needs, create solutions via services with hardware and software, and provide support throughout the entire life-cycle.  Using these concepts in addition to my own beliefs, I recently presented to a group of prospects and customers.  I have long been convinced that selling a widget only goes so far.  Solving business problems, embeds you into the fabric of an enterprise.

Far too often, people believe in what they are doing without understanding it.

...

http://mdjohn.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/listen-to-understand-not-simply-to-reply/

By Loraine Lawson

You hear it all the time: There simply aren’t enough trained data scientists to support the demand for Big Data analytics.

But here’s an interesting fact from TDWI’s best practices report on “Managing Big Data”: The data scientists aren’t really managing it now.

Actually, there’s an incredible range of job titles that manage Big Data. Out of 297 responses from 166 respondents (they could choose multiple options), only 6 percent said data scientists manage Big Data in their organizations.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/survey-shows-big-data-projects-getting-by-without-data-scientists-for-now.html

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 14:43

What the Internet of Things Means for Security

You've probably been hearing a lot lately about the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT (see: "The IoT: A Primer" at the end of this piece), while still in the early stages of development, is slowly making its way into the mainstream as more objects become connected via technology such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and the iniquitousness of the Internet.

By Bob Violino

 

CSO — You've probably been hearing a lot lately about the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT (see: "The IoT: A Primer" at the end of this piece), while still in the early stages of development, is slowly making its way into the mainstream as more objects become connected via technology such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and the iniquitousness of the Internet.

Regardless of how the development of the IoT plays out in the months and years to come, or what specific plans organizations have for deploying related projects, there will clearly be security implications. IT and security executives might want to start thinking about the security aspects of IoT today, even if they have no immediate plans to link objects via the Internet.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/741467/What_the_Internet_of_Things_Means_for_Security

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 14:42

Insider Threats and How They Can Be Mitigated

Any employee with access to sensitive data is a potential threat, whether they know it or not. Even if they don't have malicious intentions, the inherent nature of their privilege is what makes them so dangerous.

 
By Grant Hatchimonji

CSO — Any employee with access to sensitive data is a potential threat, whether they know it or not. Even if they don't have malicious intentions, the inherent nature of their privilege is what makes them so dangerous.

Vormetric recently published its 2013 Insider Threat Report exploring the very nature of these dangers while also tallying the results of a survey it conducted over two weeks in August of this year. The numbers, which were tabulated in September, indicated the responses from 707 IT professionals to questions regarding insider threats and they choose to combat them. Needless to say, the pervasive theme of the survey results was that insider threats are a very serious concern to just about everyone.

...

http://www.cio.com/article/741465/Insider_Threats_and_How_They_Can_Be_Mitigated

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 14:41

Plan to fail for better security and continuity

Tom Davison looks at how failures can be used to boost security and help business continuity: if approached in the right way.

We’ve all heard the old saying: “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Of course, it’s true: and from a security viewpoint, it’s also interesting to turn the cliché on its head. Shouldn’t a major part of any robust IT security strategy be about planning to fail? About preparing for the ‘what if’ scenarios that can disrupt normal business operations, and attempting to mitigate the potential impact of those disruptions?

A majority of businesses already do this to some extent, by performing regular vulnerability scans and penetration tests on their networks. But all too often these tests will look only at issues such as vulnerabilities on Internet gateways, systems with out-of-date patches or the presence of malware. They don’t include other security problems that are just as capable of causing outages, failures and damage – such as DDoS attacks, phishing attempts and more – which almost always strike seemingly at random and unexpectedly.

So how do you widen the scope of your security planning to ensure you’ve covered all the outage and security scenarios that could have a catastrophic effect on your business?

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1112.html

The Business Continuity Institute has published the shortlist for its annual Global Awards, which will be presented at a ceremony on 6th November in London.

The BCI Global Awards ‘recognise the outstanding achievements of business continuity professionals and organizations worldwide and pay tribute to some of the finest talent in the industry’.

The shortlist for the BCI Global Awards is as follows:

Business Continuity Consultant of the Year

  • Louise Theunissen MBCI
  • Thomas Keegan MBCI, Director of Business Resilience, PwC
  • Saul Midler MBCI, Managing Director, LINUS Information Security Solutions
  • Muhammad Ghazali MBCI, Head of BCM Services, Protiviti
  • Pierre Wettergren AMBCI, Senior Consultant, 5G Continuity AB

Business Continuity Manager of the Year

  • Millington Gumbo MBCI, Head of BCM, Standard Bank
  • Arnab Kumar Mukherjee MBCI, Business Continuity Manager, Colt Technology Services India Pvt. Ltd.
  • David Clarke MBCI, Business Continuity Manager, Telefónica UK Limited
  • Neyaz Ahmed MBCI, Ag. Director – Business Continuity, Etihad Etisalat - Mobily
  • Tom Clark MBCI, Director of IT Business Continuity Management Services, Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Elaine Tomlin MBCI, Business Continuity Manager, Certus
  • Abdulrahman Alonaizan MBCI, Business Continuity Manager, Arab National Bank
  • Nisar Ahmed Khan MBCI, Manager – Business Continuity Management, Kuwait Finance House

Business Continuity Team of the Year

  • SWIFT
  • BT
  • Orion Group
  • Standard Life plc

Public Sector Business Continuity Manager of the Year

  • Glen Redstall CBCI, Manager, Business Continuity & Emergency Management, Inland Revenue
  • Mary-Ellen Lang MBCI, Resilience Manager, The City of Edinburgh Council
  • Brian Duddridge MBCI, Business Continuity Manager, Welsh Government
  • Alan Jones MBCI, Head of Resilience & Emergencies, West Sussex County Council

BCM Newcomer of the Year

  • Akintade Ayelomi AMBCI, Senior Manager, Business Continuity Management, MTN Nigeria (MTNN) Communications Limited
  • Andrew MacLeod AMBCI, Consultant, Needhams 1834 Ltd
  • Maan Al Saqlawi, Head of BCM, Bank Muscat
  • Nicola Huxley, Security Risk and Resilience Manager, British-American Tobacco (Holdings) Limited

Business Continuity Innovation of the Year (Product/Service)

  • Blue Zoo
  • Fusion Risk Management, Inc.
  • Vocal Ltd
  • Everbridge

Business Continuity Provider of the Year (BCM Service)

  • NCS Pte Ltd
  • Continuity Shop
  • SunGard Availability Services

Business Continuity Provider of the Year (BCM Product)

  • IBM
  • LINUS Information Security
  • eBRP Solutions Network, Inc.

Most Effective Recovery of the Year

  • Etihad Etisalat - Mobily
  • NHS Blood and Transplant
  • Citi
  • NCB Capital

Industry Personality of the Year

  • Abdulrahman Alonaizan MBCI
  • Richard L. Arnold
  • Tim Janes MBCI
  • Mark Penberthy FBCI
  • Iain Taylor (Hon) FBCI

More details.

Daniel Dec
Cognizant Technology Solutions

The answer to that question is 'yes' - security and business continuity are a good fit and my reasons for this are based on observations and experiences over my career, along with some research evidence to support my position. My reasons can be summarised under five broad headings and these are:

Availability, core in security and BC
The definition of Information Security focuses on three main principles - confidentiality, integrity and availability. It is the availability part of this triad that illustrates the close relationship that BC has with security. Computerized information is only of value if it is available when needed. The concepts and objectives of BC support the availability of Information Security. In addition, there is more relevance as the need for high availability has increased which we will talk more about in a future section.

...

http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/is-security-and-business-continuity.html

Controlling costs and improving clinical outcomes for injured workers are among the top priorities for workers' compensation payors. As the cost of medical care continues to rise and as the proportion of medical expense in the overall claim increases, a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) is often looked upon to interject; lending insight and assistance to control pharmacy utilization and cost.

 

Add to Facebook Add to Twitter Add to LinkedIn Write to the Editor Reprints

Today's workers' compensation claims environment requires a PBM to provide pharmacologic expertise, a robust network and service excellence while melding together the characteristics of analyst, clinician, processor, service representative, problem solver, educator, mentor, advocate, investigator, researcher and partner into one solution.

For even the most experienced this can be quite a challenge. Progressive Medical, however, is one PBM rising to the occasion.

...

http://www.riskandinsurance.com/story.jsp?storyId=533355133&topic=Main

Tuesday, 15 October 2013 13:21

Stretching Risk Management

BY JANET ASCHKENASY

Visit the offices of progressive, safety-minded construction companies these days and you'll see each and every employee -- management level and otherwise -- stretching, bending and reaching before starting the workday.

    In an industry where strains and sprains are by far the most frequent and costly injuries -- followed by falls, which are less common but more severe in terms of the damage -- more and more construction professionals have adopted a "stretch and flex" regimen to minimize on-the-job hazards.

    To protect their bottom lines, they need to. In some regions of the country, New York City in particular, some insurance carriers have found the workers' compensation market for construction so troubling they have withdrawn from it altogether. Contractors have taken on more retentions and are much more vigilant about safety as a result.

    ...

    http://www.riskandinsurance.com/story.jsp?storyId=533355074&topic=Main

    IT is at the heart of most business today. Whether it’s in marketing systems and CRM, design software applications, production line automation or finance and accounting, if the information technology being used breaks down, so do business operations. Conversely, when service from the IT department is defined in terms of the business objectives of the organisation, business continuity can be positively reinforced. ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) and ITSM (IT Service Management) both take business goals as the starting point for defining and implementing levels of IT service. How then do ITIL and ITSM compare and what are their roles in helping to improve business continuity?

    ...

    http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/itil-itsm-and-the-way-they-can-help-business-continuity/

    Early in the summer, I noticed quite a few social media intern positions on some of the online job boards. Although I could see how it would make sense to some companies to get their feet wet in social media without spending much money, it gave me shivers to think that a solid business with good community standing might turn over its public media strategy to a kid whose only social media expertise was tweeting and Facebooking with friends.

    And apparently I’m not alone in my fears. I’ve read several articles that warn SMBs to not hire interns to take on social media—or at least not to hire them to be the sole voice of your company’s social media campaign.

    Although the younger crowd is quite familiar with the ins and outs of most social media platforms, it’s mostly what they aren’t yet familiar with that counts the most—your company’s relationship with its customers. I’m not saying that young men and women of college age have no understanding of business or marketing. What I am saying is that it often takes months or even years for a new employee to learn the real inner workings of a business and its marketing needs. Interns sign on for only a few months. By the time he or she begins to get into the groove, it’s time to move on.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/smb-tech/smbs-should-think-twice-before-hiring-a-social-media-intern.html

    Tuesday, 15 October 2013 13:18

    Is Big Data Really a Problem?

    Only 8 to 10 percent of organizations have actually spent any money or time building Big Data applications or systems, according to a recent article in Datanami. But does that mean we’re all being conned about the growth of Big Data?

    Probably not. Even though that 8 to 10 percent figure was consistent when Datanami looked at surveys by Gartner, The Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI) and data integration vendor Talend, that particular statistic offers only a small view of the Big Data picture.

    As the article goes on to explain, there are other reasons to believe Big Data is still a major issue for organizations. In fact, the same Gartner study also found 64 percent of respondents either are investing or have plans to invest in Big Data technology this year. Other surveys show similar results.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/is-big-data-really-a-problem.html

    October, as you may know, is Cyber Security Awareness Month. The event is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, which means that Cyber Security Awareness Month is affected by the government shutdown.

    Luckily, the event has taken off since its inception and other organizations are instituting cyber security awareness programs. That’s the great news. The not-so-great news is the shortage of “cyber warriors” to stand on the front lines of cyber security.

    I’ve written about this security professional shortage before, of course. Even as more universities are stepping up cyber security education programs, there is still a lack of good, trained security professionals in the private sector – and even fewer in the public sector. As SourcingFocus.com put it:

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/shutdown-could-hurt-the-search-for-cyber-security-experts-for-government.html

    Tuesday, 15 October 2013 13:05

    Florida Looking for NFIP Alternatives

    Last week, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced that his office is in the process of developing guidelines for insurance companies to request approval to write primary flood insurance in the state. This announcement came just one day after Rebecca Matthews, McCarty’s deputy chief of staff, told the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) was in talks with various insurance companies regarding writing primary flood coverage in the state. These developments are in response to continuing concerns about escalating flood insurance rates due to the Bigger-Waters Act of 2012.

    The Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 extended the National Flood Insurance Program by several years while also putting in place several reforms meant to make the program more solvent. One of those reforms was a phasing in of actuarial flood insurance rates over time. For many the increased premium will be significant, if not severe. In Florida, the biggest hit will be to homes built prior to 1974 in high risk flood zones. At last week’s hearing it was reported that some of those homes could see rates rise from $500 to $16,000. Current owners of those properties will continue to receive subsidized rates, but those subsidies will discontinue once the property is sold thus hindering the Florida real estate market.

    ...

    http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/florida-looking-for-nfip-alternatives

    NEW DELHI — India breathed a sigh of relief Sunday as assessment teams fanned out across the eastern part of the country in the wake of the biggest storm in 14 years and found extensive property damage but relatively little loss of life.

    The state news service, Press Trust of India, reported that 23 people died as a result of Cyclone Phailin, most from falling trees or flying debris.

    Many had predicted a far higher death toll from the storm in this country of 1.2 billion people, where crisis management, regulation, planning and execution are often inadequate and thousands lose their lives each year to natural disasters, building collapses, train accidents and poor crowd control.

    ...

    http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-1014-india-storm-20131014,0,3800879.story

    So how do you influence decision making as a compliance professional? That topic was explored in a session at this year’s Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) annual Compliance and Ethics Institute by presenters Jennifer O’Brien, Chief Medicare Compliance Officer for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement and Shawn DeGroot, Associate Director for Navigant. They, together with a very participative audience, had some insightful thoughts for the compliance practitioner on “how to get to effective.”

    The single best piece of advice O’Brien said that she had ever received came from the recently retired Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) of Microsoft, Odell Guyton. It was to “be relevant.” Although Guyton used that term in the context of senior management meetings, O’Brien thought it so profound that she applied it to all of her work as a compliance professional. In meetings, you have to know both when to speak up at the relevant times and when to keep quiet.

    ...

    http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/be-relevant-how-a-compliance-professional-can-influence-corporate-decision-making

    Kathleen Lucey
    Montague Risk Management
     
    The bleeding edge of our profession is now resiliency – not recovery, not continuity. But the most interesting part of this is the analysis of events as they occur: calculating the effects of these events and responding in new and different ways.
     
    Coupled with detailed current information and analytics engines to help us to understand the impact of events on our markets, our competitors, and our operations, we are now beginning not just to respond faster and better, but to position ourselves to be able to manage improbable, adverse events – sometimes called 'black swans' – to our advantage. We are able to generate additional revenues and/or open new markets for existing products, rather than just minimizing event damages.
     
    I don’t know about you, but I would like to move to the side of the organization that deals with revenue enhancement – marketing and new product development – and move away from compliance. There is more funding there to get the job done right!

    Kathleen will be discussing this and the issue of resilience within the 'Thought Leadership' stream at the BCM World Conference on Thursday 7th November, starting at 10:35.

    http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/can-you-afford-not-to-embrace-next.html

    NEW DELHI — A powerful cyclone whose spinning arms engulfed much of the Bay of Bengal weakened Sunday morning as it crashed into India’s eastern coast, flooding homes and roads throughout the region and disrupting electricity and communications.

    The authorities evacuated about 800,000 people, one of the largest such evacuations in India’s history. The storm’s maximum sustained winds, which were approximately 124 miles per hour when the storm made landfall about 9 p.m. Saturday, had dropped to less than half that strength nine hours later.

    At least five people were killed in the coastal city of Gopalpur because of heavy rain and high winds before the storm made landfall, officials said. The storm was expected to drop up to 10 inches of rain over the next two days in some areas.

    ...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/world/asia/india-cyclone.html

    I know the Terminator mythology dictates that Skynet is a military system, but personally, I think we might want to keep tabs on IBM.

    Everyone knows about Watson, which topped PC Magazine’s “Five Real Computer Systems That Could Become Skynet” list back in 2011. And we know IBM is putting Watson to work in new, more commercial ways.

    But a recent CMSWire article, “Has IBM Just Changed the Big Data Analytics Market?” only adds to my suspicions.

    IBM announced this week it would offer a new type of Big Data solution — the Accelerated Discovery Lab (ADLab), which is based in IBM’s Almaden facility in San Jose.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/are-revolutionary-approaches-on-horizon-for-big-data-and-cloud-integration.html

    In times of momentous change such as the enterprise is undergoing right now, it is easy to forget that most organizations are still trying to deal with some very mundane issues. Although it has largely dropped off the radar in the trade press, one of the most crucial is the ongoing integration of virtual technology into legacy data infrastructure.

    Server virtualization, in particular, has progressed unabated to the point that it is now the common approach to hardware consolidation and the development of all the software-defined, cloud-ready architectures that are remaking the data center. And yet, we are still struggling with ways to implement virtualization on the server side without overloading resources elsewhere, namely storage.

    This may seem odd, given that the public cloud provides virtually limitless storage for all manner of functions. But the fact remains that those who prefer to keep data in-house need to find innovative solutions to scale storage on par with servers and networking if they are to have any hope of maintaining on-premise infrastructure in support of private cloud deployments. Fortunately, storage can be ramped up in a virtual environment in a number of ways.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/new-ways-to-bring-storage-in-line-with-virtual-infrastructure.html

    David Clarke
    Telefónica UK

    At Telefónica UK we are proud to be one of the first UK businesses to achieve the international ISO 22301 accreditation for business continuity management. We’ve always worked hard to ensure that all parts of our business are robust. Our business continuity provisions were accredited under the former British standard BS 25999, so the transition to ISO 22301 was a natural one for us.

    Our COO and business continuity champion on the Board, Derek McManus, summed it up nicely when he said: “Achieving ISO 22301 accreditation demonstrates our commitment to providing a reliable, high quality service to our customers. It shows that we have the resources, investment and processes in place to protect ourselves from potential service disruption – minimising the impact on our customers.”

    ...

    http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/building-resilience-in-provision-of.html

    Friday, 11 October 2013 12:37

    The State of HP, As Told by Meg Whitman

    CIO — HP CEO Meg Whitman provided a financial update this week during the firm's securities analyst meeting. It's a pleasure to see someone like Whitman speak; she prepares properly, articulates her points clearly and has been trained to pace a talk.

    Often the folks giving financial statements seem ill-prepared. One, they don't rehearse enough. Two, edits are being made right up to show time. These are bad practices that distract significantly from the presentation and from the appearance of capability for both the CEO and the firm.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/741294/The_State_of_HP_As_Told_by_Meg_Whitman

    The first I ever heard of the WhatsApp mobile messaging app was a couple of months ago, when a friend told me she had downloaded it. Two days later, I began getting messages in my inbox telling me that I had voicemail on WhatsApp. Obviously it was spam, since I didn’t have that app installed on any of my devices, but it was an odd coincidence. I warned my friend about the spam, which was loaded with malware. She thanked me profusely; she was using her phone for BYOD purposes as well as personal, and you can imagine the problems that could have ensued.

    As if the malware spam wasn’t enough for WhatsApp’s reputation, the site was one of several sites—including several antivirus software sites—to be hit with a DNS attack this week. As Grayson Milbourne, security intelligence director at Webroot, explained to me in an email:

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/security-breakdowns-can-ruin-a-companys-image.html

    A mere 16 percent of companies support full integration between CRM and other business systems, according to a recent survey by Scribe Software.

    The integration vendor annually conducts a State of Customer Data Integration survey. This year, it received 900-plus responses.

    If full integration strikes you as perhaps an over-ambitious goal, the findings are still troubling when you look at just general integration of CRM with any other business systems.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/crm-data-still-largely-a-silo-apart-from-other-biz-apps.html

    Friday, 11 October 2013 12:34

    Testing DR/BC: What’s the Point?

    All too often, organizations that do have Business Continuity Plans (BCP) in place rarely test them.  Those that do, go through a typical tabletop exercise.  Organizations that have Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) generally test them, but why?  I ask why because it has been my experience that the “tests” are an exercise in futility.  I say futility because they are tests to satisfy an audit that prove very little.

    It is kind of like high school in that class you had to take.  It was being audited by the state so the administration made certain to put it on display.  Funny thing was that everyone knew the answers to the questions because they had taken previous tests over the same topics many times. This is what a great majority of Disaster Recovery (DR) tests mimic.

    ...

    http://mdjohn.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/testing-drbc-whats-the-point/

    Friday, 11 October 2013 12:33

    How to Build the Immortal Data Center

    Network World — Orlando -- If your data center is reaching capacity and you're thinking about cracking open the corporate piggy bank to fund a new data center, stop right there.

    By following some simple best practices, you may be able to take your existing data center and retrofit it to last pretty much forever, says Gartner analyst David Cappuccio.

    "If you do it right, there's a good chance you could live in a fairly well designed data center for decades,'' Cappuccio says.

    So, how do you get there? First, you need to identify the goals of the infinite data center. It needs to be energy efficient. It needs to be economical to build. It needs to be able to adapt to new technologies. And it needs to be able to support continuous growth.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/741271/How_to_Build_the_Immortal_Data_Center

    Friday, 11 October 2013 12:32

    7 Top Wishes of IT Project Managers

    CIO — Ah, the joys of being a project manager. From being treated like a servant of management and not being included in key decisions, to having priorities, tasks and deadlines constantly changed on them -- and then being blamed for delays and slipups -- IT project managers have a lot to deal with.But what if project managers could change all that? What if a genie could grant IT project managers three (project-related) wishes? What would project managers wish for?

    CIO.com decided to find out -- and asked IT project managers, If you could have three project management-related wishes, what would they be? Here are the seven most-wished-for items.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/741249/7_Top_Wishes_of_IT_Project_Managers_

    Friday, 11 October 2013 12:31

    A Thorough Guide to IT Security Challenges

    For IT security professionals, the game is to always stay a step ahead of hackers, security standards and governing regulations. The best way to keep on top of everything is research—reading up on the latest threats, vulnerabilities, and secure hardware and software.

    The book “Information Security Management Handbook,” is one detailed source for all things IT security. The integral security topics covered in this book include:

    • Networking
    • Telecommunications
    • Cloud computing
    • Policies and standards
    • Application development
    • Architecture
    • Training

    It goes beyond typical security books and provides detailed practices for many areas for which IT provides security. The intro provides a look at threats and vulnerabilities that have cropped up since the last version of the book and that the publishers predict will pervade IT security for years to come:

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-tools/a-thorough-guide-to-it-security-challenges.html

    In my previous post about Lionbridge, I wrote about how its enterprise crowdsourcing division is challenging the traditional outsourced services model with “business process crowdsourcing” for the enterprise. This managed crowdsourcing strategy adds governance and high quality to the crowdsourcing approach to provide an alternative that Lionbridge says is in the range of 30 percent cheaper than what traditional business process outsourcers charge. So how does Lionbridge do it?

    According to Dori Albert, Lionbridge’s enterprise crowdsourcing practice manager, it starts with attracting qualified workers for the company’s private crowd. She explained that these workers are thoroughly screened and tested before they’re accepted into the crowd, and that they’re paid an “equitable wage.” I asked Albert if she could quantify what Lionbridge considers to be an equitable wage, and she said it depends on the task:

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/from-under-the-rug/how-to-make-crowdsourcing-work-for-the-enterprise-start-with-an-equitable-wage.html

    Thursday, 10 October 2013 17:46

    Technology Use by MSSPs - CHECK OUT OUR SURVEY

    Technology is essential in any managed security operations center. Technology has come a long way to create an active defense of the enterprise. There are vendors that offer solutions for log management, web application defense, firewall, incident event correlation, and many others. In order to understand the size of the security technology market Forrester and the MSP Alliance are partnering in a survey to look at the managed security functions and the technology MSSPs use to deliver their services. If you are an MSSP or an end-user of these technologies you can complete this survey at:

    FORRESTER - MSP ALLIANCE SURVEY

    For completing the survey you are automatically entered into a contest to win an I-Pad mini. Also for completing the survey you will receive a complimentary copy of the resulting research paper.

    Thursday, 10 October 2013 17:45

    Implementing BCM through complexity

    Thomas Puschnik
    Zurich Financial Services

    Leading a BCM framework in a complex and challenging operating environment is no easy task but one potential key to success is effective relationship management. There are at least two key components to achieving this.

    First is in terms of the BCM workforce. Having a team identity or common purpose, a set of agreed goals and clear roles and responsibilities all help to form the basis of a good team. Going from 'good' to 'great' requires a focus and commitment to building strong trusted relationships and recognising there will be setbacks along the way. This requires strong leadership and the will to take time out to listen and get to know team members and to understand their needs and concerns. This is especially true in regions where languages and cultures differ significantly.

    ...

    http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/implementing-bcm-through-complexity.html

    Privacy and compliance laws are significantly expanding, the need for transparency is increasing and how organizations use and share private information is evolving. All this means the role of  Chief Audit Officer (CAO) is an essential one in many corporate and healthcare organizations. A CAO has several key responsibilities, including conducting a thorough examination of an organization’s business operations, recommending operational efficiencies, ensuring compliance with privacy and security laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the various state breach notification laws. And if the organization operates globally, the governance mandate of the CAO grows exponentially as the organization must comply with regional and international privacy and compliance laws.

    Often it becomes the responsibility of the CAO to recommend ways the organization can improve operating efficiencies. As part of making such recommendations,  the officer needs to perform risk assessments, identifying areas where the organization may be vulnerable now or in the future.

    Being able to identify these vulnerabilities quickly and address them is one of several key attributes of an effective chief audit officer. Other key attributes include:

    ...

    http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/what-every-corporate-audit-officer-should-comply-with/

    Thursday, 10 October 2013 17:43

    How to Beat Storage Bottlenecks in a Flash

    CIO — It's difficult to identify and address application performance issues when they're tied to storage I/O bottlenecks, but a company that specializes in data analysis has found a way to eliminate those storage performance roadblocks - it hopes once and for all.

    Pete Koehler, the IT Manager and Virtualization Architect for Tecplot, says his company was looking for a storage acceleration option that didn't involve buying an entirely new array.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/741235/How_to_Beat_Storage_Bottlenecks_in_a_Flash

    Thursday, 10 October 2013 17:42

    How Not to Be a Victim of Your Own Data Centre

    Nowadays, IT plays a vital role in supporting business functions for many organisations. They depend on their data centres to keep their activities going and to come up with new ideas about how to improve them. However a report by research company IDC (International Data Corporation, 2012) suggests that both business operations and innovation may be compromised in the majority of cases (84 per cent). The issues are mainly data centre power, space, cooling capacity, assets and uptime. The consequences can be degradation in customer service, the need to reverse gears on a key application deployment or other impacts on business continuity.

    ...

    http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/how-not-to-be-a-victim-of-your-own-data-centre/

    It seems that most SMBs have or are considering adopting some sort of cloud computing technologies. Recent surveys, like this State of SMB IT Report from Spiceworks (registration required), have shown that 61 percent of SMBs are using cloud-based technologies in some form within their organizations. But how will this trend play out in coming years?

    A recent report from TechNavio forecasts SMB IT spending market for the next four years. The report indicates that global SMB spending in the IT arena has increased in the sector of cloud technologies. Though deploying cloud infrastructure, it says, is becoming increasingly expensive and could pose a threat to its future growth and adoption by SMBs.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/smb-tech/most-analysts-predict-smb-cloud-adoption-to-continue-skyward-growth.html

    Thursday, 10 October 2013 17:39

    Big Data, the Cloud and the Exascale Dilemma

    For enterprises looking to build their own private clouds, the rule of thumb is quickly becoming: Go big or go home.

    It’s been clear from the beginning that one of the chief advantages the cloud brings to enterprise data environments is scale. But even the most advanced cloud architecture in the world can only expand so far before it hits the limits of physical infrastructure. That’s why enterprises that have the resources, like General Motors, are doing their best to match the hyperscale infrastructure of Amazon, Google and other top providers. With a big enough physical footprint, they will be able to broaden scalability and flexibility without having to entrust critical data and applications to public resources.

    Naturally, building data infrastructure on a grand scale is not without its challenges. One of the chief obstacles is delivering adequate power to hyperscale, or even exascale, architectures – something the NSA has apparently discovered at its new Bluffdale, Utah, facility. To the joy of civil libertarians everywhere, the plant has been experiencing unexplained electrical surges that have fried components and caused mini explosions. The situation is so bad that insiders are reporting that the center is largely unusable, and even leading experts in the facilities and data fields are at a loss to explain what is going on.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/big-data-the-cloud-and-the-exascale-dilemma.html

    An earlier blog article by my colleague highlighted the importance of understanding the Causality Chain in effective Incident Management.  Underlying the Causality Chain is the knowledge of the interdependencies of organizational assets which enable the delivery of products and services.

    The same dependency mapping that enlightens the Causality Chain also produces information which, if used properly, can aid both Risk Management and Recovery Strategy planning.  That tool is commonly referred to as a “What-if?” Analysis.

    ...

    http://ebrp.net/what-if-analysis-bcm-plannings-hidden-tool/

    Thursday, 10 October 2013 17:37

    Lessons learned from a cloud evaporation

    Computerworld - Cloud capacity provider Nirvanix croaked recently, giving clients two weeks to get their data out of there. I estimate that most clients would require two months or more to accomplish this. Some need two years. There is physics involved, unfortunately. The "Beam My Data Up" feature turns out to be fictitious. Go figure.

    If you never contracted with Nirvanix, it's easy for you to think, "Well, serves them right for using a little startup. I would never do that!" Think again. IBM and HP resold Nirvanix. They put a lot of customers on that cloud.

    Fortunately for many Nirvanix customers, it may not be catastrophic if they can't get their data out. The cloud provider mostly handled fixed file content, and 99% of the data was non-transactional -- and not the only copy. It was mostly cold storage. Nonetheless, some customers are screwed. And all will suffer in one way or another.

    ...

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9243093/Lessons_learned_from_a_cloud_evaporation

    Wednesday, 09 October 2013 13:54

    The Top 10 IT Altering Predictions for 2014

    Gartner analysts today whipped out their always interesting and sometimes controversial look at what the consultancy thinks will impact the IT arena in the near future.

     
    By Michael Cooney

    Network World — Gartner analysts today whipped out their always interesting and sometimes controversial look at what the consultancy thinks will impact the IT arena in the near future.

    Some of the technology trends are not new The so-called Internet of Things and cloud computing for example, but there are some hot new areas A like 3D printing and Software Defined Networking that will be making an impact on IT sooner rather than later.

    These changes are due in no small part to the fact that by 2020, there will be up to 30 billion devices connected with unique IP addresses, most of which will be products. "This creates a new economy. Gartner predicts that the total economic value add for the Internet of Things will be $1.9 trillion dollars in 2020, benefiting and impacting a wide range of industries, such as healthcare, retail, and transportation."

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/741166/The_Top_10_IT_Altering_Predictions_for_2014

    Wednesday, 09 October 2013 13:53

    The return on investment of a BCM programme

    Rainer Hübert
    HiSolutions AG

    When will the investment for a BCM programme pay off? Most people think that the only correct answer is when a damage scenario has taken place. Hopefully then an effective BCM programme will reduce an otherwise much more costly, or even possibly fatal financial impact to a bearable amount. Then, and only then, will the investment in BCM be paid off – just like insurance policy.

    In our finance driven business world however, investment in BCM needs to be justified in financial terms, unless a BCM programme is forced upon an organization by its clients or by regulatory authorities.

    ...

    http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-return-on-investment-of-bcm.html

    Wednesday, 09 October 2013 13:52

    Downtime, data loss and natural disasters

    As the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches, a Carbonite survey has found that most small businesses in the affected area are not prepared for the next disaster.

    The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that more than 40 percent of small businesses in the tri-state area hit by Superstorm Sandy last October (NY, NJ, and CT) think it's likely they will be impacted by a natural disaster in the next year, and that only 22 percent feel they are ‘very prepared’.

    Downtime and data loss caused by natural disasters can be detrimental to any small business. On average, survey respondents said it would take 16 days to recreate or recover their files – and nearly a third said they would never be able to recover or recreate all of their important business data if it was lost.

    In addition to lost time, data loss can hit a small business where it hurts – their bank account. Carbonite found that on average, small businesses would lose $2,976 per day if they were unable to operate. This means the average small business could lose a devastating $47,616 over the 16 days it takes them to recover their data.

    ...

    http://www.continuitycentral.com/news06963.html

    HP has published the results from a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, indicating that the cost, frequency and time to resolve cyber-attacks continue to rise for the fourth consecutive year.

    Conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by HP Enterprise Security Products, the 2013 Cost of Cyber Crime Study found that the average annualized cost of cybercrime incurred by a benchmark sample of US organizations was $11.56 million, representing a 78 percent increase since the initial study was conducted four years ago.

    The results also revealed that the time it takes to resolve a cyber-attack has increased by nearly 130 percent during this same period, with the average cost incurred to resolve a single attack totalling more than $1 million.

    Key findings from the 2013 study include:

    ...

    http://www.continuitycentral.com/news06966.html

     

    I love it when technology people start to focus on a new area, because they always seem to offer a fresh view, even when the topic is well dissected. I think that’s one reason why tech is known for lowering costs in all industries, except one: health care.

    MIT Technology Review recently published an excellent package, “A Cure for Health-Care Costs.” At the heart of the articles is this question: Why is it that technology raises the costs of health care, rather than lowering it, and how can we change that?

    “Computers make things better and cheaper. In health care, new technology makes things better, but more expensive,” quips Jonathan Gruber, an economist at MIT who leads a heath-care group at the National Bureau of Economic Research, in one article.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/is-data-the-pivot-point-in-rising-health-care-cost-curve.html

    SDN benefits include automating and easing network administration duties and improving application performance. But it also introduces a number of potential threat vectors into your environment. What should you know before you invest in SDN?

     
    By David Geer

    CSO — Software defined networking (SDN) moves networking from hardware to the software plane, under management of a software controller. Benefits include automating and easing network administration duties and improving application performance. As a new technology, SDN is subject to vulnerabilities.

    But with SDN, the industry knows certain vulnerabilities are native to the approach. First, according to Chris Weber, Co-Founder, Casaba, centralizing control in an SDN controller removes protective, layered hardware boundaries such as firewalls. Second, according to Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald, by decoupling the control plane from the data plane, SDN introduces new surface areas such as the network controller, its protocols and APIs to attack.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/741132/SDN_The_Security_Pros_and_Cons_of_Using_it_in_Your_Organization

    Wednesday, 09 October 2013 13:41

    Cloud And Cloud Security – Get Rid Of The Box

    by Edward Ferrara

    Peter Kujawa CEO of Locknet, Steve Tallent from Fortinet, and I were speaking at the recent  Conference in San Jose, California about the cloud revolution. Steve was interested in the conversation because Fortinet is now offering virtualized versions of their Fortigate UTM solution. Peter was interested because his business is built on taking the pain away that platform management entails. Obviously security intersects both of these worlds.

    We discussed the changes cloud computing was making to the MSP/MSSP markets and the differences between the SMB and enterprise businesses and what motivates them to consider the cloud IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS model.

    Peter talked about one of his clients – a smaller client – that managed their business from a small server stashed in the closet of their offices. Peter’s company offered to replace the box with a cloud-based system that took over patching, updates, and maintenance for the system for a simple monthly fee. The client would access their applications via the Internet.  The risk to this business was huge for so many reasons. The customer leapt at the chance to get rid of the box.

    ...

    http://blogs.forrester.com/edward_ferrara/13-10-08-cloud_and_cloud_security_get_rid_of_the_box

    by Hilary Tuttle

    In an interview for this month’s issue of Risk Management magazine, lawyer and social media specialist Adam Cohen cautioned businesses that the risks of social networking sites extend beyond explosive posting faux pas.

    “In most cases, corporations don’t realize that what they put on these social media services is all subject to the privacy policies and terms and conditions of the services,” said the eDiscovery expert and author of Social Media: Legal Risk and Corporate Policy. “Those provide a shocking amount of access by the social media services where they may take your data.”

    As Twitter prepares for its much-anticipated IPO, the social media giant has released a torrent of information on its financial standing and practices. One of the most important tidbits for users concerns the site’s lesser-known side-business: data mining. In the first half of 2013, Twitter made $32 million by selling its data—namely, tweets—to other companies, a 53% increase from the year before.

    ...

    http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/twitters-data-mining-profits-show-lesser-known-social-media-risk/

    by Renee Murphy

    Outside of Tempe is a place called Sahuarita, Arizona. Sahuarita is the home of Air Force Silo #571-7 where a Titan missile, that was part of the US missile defense system and had a nine-megaton warhead that was at the ready for 25 years, should the United States need to retaliate against a Soviet nuclear attack.  This missile could create a fireball two miles wide, contaminate everything within 900 square miles, hit its target in 35 minutes, and nothing in the current US nuclear arsenal comes close to its power. What kept it secure for 25 years? You guessed it...four phones, two doors, a scrap of paper, and a lighter. 

    Photo Credit: Renee Murphy

    Technology has grown by leaps and bounds since the cold war. When these siloes went into service, a crew supplied by the Air Force manned them. These men and women were responsible for ensuring the security and availability of the missile. Because there was no voice recognition, retinal scanning, biometric readers, and hard or soft tokens, the controls that were in place were almost entirely physical controls. All of the technology that we think of as keeping our data and data centers secure hadn’t been developed yet. It is important to note that there was never a breach. Ever.

    ...

    http://blogs.forrester.com/renee_murphy/13-10-08-four_phones_two_doors_a_scrap_of_paper_and_a_lighter

    David Hawkins
    Institute for Collaborative Working

    Over the past three decades the sourcing programmes and supply chains have increased exponentially not simply in terms of commodities and products, but also in a wider variety of outsourcing and service propositions. These extended networks have now bridged the traditional boundaries between organisations and in doing so introduce a significant spectrum of risk to business continuity and reputation. At the same time the implications for both natural and manmade disasters highlights the interdependence of companies of all sizes and in all sectors. Reliance on these extended relationships to deliver business performance raises the prospect that resilience and business continuity is no longer simply an internal issue for companies and prompts consideration for a much greater awareness in the identification of risk, selection of suppliers and increased focus on collaborative working and the capability of third parties to jointly perform when necessary.

    ...

    http://thebceye.blogspot.com/2013/10/supply-chain-vulnerability-resilience.html

    Wednesday, 09 October 2013 13:10

    Lesson from a doctor

    According to an article in the San Antonio Express-News’ mySA site heded Poor penmanship costs doctor $380,000, “A local physician whose illegible handwriting led to the fatal overdose of an elderly patient was ordered by a civil court jury Thursday to pay $380,000 in damages to the woman's family.”

    While most Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and Business Continuity/COOP practitioners eschew the pen in favor of a keyboard, the point of the article, at least as this practitioner sees it, is the necessity to make certain the audience gets the correct message.

    It is not the audience’s job to try to interpret the practitioner’s words; it is the practitioner’s job to communicate to the audience in a manner the audience comprehends.

    By the way, the operative word is “comprehend,” not “education” or “position.” Neither necessarily equates to comprehension of a specific subject.

    According to the San Antonio paper, the doctor “changed his mind about the dosage, intending to increase it (from 10) to 20 millamoles(NB), testimony during the weeklong trial indicated.

    “However, instead of scratching out the original amount on the form or starting over, he attempted to write a “2” over the “1,” the doctor acknowledged.

    ...

    http://johnglennmbci.blogspot.com/2013/10/erm-bc-coop-lesson-from-doctor.html

    Tuesday, 08 October 2013 15:58

    Dell Creates Virtual Storage Blend

    When it comes to data storage, the less IT organizations have to think about it the happier they are. That’s the guiding principle behind a hybrid approach to data storage that spans magnetic disks and multiple types of solid-state drives (SSDs) that is being pursued by Dell.

    To bolster that strategy, Dell today announced that is offering a Flash optimized storage system that is priced less than 15K magnetic disk systems. In addition, Dell has developed a 5U rack capable of holding 336TB of magnetic disk storage.

    According to Bob Fine, senior product marketing manager for Dell Storage, these two announcements highlight an effort by Dell to bring Flash storage to IT organizations at a cost they can afford, while making management of that storage seamless. To achieve the latter goal, when data is first stored on a Dell Compellent system, it is automatically deposited on an SSD based on multi-level cell (MLC) technology that is optimized for enterprise applications. As usage of the data declines, the data is then automatically moved to less expensive single level cell (SLC) SSDs. If it’s not used for an additional period of time, the Dell Compellent array will automatically move that data to magnetic storage.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/dell-creates-virtual-storage-blend.html

    Tuesday, 08 October 2013 15:55

    Maintaining Some Professional Distance

    Do you know your coworkers’ hometowns? Their favorite colors? Their current level in Farmville? If you answered “yes” to all three questions, there may be a very serious management concern here. More and more studies show that rather than creating tighter bonds, the intensifying drumbeat of social media is actually driving us further and further apart.

    A University of Birmingham (UK) researcher has gone so far as to suggest (in an extensive study) that the image-happy individuals among us actually harm personal and professional relationships with each new image they post (see “Tagger’s Delight? Disclosure and Liking in Facebook: The Effects of Sharing Photographs Amongst Multiple Known Social Circles“). And it’s not just that we’re getting to the point of annoyance with those who overpost. A University of Michigan study posits that the more time we spend in social media, the more depressed about our relationships we become (see “Social Relationships and Depression: Ten-Year Follow-Up from a Nationally Representative Study“).

    ...

    http://blog.cutter.com/2013/10/08/maintaining-some-professional-distance/

    Since the financial collapse of 2008, new banking regulations have been put into place to prevent a similar crisis from reoccurring.  With these new regulations, banks are re-evaluating the way they enforce governance, risk and compliance (GRC) processes.  The purpose of GRC is to help these institutions identify and protect against unknown risks, monitor practices more closely and improve their overall operations.

    While an effective GRC strategy benefits the financial institution by helping saving both time and money, the challenges associated with implementing GRC can often seem overwhelming.  GRC entails changing the processes an organization is accustomed to, and as we all know, change is not easy to embrace.  As such, GRC implementation can present challenges, such as adapting the new processes and re-training the employees to do the same, leading to a new learning curve for the entire organization.  As a first step, it is important for banks to fully understand the new regulations and their impact before changing their processes. Incorrect interpretations of these new regulations can lead to confusion and even reputational damage in some instances.

    ...

    http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/avoiding-challenges-with-governance-risk-and-compliance/

    Tuesday, 08 October 2013 15:53

    Reputation becomes the top strategic risk

    Company reputation and the fallout from reputational damage are the highest priority strategic risk for large companies, according to the results of a global survey report by Deloitte.

    Reputational risk was ranked third among strategic risk concerns three years ago, according to companies surveyed. Also back in 2010, brand and economic trends were identified by senior executives as the key strategic risks, though both have fallen since. In some industry sectors, reputation has risen from outside the top five strategic risk concerns to the top of the list. In the energy and resources sector, for example, reputation ranked only 11th on the list of strategic risks in 2010, though three years later has risen to the top spot.

    The rise of reputation risk as the key strategic risk is mirrored by executives listing social media, which has transformed reputation management as the biggest technology disrupter and threat to their business model. Nearly 50 percent listed this above other technologies such as analytics, mobile applications, and cyber-attacks.

    “The rise of reputation as the prime strategic risk is a natural reaction to recent high profile reputational crises, as well as the speed of digital and social media and the potential loss of control that accompanies it,” explained Henry Ristuccia, Deloitte Global Leader, Governance, Risk and Compliance. “The time it takes for damaging news to spread is quicker, it goes to a wider audience more easily, and the record of it is stored digitally for longer. Even in an environment where economic conditions remain tough and technology threatens business models, this is why companies place reputation at the top of their strategic risk agenda.”

    ...

    http://www.continuitycentral.com/news06961.html

    IDG News Service (Miami Bureau) — A majority of CEOs are failing to steer their companies towards effective use of new computer technologies, which precludes their organizations from making major business improvements.

    That's the conclusion of a new study released Tuesday by the MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting titled "Embracing Digital Technology: A New Strategic Imperative."

    The study was based on a survey of more than 1,500 executives and managers worldwide and its authors sought to examine the concept of "digital transformation," which they define as the use of new digital technologies to trigger significant improvements.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/741113/Most_CEOs_Lack_Vision_Leadership_on_New_Computer_Tech

    The big selling point about virtualisation, at least in disaster recovery terms, is the power it gives to handle single points of IT failure. The idea is to distribute applications the right way over a number of servers; then if one physical machine crashes, another one should be available to ensure that applications can continue to run.  However, if virtualisation is simply bolted on in the hopes that this alone will protect an IT installation, then you may be in line for a rude awakening. Virtualisation needs to be deliberately integrated into an overall DR plan.

    ...

    http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/making-virtualisation-in-it-an-advantage-not-a-risk/

    A Wall Street Journal article on its Corporate Intelligence page titled A Note to Firefighters: How Not to Extinguish a Flaming Tesla showed a photo of a crumpled Tesla with flames coming from beneath the vehicle followed by the following text:

    “In trying to put out that stock-market fire (caused by the accident and fire), Tesla founder Elon Musk has let real-world firefighters know that standard operating procedures aren’t going to work when dealing with a flaming electric luxury sedan. From Musk’s blog post on the incident.”

    According to the blog, “When the fire department arrived, they observed standard procedure, which was to gain access to the source of the fire by puncturing holes in the top of the battery's protective metal plate and applying water. For the Model S lithium-ion battery, it was correct to apply water (vs. dry chemical extinguisher), but not to puncture the metal firewall, as the newly created holes allowed the flames to then vent upwards into the front trunk section of the Model S. Nonetheless, a combination of water followed by dry chemical extinguisher quickly brought the fire to an end.”

    ...

    http://johnglennmbci.blogspot.com/2013/10/erm-bc-coop-it-pays-to-invite-emergency_7.html

    Computerworld — Any IT leader in the mood to complain about excessive regulation should first have a cocktail with Murat Mendi of Nobel Ilac, an Istanbul-based manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals.

    Mendi, formerly CIO and now general manager of the company, which operates in 25 countries around the world, can talk about the time an overzealous bulldozer operator started excavating the foundation for a new structure next to his company's building without bothering to first confirm what might have been underground. It tore through Nobel's Internet cables, leaving hundreds of employees offline all day.

    Arguably, something like that could happen in Indianapolis too, but there would still be key differences: In Turkey, there aren't many rules or regulations regarding the protocol that should be followed before excavation begins and there are few options for restitution if something goes wrong. "That's part of the culture here," Mendi says. "If something happens, they'll say, 'Oops, sorry,' and move on."

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/741066/IT_Leaders_Who_Literally_Keep_the_Lights_on

    Tuesday, 08 October 2013 15:47

    WANT TO HELP DISASTER SURVIVORS?

    DENVER – Volunteers who want to help the Colorado flood recovery efforts are being asked to look carefully before they leap.  Do not just show up in disaster areas hoping to help out; go first to www.HelpColoradoNow.org.

    The Colorado Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge agencies and individuals to use this website to register what they have to donate and how many volunteers they can provide.

    “Our goal is to coordinate and organize the many volunteer groups that are critical to helping their own communities come through a disaster,” said Robyn Knappe, Human Services Branch director for the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “When un-authorized or un-registered volunteers just show up at a location, it often interrupts the organized flow and pre-planned assistance.”

    Knappe explained that the Colorado Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), FEMA Corps, and authorized volunteer organizations look at these on-line offers and pull what’s needed now from this database to help those affected by the flooding. “This lets us grab from the website and deliver goods or volunteers to the folks that need it most,” she said. 

    Jennifer Poitras, the state’s Volunteer Coordinator Lead, said, “This was a huge disaster. There will be a need for donations and volunteers to work for many weeks, months and even years to help those hit hardest recover. Just don’t get discouraged if you don’t get an immediate reply about your donation,” she added. “This website registration is critical to helping us maintain a coordinated response for a long time to come.”

    Knappe added that many new charities have registered with the authorized Colorado VOAD group lately, “often bringing their national affiliations to help. Citizens and volunteers have been extremely generous—an unprecedented response from citizens and groups statewide.”

    As of mid-September, approximately 52 national and state VOADs had been a part of Colorado’s disaster response and recovery operations. In that time, just five of these agencies reported nearly 100,000 volunteer hours valued at more than $2 million.  “It’s been a massive response from our existing volunteer agencies,” Knappe said.  “And new charities joining the authorized VOAD network have made a huge difference in our outreach efforts.

    http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/07/want-help-disaster-survivors

    By Eric Thomas

    Employees that expect federal paychecks, veterans that need benefits, impoverished families that rely on government programs, and federal CIOs that are mandated to meet the IT demands of a diverse stakeholder community are all adversely affected by the U.S. government shutdown.

    Of course, federal CIOs do not engender the most sympathy from the public or garner the most press coverage when it comes to the government shuttering many services. In fact, they might not receive any public sympathy and I have yet to see any mention of the plight of federal CIOs on CNN. But that is all the more reason they, and their staff, must be aptly prepared. The following is a list of seven things each federal CIO should understand about the government shutdown. Of course, many of these items are applicable to any CIO or IT leader who has to deal with business continuity, disaster recovery and other unexpected crisis situations.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/articles/what-cios-can-learn-from-u.s.-government-shutdown.html

    As I set out to write my column this month, I popped over to the NIST website to check some facts. The National Institute of Standards and Technology publishes security standards and guidelines for the U.S. government in its "800 series," and they are generally useful in the private sector as well. I visit the NIST website occasionally to check the facts on topics ranging from encryption algorithm lifespans to risk assessment methodology. But this week, the NIST website has been taken down due to the U.S. government shutdown.

    The NIST website is displaying a maintenance page saying, "Due to a lapse in government funding, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is closed and most NIST and affiliated web sites are unavailable until further notice. We sincerely regret the inconvenience." I hope they do, because a lot of professionals rely on information provided by government agencies.

    This is a somewhat jarring experience. I hadn't realized the government affected my daily life in any meaningful way, but now that the documents I'm looking for are not available to me, I'm starting to wonder what preparations I should have made to account for this situation. In fact, I'm thinking like a business continuity planner.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com.au/article/528393/security_manager_journal_why_shutdown_like_cloud

    Risk groups produce tons of pertinent information that can be used by portfolio managers to generate superior returns, says a recent report from Woodbine Associates.  Yet, because risk management is often viewed purely for control or regulatory purposes, a lot of great information that is produced is simply overlooked and wasted.

    Risk management groups that calculate VaR for regulatory and/or control purposes also produce a host of timely information that could benefit groups charged with investment return generation, writes Jerry Waldron, director of risk and portfolio analytics at Woodbine. “But in firms that treat risk management as a control function, this information is walled off from the investment process.  The result is missed opportunities – day after day after day.”

    The risk management function aimed at regulation misses the upside opportunity in its focus on potential loss, he added.

    ...

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomgroenfeldt/2013/10/07/regulatory-only-risk-management-misses-profit-opportunities/

    My last post opened the topic of cyber security for small business owners – what to worry about and when?  This post is going to focus upon Spear Phishing.   I asked for the help of one of our information security specialists, Scott “Shagghie” Scheferman to help with the technical details for this post. Spear phishing differs and is more serious than a simple phishing attach in that it is targeted either at a group, or worse, at the recipient specifically. Spear Phishing is an attack typically carried out via a targeted email sent with either a malicious attachment or with a link to a malicious website.  Most of our readers also know this is a bad thing, and that one shouldn’t click on links in emails sent from people the reader don’t know or trust.  A targeted and elegant spear phishing attack, however, is designed to bypass all of the conditioned barriers a typical user has to the “noise” on the Internet.

    To truly protect yourself from spear phishing attacks, it is critical to understand what happens both before and after the nasty email in your inbox got there, and what happens when someone in your organization falls prey.  Having better insight into the attack from cradle to grave is itself a part of defending your organization.

    ...

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericbasu/2013/10/07/spear-phishing-101-who-is-sending-you-those-scam-emails-and-why

    NASA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are collaborating on a first-of-its-kind portable radar device to detect the heartbeats and breathing patterns of victims trapped in large piles of rubble resulting from a disaster.

    The prototype technology, called Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) can locate individuals buried as deep as 30 feet (about 9 meters) in crushed materials, hidden behind 20 feet (about 6 meters) of solid concrete, and from a distance of 100 feet (about 30 meters) in open spaces.

    Developed in conjunction with Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, FINDER is based on remote-sensing radar technology developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., to monitor the location of spacecraft JPL manages for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

    ...

    http://www.photonicsonline.com/doc/nasa-homeland-security-test-disaster-recovery-tool-0001

    The latest research suggests that the Pacific Northwest may get slammed by a giant, coastal earthquake of magnitude 8 to 9 every 250 years on average — and it's been 313 years since the last one. Earthquakes may be unpredictable — but they are also inevitable. Here are some tips to help you get ready before the next one hits. Read the story for more.

    By Kelly Shea

    The Seattle Times

     

    Create a family emergency plan

    • Hold a home evacuation drill.
    • Choose a nearby meeting place.
    • Have a plan for reuniting.
    • Anticipate transportation failures.
    • Designate an out-of-state relative to be a check-in contact for everyone.
    • Mobile apps, like the Red Cross’ earthquake app, can allow family members to communicate.
    • Keep photos of family members and pets in your wallet, in case they turn up missing.
    • Text messages often go through when phone service is down.

    ...

    http://seattletimes.com/html/localpages/2021941030_earthquakegraphic.html

    You know the adage. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, triggering a chain of events that leads to much greater debacles. For want of a nail, ultimately, the kingdom was lost.

    182951248SP003_MARKETS_REAC

    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on October 1, 2013 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    That’s a great lesson in leverage—how the removal of one small, seemingly insignificant item can trigger much larger consequences. It’s also a great metaphor for the way in which the government shutdown is affecting the economy.

    Fox News may tell its audience that the shutdown is in fact a “slimdown.” Talking points may hold that the only federal employees furloughed are nonessential—useless, unproductive bureaucrats—so the effect on the private sector will be minimal. If you see the private sector as something that operates largely independent of government—a bunch of heroic entrepreneurs running around and getting things done as bureaucrats, politicians, and regulators try to hold them down—this view makes complete sense.

    ...

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/04/government-shuts-down-and-private-sector-feels-the-pain-too.html

    Monday, 07 October 2013 15:37

    Promiscuous Authentication

    A growing number of customers use a single NetScaler Gateway virtual server to access XenApp/XenDesktop/XenMobile delivery controllers residing in multiple domains in the corporate network. One of the reasons might be that StoreFront, different to Web Interface, requires domain membership – so when you use Single Sign-On with NetScaler Gateway you need to know to which StoreFront cluster to direct users after a successful authentication at NetScaler.

    While the NetScaler 10.1 allows group extraction to map authentication to session policies (see https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/downloads/netscaler-adc/Citrix%20NetScaler%2010.1%20Release%20notes.pdf), currently there are two ways to use multiple authentication policies with a single NetScaler Gateway vServer.

    ...

    http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/10/05/promiscuous-authentication

    Heavy Rains and Flooding Possible in Some Areas

    WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its national response coordination center in Washington, D.C. and its regional offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas remains in close coordination with states potentially affected by Tropical Storm Karen.  According to the National Weather Service, tropical storm conditions are expected along areas of the Gulf Coast as early as this afternoon and into Sunday.

    “Residents along the Gulf Coast are encouraged to continue to monitor local conditions and follow the direction of local officials,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  “As the storm continues to move toward land, residents may begin to experience strong winds and flooding. Remember that conditions can change with little or no notice.”

    Based on applicable legal requirements and consistent with its contingency plan, FEMA has recalled currently furloughed employees necessary to serve functions of the agency that protect life and property as they prepare for potential landfall of Tropical Storm Karen.

    FEMA has recalled staff necessary to deploy four incident management assistance teams (IMAT), including a national incident management assistance team (IMAT), to potentially affected states. Each IMAT is supported by its defense coordinating element staffed by the Department of Defense.  Liaison officers are currently positioned in emergency operations centers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi to assist with the coordination of planning and response operations. Additional teams are on standby and available for deployment as needed and requested.

    FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate spoke with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Florida Governor Rick Scott, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant this week about ongoing efforts to prepare for Tropical Storm Karen. Fugate reiterated that Gulf Coast states have the full support of FEMA and the rest of the federal family in advance of the storm making landfall. Fugate’s calls were preceded by outreach from FEMA’s Regional Administrators to emergency management officials in potentially impacted states.

    According to the National Weather Service, a tropical storm warning remains in effect from Morgan City, La. to the mouth of the Pearl River. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.  Also, a tropical storm watch remains in effect for metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain and from east of the mouth of the Pearl River to Indian Pass, Fla. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible, generally within 48 hours.

    Severe Weather Safety and Preparedness Tips for Potentially-affected Gulf Coast areas:

    • Have important supplies ready to sustain you and your family, if needed. This includes water, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, cell phone charger, medicines, non-perishable food, and first aid supplies.
    • History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly, so FEMA encourages coastal residents to monitor weather conditions and take steps now to get prepared for potential severe tropical weather.  
    • Tropical storms can bring high winds and heavy rains, so listen to local officials and follow their instructions.

    FEMA, through its regional offices in Chicago, Ill and Kansas City, Mo., also is monitoring the storms affecting and potentially affecting areas of the Central U.S., including portions of Iowa and Nebraska, and has been in touch with state and local officials. FEMA deployed a liaison to the emergency operations center in Nebraska and activated an incident management assistance team (IMAT), positioning the team for immediate deployment should assistance be requested by the states affected.  FEMA continues to stand ready to support the states, as requested.   

    For more information on preparing for hurricanes, severe weather and other natural disasters, and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, visit www.Ready.gov or www.listo.gov. Information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster can also be found at m.fema.gov or by downloading the FEMA app from your smartphone’s app store.

    Follow FEMA online at blog.fema.gov, 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.

     

    http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/05/fema-urges-residents-continue-monitoring-conditions-tropical-storm

    CIO — Why are pirates called "pirates"? Because they just aaaargh! (OK, my niece told me that one, and it's better when she tells it.) This is a cheesy way for me to say that pirates are a good metaphor for BYOD, because confidential data theft is public enemy number 1 for CIOs setting sail for BYOD.

    In fact, in many of my stories I've described CIOs as navigating BYOD's troubled waters or making a journey to an undiscovered country with dangers lurking at every turn. Truth be told, BYOD is risky business. Here's a slideshow that shows you what I mean: 12 BYOD Disaster Scenarios.

    In July, TEKsystems seemed to agree and created a video called "Navigating Through BYOD: Bring Your Own Device." It touches on a lot of the complex issues CIOs face when implementing a BYOD program, but does so in a very simple way. You're aboard a cartoonish Old World sailing ship embarking on a journey of exploration, one wrought with dangers.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/740979/How_CIOs_Can_Navigate_Treacherous_BYOD_Waters

    IDG News Service (Washington, D.C., Bureau) — As a tropical storm and possible hurricane bears down on the Gulf Coast of the U.S., the National Weather Service's website was churning out weather alerts Friday, despite a partial U.S. government shutdown that has affected citizens' access to other online resources.

    The National Weather Service's website, Weather.gov, was one officials deemed as essential after a budget fight in Congress led to a partial government shutdown Tuesday. The website for weather service parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, displayed a notice saying it was unavailable during the shutdown.

    "Only web sites necessary to protect lives and property will be maintained," said a message at NOAA.gov.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/740977/Shutdown_Affects_Government_Sites_but_Weather.gov_Remains_Up_As_Storm_Looms

    WASHINGTON – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate today completed calls with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Florida Governor Rick Scott, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant about ongoing efforts to prepare for Tropical Storm Karen.

    Fugate reiterated that Gulf Coast states have the full support of FEMA and the rest of the federal family in advance of the storm making landfall. The governors did not express any unmet needs at this time. Fugate’s calls were preceded by outreach from FEMA’s Regional Administrators to emergency management officials in potentially impacted states.

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

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

    http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/10/04/readout-fema-administrator-fugates-calls-gulf-coast-state-governors-tropical

    Prompting readers at The Wall Street Journal to comment that he may be making the situation more precarious, Steven VanRoekel, U.S. CIO, said this week that he is worried about the U.S. federal government shutdown’s effect on cyber security within the government’s systems. VanRoekel describes a multi-layered series of consequences, in which he is unable to even determine definitively which employees in which departments may be designated exempt from furlough. Agencies, other than the Department of Homeland Security, says VanRoekel, are running on “skeleton crews” and would have to call in staff should an emergency occur – a time-consuming process in itself.

    While it seems unlikely that his comments would alert any cyber terrorists or hackers to a situation that has been leading the news for weeks, the cascading effects are becoming more widely known.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/governance-and-risk/u.s.-cio-sounds-alarm-on-government-shutdown-security-threat.html

    Monday, 07 October 2013 15:32

    Data Quality for the Rest of Us

    By now, most of us are familiar with data quality “best practices.” Involve the business user. Correct the source. Establish data governance.

    It sounds great—but it often falls flat in the real world. Why?

    It’s too difficult, states Lyndsay Wise, president and founder of the independent research and analysis BI firm, WiseAnalytics.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/data-quality-for-the-rest-of-us.html

    Monday, 07 October 2013 15:30

    Climate Change Report Causes Alarm

    by Caroline McDonald

    New findings on climate change, establishing it as a manmade phenomenon, are garnering attention from the insurance industry, which recommends immediate action.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) newest report  ”clarifies what businesses and investors already know, that climate change is happening now and human activity is the dominant reason why,” Mindy Lubber, president of CERES, a nonprofit organization that works with insurers and investors said recently on a conference call. “Climate change is disrupting all aspects of our global economy, including supply chains, commodity markets and the entire insurance industry, which is seeing exponentially large losses from extreme weather events.”

    ...

    http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/climate-change-report-causes-alarm

    Posted by: Lars Anderson, Director, Public Affairs


    nrcc staff work at desks
    Caption: October 4, 2013 - Staff work in FEMA's National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. in response to Tropical Storm Karen.

    FEMA is preparing and coordinating with our partners for Tropical Storm Karen and the severe weather threat for the Central U.S. We’re encouraging those in the Gulf Coast and Central U.S. states to take time to make sure they’re getting prepared.  Here are some steps you can take today to prepare for any severe weather threat, including tropical storms, damaging winds, and severe thunderstorms:

    • Finish reviewing your family’s emergency plan (include your kids, too).  Plan for scenarios such as how you’d stay in touch during a storm, where you could meet up in the event of an emergency, and who your out of town contact is, should communications become difficult in the impacted areas.
    • Check on your family’s emergency supplies.  Basic supplies include:
      • battery-powered radio
      • flashlight
      • extra batteries
      • cell phone charger
      • medicines
      • non-perishable food
      • first aid supplies.

        red cross emergency kit photo

    • Stay up-to-date with the latest forecast in your area by monitoring local radio and TV reports. It’s also important to note that local officials may send out Wireless Emergency Alerts to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats like severe weather. If you receive an alert like the one below, please follow the instructions in the message.

      emergency alert photo

      During all phases of a storm, continue to listen and follow the instructions of local officials. If Tropical Storm Karen brings significant rainfall to your area, follow local safety instructions and stay away from flooded roads – remember, Turn Around Don’t Drown. Follow ongoing updates from trusted emergency management accounts on social media, visit our Social Hub on your mobile device and computer

    • Download the FEMA app.  It’s packed with tips on how to stay safe before, during, and after a tropical storm.  You can also use it to track what’s in your family’s emergency supply kit, as well as store your family’s emergency meeting locations.

      google play store

      apple app store logo

      blackberry app world

    Finally, here is an update on what FEMA is doing to prepare for the impacts of Tropical Storm Karen:
    • Today, FEMA activated the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., a multi-agency coordination center that provides overall coordination of the federal response to natural disasters and emergencies, to support state requests for assistance from Gulf Coast and Southern states.  Regional response coordination centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Denton, Texas are also activated.
    • FEMA has begun to recall currently-furloughed employees necessary to serve functions of the agency that protect life and property as they prepare for potential landfall of Tropical Storm Karen, and for severe weather in the central U.S. based on applicable legal requirements and consistent with its contingency plan.
    • FEMA Regional Administrators for Regions IV and VI have been in touch with emergency management partners in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

      weather service official on phone
      Caption: October 4, 2013 - An official at the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee, FL speaks with emergency management partners. (Courtesy of @NWSTallahassee on Twitter)
       

    • FEMA has recalled and deployed liaisons to emergency operations centers in each of these states to coordinate with local officials, should support be requested, or needed.
    • Today, three FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT), recalled from furlough, are deploying to the potentially impacted areas to assist with the coordination of planning and response operations.
    We’ll continue to provide updates as needed.

    http://blog.fema.gov/2013/10/preparing-for-tropical-storm-karen-and.html

    The cloud has proven itself to be an effective, efficient means to scale resources as the enterprise tries to cope with rising data loads and increasingly complex infrastructure challenges. But is it ready for prime time? Are we at a tipping point for the widespread migration of mission-critical applications to public cloud services?

    This is more than just an academic question given that many organizations have spent decades building rock-solid safety and availability into traditional infrastructure in order to keep core business activities afloat. Turning those responsibilities over to the cloud is not just a standard development in the evolution of data environments but a giant leap of faith that places crucial aspects of your business on still largely unproven infrastructure.

    Vendor-driven surveys should always be taken with a grain of salt, but if the latest report from Virtustream is even half-right, it seems many top data executives are ready to make that leap. The company reports that nearly 70 percent of respondents to a recent survey say they are planning to move mission-critical apps to the cloud within the next year. Although security, risk and loss of control still rank among the top concerns, the low cost of the cloud compared to traditional infrastructure is causing many organizations to put their fears aside. ERP applications have emerged as the leading candidates for groups looking to expand beyond mere cloud-based storage and backup.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/should-mission-critical-apps-be-moved-to-the-cloud.html

    Company reputation and the fallout from reputational damage are the No. 1 strategic risk for large companies, according to a global survey released this week by Deloitte.  Overall, progress on strategic risk management is evident, though most executives admit that their programs do not support their business strategy well enough.

    Reputational risk was ranked third among strategic risk concerns three years ago, according to companies surveyed.  Also back in 2010, brand and economic trends were identified by senior executives as the key strategic risks, though both have fallen since. In some industry sectors, reputation has risen from outside the top five strategic risk concerns to the top of the list.  In the energy and resources sector, for example, reputation ranked only 11th on the list of strategic risks in 2010, though three years later has risen to the top spot.

    ...

    http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/news/survey-companyreputation-surpasses-economic-and-business-model-concerns-as-top-strategic-risk-deloitte

    Computerworld — The U.S. government shutdown has taken some government Web sites offline, including data.gov. But the nation's most powerful supercomputers continue to operate -- for now, at least.

    Government supercomputers are running on reserve funds from last year, a U.S. Department of Energy spokesperson said. How long can these systems continue to do so? "That fact is unknown at this point in time," the spokesman said.

    The Energy Department's national laboratories run petascale supercomputers used in scientific research.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/741046/U.S._Supercomputers_Haven_t_Been_Affected_By_Gov_t_Shutdown_Yet

    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.

    ...

    http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1111.html

    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.

    ...

    http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/the-limitations-of-traditional-risk-assessments

    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.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/740915/CIOs_in_the_Public_Sector_Face_Roadblocks_to_Data_Center_Consolidation

    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?

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/risk-management-is-vital-to-a-successful-byod-policy.html

    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.

    ...

    http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/shining-a-light-on-dark-data/

    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.

    ...

    http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1110.html

    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).

    ...

    http://www.continuitycentral.com/news06954.html

    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.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/740882/Don_t_Live_in_Fear_of_Your_Cloud_Storage_Provider_Going_Under

    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?

    ...

    http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/keeping-organisational-policies-up-to-date-in-business-continuity-management/

    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.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/smb-tech/smbs-identify-challenges-to-virtualized-data-protection.html

    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.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/740818/How_to_Close_the_Big_Data_Skills_Gap_by_Training_Your_IT_Staff

    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.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/trying-to-predict-big-datas-next-steps-to-success.html

    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.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/unfiltered-opinion/the-strategic-future-of-corporate-communications.html

    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.”

    ...

    http://johnglennmbci.blogspot.com/2013/10/erm-bc-coop-americans-working-overseas.html

    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:

    ...

    http://blogs.forrester.com/renee_murphy/13-10-01-scenario_modeling_is_anything_but_a_guess

    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.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/740722/5_Ways_to_Disaster_Proof_Your_Data_Backups

    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.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/recalculating-the-big-storage-equation.html

    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.

    ...

    http://ww2.crisisblogger.com/2013/10/how-long-will-it-take-to-get-over-the-press-release-thing/

    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.”

    ...

    http://johnglennmbci.blogspot.com/2013/10/erm-bc-coop-it-pays-to-invite-emergency.html

    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.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/740734/ERP_Systems_Provide_Visibility_Into_Food_Safety_

    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.

    ...

    http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/encryption-alone-wont-ensure-business-continuity-and-heres-why/

    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:

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/study-shows-business-professionals-dont-worry-enough-about-cloud-security.html

    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.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/740602/4_Ways_CIOs_Can_to_Respond_to_a_Service_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.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/keep-upgrading-your-data-center-no-matter-where-the-cloud-takes-you.html

    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.

     

    http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/09/30/one-year-later-fema-partners-emphasize-education-and-outreach

    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.

     

    http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/09/23/kansas-state-university-pilots-readycampus-september-30-campus-wide-event

     

    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.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/in-cloud-infrastructure-its-open-vs.-proprietary-all-over-again.html

     

    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.

    http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/09/26/one-year-later-housing-mission-provides-more-shelter-sandy-survivors

     

    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."

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/740479/10_Steps_to_Ensure_Your_IT_Outsourcing_Deal_Fails

    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!

    http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2013/09/do-1-thing-be-informed/

    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.

     

    http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/09/25/4122-three-months-after-disaster-declaration-alaskas-flooded-communities-ready

    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:

    ...

    http://drbenchmark.org/highly-regulated-companies-no-better-prepared-for-disaster-recovery/

    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.

    ...

    http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/colorado-flood-damage-estimated-at-over-2-billion

    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.

    ...

    http://blog.cutter.com/2013/09/24/sociocultural-aspects-of-software-projects

    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?)

    ...

    http://blogs.forrester.com/renee_murphy/13-09-23-nasa_flunked_its_cloud_computing_audit_are_you_next

    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.

    ...

    http://blogs.forrester.com/renee_murphy/13-09-19-are_you_in_a_decision_trap_you_decide

    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).

    ...

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9242513/How_to_Overcome_Small_Business_Data_Recovery_Challenges

    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. ”


    http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2013/09/hospital-preparedness-and-the-boston-marathon-bombing/

    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.

    ...

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/18/tape_and_the_business_of_disaster_recovery/

    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).

    ...

    http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/points-of-intersection-between-risk-assessment-and-program-assessment

    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.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/739940/Look_at_Risk_Before_Leaping_Into_BYOD_Report_Cautions

    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.

    ...

    http://www.opscentre.com.au/blog/five-strategies-to-prevent-a-distributed-denial-of-service-ddos-attack/

    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?”

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/integration/blending-data-helps-gain-big-data-business-insights-in-a-structured-it-world.html

    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.

    ...

    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/does-the-private-cloud-have-a-real-future.html

    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.”

    HOW TO HELP:

    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.

     

    http://newsroom.redcross.org/2013/09/17/story-when-i-close-my-eyes-i-hear-water/

    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.

    ...

    http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/california-town-must-improve-risk-management-or-lose-insurance-coverage

    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.

    ...

    http://www.cio.com/article/739897/7_Biggest_IT_Compliance_Headaches_and_How_CIOs_Can_Cure_Them