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Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:00

Bad Data Costing Companies A Fortune

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

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 Using out of date data is like filling a competitive egg eater’s bowl up 70% with rotten eggs - while they might look right, if they don’t stay down then the outcome isn’t going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



Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:00

IT Risk Management and Technical Debt

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



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

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



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

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

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



FEMA and FCC Issue Reminder and Key Points about Test

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:00

Data Center Stocks are Hot Internationally

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

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



Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:00

Get Ready for the Talking Data Center

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

CDC: How to Be Smart (About Preparedness)

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Blog Administrator

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

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

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

Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.

Read our other National Preparedness Month blogs:

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

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