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Volume 29, Issue 4

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Industry Hot News

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In life and in business, you are generally more successful when you have friends. You are able to share the load, bounce ideas off each other, and have each others’ backs, if you will. The goal is that the sum of the parts is greater than indicated by the math.

Companies that are trying to address large problems will find it lonely if they don’t surround themselves with an ecosystem, the technology equivalent of friends, to fill in the gaps.

The idea of an ecosystem isn’t new – it’s a core reason most industries exist. Ecosystems in the technology space succeed for some of the same reasons most of us tend to have a higher score when we play “best ball” in golf, compared to playing solo. For example, there may be a woman who can drive the ball down the fairway, another guy that chips it onto the green, another guy who is a whiz with the putter, and then there’s me – the designated golf cart driver. In tech, when vendors, partners, customers, and thought leaders collaborate, they can set higher standards for innovation and push the limits with the solutions they create.



Iron Mountain, the company known for its underground caverns that house everything from classified government documents and Hollywood movie reels to data centers, is expanding into Northern Virginia, the largest and most active data center market in the US.

The company recently kicked off construction of a 150,000-square foot data center in Manassas, which it expects to be the first of at least four buildings on a future 83-acre, 60MW data center campus, according to a news release. The facility is slated to come online in August 2017.

It first announced plans to build a data center campus in the region in March.



Thursday, 20 October 2016 00:00

Is World Backup Day Such a Good Idea?

As you may already know, World Backup Day is on the 31st of March, 2017. So depending on when you read this blog post, you may have more or less time in front of you until it rolls around again. Hooray for World Backup Day, you might think, reminding people how important it is to safeguard data and systems.


But is there a danger that data backups then have but one day of fame per year, only to be forgotten about for the other 364 (or 365)? Maybe this anniversary could be put to a slightly different use.



Thursday, 20 October 2016 00:00

Create your complete Business Continuity Plan

The Business Continuity Planning Template: Your Guide to Creating a Complete Business Continuity Plan

Creating a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan is a critical step in the development of your BCM program. A few weeks ago, we posted our ultimate guide to developing a risk mitigation plan, but this week we’re going to take another step toward program maturity by looking at the development of the Business Continuity Plan itself.

This Business Continuity Plan is the aggregate of your planning and analysis processes (risk assessment, business impact analysis, and threat and risk assessment). It includes various documentation and checklists that allow your organization to continue to function effectively (or to restore business functions) during an emergency event. With that in mind, we developed the following checklist to help you develop an overall Business Continuity Plan, as well as other plans and action items for specific areas in your organization. We suggest the use of checklists as they are efficient, straightforward, and ensure important items are not missed.



Wednesday, 19 October 2016 00:00

Improving disaster response from space

From September 28 to October 10 of this year, Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti, Florida and the Carolinas, leaving communities scrambling to beat back the onslaught of floodwaters. First responders, government agencies and insurers needed to know which areas required immediate attention. However, in many of the hardest-hit locations, damage to infrastructure meant that there was no viable way to gather that data on the ground.

FirstLook, DigitalGlobe’s online subscription service for emergency management, offers fast web-based access to pre-event and post-event imagery, plus updates as our constellation continues to collect data on a priority basis.

And when you’re looking for more than a picture, GBDX, DigitalGlobe’s geospatial big data platform, has the tools to turn satellite images into actionable data. Using GBDX, you can integrate DigitalGlobe’s trained neural network algorithms with open-source data sets like OpenStreetMap. In the case of Hurricane Matthew, we found this layering particularly useful in identifying underwater and at-risk infrastructure.



Hackers recently stole research data from the University of Toyama's Hydrogen Isotope Research Center, along with 1,493 people's personal information, Infosecurity reports.

The data was stolen in December 2015, March 2016, and June 2016, using malware that had been delivered via a spear phishing attack in November 2015.

The Japan Times reports that two staff members received phishing emails in November of 2015. One of the staff members' PCs was infected, after which it transmitted data to an outside party for approximately six months.



The thrashing winds have died down. Relentless rain has ceased. The clouds have cleared and the sun is shining. But this is no time to let your guard down.

Last week, Hurricane Matthew pounded its way through the Caribbean before bearing down on the eastern U.S. coastline from Florida to North Carolina. Many lives and homes were tragically lost. But not all of the death and destruction happens during the storm itself. The aftermath is a treacherous time, with still-rising floodwaters, power outages, breaks in healthcare services, and increased risks for injury or illness. The mental and physical toll of a hurricane continues to mount even as it dispels and fades off into the ocean. We must remember that, although the storm has passed, danger remains present.

Beware of rising waters

After the rain ends, it can take days for rising rivers and streams to crest, or reach their highest point. This means that homes and roads that are not underwater at the end of the storm may be flooded in the days following.

In North Carolina, Matthew dumped 6 to 18 inches of rain, causing flooding that rivaled or surpassed that of Hurricane Floyd in 1999. But much of the water damage didn’t happen right away. Even as rescue and recovery efforts began, the state’s rivers continued to swell and overflow their banks, creating a second wave of destruction.

Driving on water-covered roads or through flooded areas can leave you hurt or stranded – or worse. Help may not be able to reach you right away if you get stuck, and you won’t be able to see hazards like debris or sinkholes in your path. Avoid driving through flooded areas, especially when the water is fast moving. As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.


Avoid risks during power outagesAre you prepared? infographic

Hurricane Matthew knocked out power to millions of homes and businesses. People die from carbon monoxide poisoning after a hurricane or other disaster when trying to generate power, keep warm, or cook using gasoline or charcoal-burning devices. The carbon monoxide (CO) these devices produce is a silent killer – you can’t see it or smell it. To avoid being a victim, always use generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices outdoors, and keep them at least 20 feet away from any windows, doors, or vents. Use a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector to alert you to any CO in your home.

Power outages can also result in injuries or deaths from fires. If the power is out, try to use flashlights or other battery-powered lights instead of candles. If candles are all you have, place them in safe holders away from anything that could catch fire, and never leave them unattended.

Drink safe water, eat safe food

After a hurricane, it’s important that the water you drink and food you eat is safe. Spoiled food or dirty water can make you and your family sick. Listen for water reports from local authorities to find out if your water is safe for drinking and bathing. If an advisory has been issued concerning contaminated water, use only bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking, preparing food, and washing your hands. To keep from getting sick, throw away any food, drinks, or bottled water that may have come in contact with flood or storm water, or any food that has been in the refrigerator if you have been without power for more than four hours.

Stay healthy in shelters

Shelters keep you safe while you wait to return to your home, but can also present some health risks. Illnesses can erupt and spread quickly, which is why CDC and other organizations send experts after a hurricane like Matthew to watch for any sign of an outbreak. It can also be harder to manage chronic illnesses while you’re in a shelter, especially if you need medications or special supplies to care for yourself or your loved ones. Keep extra copies of your prescriptions in case of an emergency.

Home safe home

Be sure to wait to return home until authorities say it is safe to do so. Returning to your home after the storm can present a whole new set of dangers, including downed power lines, flooded roads, and the difficult work of cleaning up. Remember, never touch a downed power line or anything in contact with them. Use chainsaws safely, and wear safety gear like a hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, thick work gloves, and boots as you make repairs.

If your home has been affected by flooding, follow these guidelines for safe cleanup after disasters. People with certain health conditions should not take part in the cleanup, and everyone should be careful to use the proper protective equipment. Any items that cannot be washed and cleaned should be removed from the home. Any drywall or insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters should be removed and discarded. You may want to take photos or hold onto items for which you’ll be filing an insurance claim.

Look around your home and drain any standing water. Standing water after a hurricane or flood is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Use insect repellant and consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, or in the early evening when mosquitoes are most active.

Take care of your mind and heart

The mental and emotional effects of a disaster like Matthew can linger even months or years afterward. Be prepared to cope with feelings of fear, grief and depression. “Loss and displacement are some of the most stressful situations we face in our lives,” says CDC behavioral scientist Ruth Perou, PhD. “Even briefly being in a shelter can be very hard.”

Remember to take care of yourself. Try to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep, eat regular meals, and exercise as much as you can. ”The best thing you can do,” says Perou, “is get back to some sort of routine as quickly as possible, especially for children.”

Stress and feeling overwhelmed are normal and expected reactions to any sudden change. Reach out to family and friends, and talk to others in your community about your worries. Let your child know that it’s okay to feel upset when something bad or scary happens. Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover from a disaster.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained counselors are ready to answer any questions or help cope in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and other disasters. To connect with them, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 00:00

Moving from the Cloud to Your Cloud

The cloud was established on the idea of “build it and they will come,” which certainly turned out to be the case. The corollary to the maxim, of course, is “give them a little and they’ll want more.”

On one level, this can be seen by the size of the workloads being migrated to the cloud, but it can also be seen in the quality of cloud services and the ability to customize even public cloud architectures to support highly specialized applications.

The increased demand for customization coincides with increased concern that many cloud deployments to date, while effective, still leave a lot to be desired. According to a recent survey by the Society for Information Management (SIM), large segments of the IT profession are concerned with the cloud’s ability to align properly with business processes, as well as the speed and agility of cloud infrastructure and the ability to engage in proper strategic planning in highly dynamic environments. For these and other reasons, says study author Leon Kappelman, many organizations are shifting their IT budgets to software development that allows for greater integration, customization and migration of cloud-connected workloads.



Wednesday, 19 October 2016 00:00

The People Factor in Cyber Breach

Recently leaked "Panama Papers" have shaken politics across the world. This has resulted in a change of the Prime Minister of Iceland, while exposing other top officials like the British Prime Minister and President of Russia. This unprecedented leak of financial and attorney-client information, spans four decades from the law firm Mossack Fonseca and reveals that sensitive information belonging to any company is vulnerable.

While these attacks are ideologically and morally motivated, most of the attacks - about 89 percent happening today are financially damaging or inclined towards espionage, claims a report conducted by Verizon. Of the confirmed attacks, 63 percent of the breaches occurred because of passwords that are default, weak or compromised. This indicates that basic safeguard measures are not sufficient. What is Cyber breach?

The U.S. Government’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) defines a data breach as "The unauthorized movement or disclosure of sensitive information to a party, usually outside the organization, that is not authorized to have or see the information."



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