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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Americans have been hearing about the nation's infrastructure crisis long enough for belief in the need for additional infrastructure funding to become part of our collective DNA. But how can government officials figure out how great the need really is? And once they do that and identify a way to pay for the work that's needed, how should they allocate the new money?

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/How-Bad-Is-Our-Infrastructure.html

While looking around the Internet for teaching tools for children I bumped into a great resource developed by the Canadian Red Cross.  It is a program called  “Bug Out”.  It includes  activity books for kids and lesson plans for teachers for grades K – 8th grade.  It also includes a very cool booklet designed for families.

http://emssolutionsinc.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/4084/

CIO — This has been a curious year for cloud computing. The technology has moved into mainstream consciousness, but many vendors remain frustrated with the pace of enterprise adoption. While widespread agreement about the importance of cloud computing is present, many vendors see enterprises pursuing internal cloud implementation projects with a slow pace. As you can imagine, vendors are impatient with this pace—but not as frustrated as early-stage investors in those vendors.

http://www.cio.com/article/724286/5_Cloud_Computing_Trends_That_Will_Be_Big_in_2013?taxonomyId=3024

Report by India Education bureau, New Delhi: “Industry must be an important stakeholder in the National Disaster management agenda” , said Mr M Shashidhar Reddy , Vice Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) at the National Summit on Disaster Management, held on18 -19 December , 2012, New Delhi. CII, in partnership with the NDMA and with the UNDP as an institutional partner,   organized this Summit with a focus on Forging Partnerships for Readiness and Relief. The two day summit enabled stakeholders to understand diverse perspectives and learn from shared best practices on how to create a framework that would help in the mitigation as also in providing relief and assisting in rehabilitation efforts during disasters.

http://www.indiaeducationdiary.in/showEE.asp?newsid=18146

A survey of 100 businesses in the United Kingdom showed that about two-thirds of those surveyed said that they did not include the use of social media in their business disaster recovery plans. According to an article in PR Week UK, the survey covered communications, marketing, and social media professionals. The results were particularly interesting considering that the respondents used social media in their public relations capacity, yet the majority either didn't know how best to use social media in times of crisis, or did not have a formal plan in place for using it.

http://midsizeinsider.com/en-us/article/disaster-recovery-planning-and-the-role

As social media becomes more important to brands, companies have learned to embrace the marketing tool as a necessity. But many organizations don’t have the time it takes to build an audience of followers on Facebook and Twitter. This is where third party marketing agencies come in. But, as evidenced in recent legal headlines, the liability is enormous.

http://www.riskmanagementmonitor.com/the-risks-of-social-media-how-third-party-marketers-can-pose-a-liability/

Developing a proper disaster recovery plan is quite a challenging task for any type of organization, especially small and medium business segments. When a disaster strikes your business, restoring it can be a really arduous task. Many companies are implementing cloud computing services for their disaster recovery plan. Cloud-based disaster recovery can be described as a component of a disaster recovery plan that involves maintaining copies of enterprise data in a cloud storage environment as a security measure.

http://www.cloudtweaks.com/2012/12/benefits-of-cloud-based-disaster-recovery/

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Quorum®, the leading provider of one-click backup, recovery and continuity for small to mid-sized businesses, today announced five predictions for the disaster recovery market next year. From mergers and acquisitions to climate change to the explosion of hybrid cloud solutions, these predictions serve as a reliable roadmap as we anticipate what 2013 holds for disaster recovery.

Prediction 1: Small to mid-sized businesses will pioneer the use of hybrid cloud disaster recovery.

Now hailed by industry research behemoths like Gartner, the hybrid cloud is moving from buzz to business, as small to mid-sized businesses have found great benefit in applying it to disaster recovery. Crippled by the inherent drawbacks of tape and disk backup solutions, small to mid-sized businesses will in the coming year increasingly embrace hybrid cloud disaster recovery, which blends on-site with cloud-based recovery. Using this approach, these businesses will eliminate the need for a secondary disaster recovery site, as well as the costs and complexities associated with maintaining and managing it.

Prediction 2: M&A activity will mean consolidation of disaster recovery solutions.

The disaster recovery market in 2012 has seen an uptick in M&As, with larger brands intent on expanding their disaster recovery offerings via acquisition. For example, this year, Carbonite acquired Zmanda and Microsoft acquired StorSimple. This trend will continue next year, with companies like eVault and Symantec, which have struggled to maintain leadership positions in the market, purchasing smaller providers in order to expand their portfolios and offer increasingly popular hybrid cloud disaster recovery solutions.

Prediction 3: More emphasis will be placed on recovery, as opposed to backup.

For small to mid-sized businesses, the disaster recovery issue is not necessarily about backup; rather, it's about how fast they're back up. Certainly, the ability to quickly recover data, applications and systems after downtime is a major indicator of whether a company can bounce back unscathed from a disaster. We were reminded of this yet again after Superstorm Sandy, when downtime forced thousands of businesses to close their doors. Whether these businesses will reopen anytime soon remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: For those that relied only on solutions focusing on backup rather than recovery, the financial toll will be significant.

Prediction 4: An increase in the number of weather-related disasters will necessitate hybrid cloud disaster recovery.

The only thing predictable about Mother Nature is her unpredictability, and it seems as though we'll see a lot more of it in the years to come. Indeed, thanks to climate change, the number of so-called "hundred-year storms" will occur with much more frequency, leaving in their wake destruction and chaos. (Before labeling climate change as a political issue, consider this: Even non-partisan insurance companies recognize its impact, raising their rates to reflect the increase in weather-related disasters caused by global warming.) With this in mind, small to mid-sized businesses will turn to simple and cost-effective hybrid cloud disaster recovery to make business continuity a reality.

Prediction 5: Availability of automated disaster recovery testing will spur a shift in focus from machines to people.

With the virtualization and automation of disaster recovery testing tasks, IT professionals will be able to reduce the time they spend performing technical procedures like tape restoration, and instead focus on involving end users themselves in disaster drills. Indeed, small to mid-sized businesses currently automating these tasks have found that involving end users in disaster drills translates to successful recovery when the real thing strikes.

"Whether economic, technological or environmental, several elements have combined to ensure 2013 is the year of recovery and the hybrid cloud," said Larry Lang, CEO, Quorum. "With its one-click backup, recovery and continuity solution, Quorum will continue to figure prominently in the disaster recovery discussion next year and in the years to come."

About Quorum

Quorum® provides assured, one-click backup, recovery and continuity, helping businesses safeguard their revenue, customers and reputation. The award-winning Quorum series of appliance and hybrid cloud solutions makes continuity a reality for small to mid-sized companies, letting them recover from any type of disaster within minutes. Most importantly, Quorum is simple and cost-effective. If your company avoids just 30 minutes of downtime, the Quorum solution pays for itself. The company is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. To learn more, please follow us on Twitter@quorumlabs, check out our Facebook page or visit www.quorum.net.

FORT WORTH, T.X. - December 14, 2012: Interstate Restoration LLC, a full service emergency restoration and reconstruction firm helping businesses recover after a disaster, announced today the acquisition of InStar’s national operations platform and sales team. InStar is a leading provider of emergency restoration services.

“Interstate’s total commitment to delivering the highest customer experience while expediting business recovery after a disaster makes the InStar acquisition a natural fit,” said Stacy Mazur, CEO, Interstate. “The acquisition allows us to offer unparalleled service by combining two world-class operating platforms and expanding our national presence in the East Coast, especially in the NY and MA region.”

Service in the disaster restoration and recovery industry is highly fragmented, with an estimated 16,000 restoration companies throughout the U.S according to Profile America’s IndustryIQ reports. The industry includes a limited number of national companies who can provide both restoration and reconstruction services with the ability to handle area wide events like Hurricane Sandy. The combination of InStar and Interstate provides customers state-of-the-art resources and expertise for any type of disaster across the nation.

“Our vision for InStar has always been to provide great service and become a partner to our customers who need to return to business quickly,” said Tom Denomme, CEO, InStar. “Resources and scalability are instrumental to our customers’ success. We are excited to combine our resources with Interstate and continue offering customers’ a reputable place for all of their disaster restoration needs.”

About Interstate

Founded in 1998, Interstate Restoration LLC is an emergency restoration and general contractor specializing in repairing commercial property nationwide. We help businesses recover quickly from fire, flood, natural and man-made disasters. This means companies and people can focus on the important stuff¾ like getting back to business and back to life.

About InStar

InStar is a leading national provider of disaster response, restoration, and reconstruction services. Providing rapid response to fires, floods, waterline breaks, and other manmade or natural disasters, InStar helps to return damaged property to its pre-loss condition as quickly as possible while minimizing loss of business. With branches across the country and nearly 250 employees, InStar provides services to a broad range of client verticals, including retail, hospitality, banking, healthcare, insurance companies, commercial real estate, and multi-family property owners and managers.

DENVER -- Unified Investigations & Sciences, Inc. (UIS), a subsidiary of T&H Global Holdings, LLC , a premier provider of specialized insurance claims services to insurance carriers, insurance brokers, corporations and public entities, announced today that UIS has acquired Phoenix Investigations & Phoenix Engineering of Englewood, Colorado.  Phoenix is a leading regional provider of forensic engineering and fire investigation services to the property and casualty insurance market.

"The acquisition of Phoenix Engineering & Investigations complements our overall offering of diverse forensic professional services," said Steve Powell, President of UIS. "This acquisition/partnership represents an important strategic opportunity to offer additional forensic engineering services in the Rocky Mountain Region and Western United States. The addition of Phoenix strengthens our team, enhances our abilities and adds to our geographic presence in servicing our national customers."

"We are excited to join the UIS organization," said Don Peak, Founder and President of Phoenix.  "Our cultures and forensic capabilities are complementary, and with our combined business we're able to provide industry-leading service to our clients."   

As part of the transaction, Don Peak will become Territorial Manager of UIS's Rocky Mountain Service Center in Englewood, Colorado.  Additionally, Robbie Longseth, Vice President and Operations Manager of Phoenix, will become the Director of Engineering for UIS.

T&H Global Holdings, LLC

T&H Global Holdings, LLC, through its operating subsidiaries (Unified Investigations & Sciences, Inc.; VeriClaim, Inc.; and VRS VeriClaim U.K. Ltd.), is a premier provider of specialized insurance claims services to insurance carriers, insurance brokers, corporations and public entities. T&H leverages its specialized domain expertise, experienced professional staff, and process knowledge to provide its clients fire and forensic investigation services, loss adjustment, and third-party claims management. T&H is majority owned by Flexpoint Ford, LLC, a leading private equity firm specializing in the financial services and healthcare sectors.

T&H operating subsidiaries serve a global client-base that includes leading insurance underwriters, brokers and Fortune 500 companies.  T&H was founded in 1918 and is headquartered in Naperville, Illinois. 

For more information about T&H and UIS, please visit www.uis-usa.com, www.vericlaiminc.com, and www.vrsvericlaim.co.uk.

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