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Spring Journal

Volume 30, Issue 1

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Jon Seals

Jon Seals

There was a time when having a digital strategy was a sideline, much like installing new office carpeting or designing employee appreciation events. It was a low-priority afterthought — a good, but non-essential business action item.

In today’s digital atmosphere, the integration of technologies and automation is more prevalent. Financial services businesses embed digital technologies into existing channels for a more personalized, timely customer experience. Insurance and banking customers can carry on everyday finance maintenance with less time required and no travel necessary. While the ability to make consumers happy can translate into larger market shares and a competitive edge for financial institutions, the journey does not come without challenges. At the top of that list of challenges is security. Financial services applications are especially hot targets for hacking because highly sensitive personal data is involved.

In a recent Forrester research study* of 134 IT executives in the financial services and insurance industry, more than 50 percent indicated they had had a breach in the past 12 months, with 42% of them having had three or more breaches in the past 12 months. The top three external methods of attack were user interaction, exploitation of vulnerable software, and use of stolen credentials.

Especially when financial services institutions extend their digital business to the Internet of Things, the need for security becomes even more real due to the increased number of potential data breach points. More than 51 percent indicate that IoT is an initiative that concerns them. The top two initiatives noted were external hackers and privacy violations*.

...

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/08/25/the-security-implications-of-digital-finance-business/

(TNS) - Lots of flood insurance prices are being tossed around since high water overwhelmed tens of thousands of properties and their owners across south Louisiana.

The cost varies depending on location, but in low- to moderate-risk areas about $450 a year buys coverage for $250,000 worth of damage on a person’s primary residence and $100,000 worth of contents, said Terri Forsman, flood-risk coordinator for Louisiana Companies in Baton Rouge. The policies also carry two deductibles, $1,250 for the structure and $1,250 for contents.

"Everybody's in a flood zone. If it rains where you live, you're in a flood zone,” Forsman said. “The difference is if you're in a preferred-risk zone, which everybody is calling a no-flood zone ... it just means you're less likely to flood. If you're in a high-risk zone, you're more likely to flood.”

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Costly-misconception-Insurance-rates-can-vary-greatly-but-everybodys-in-a-flood-zone.html

The way people research and make purchase decisions has changed drastically during the past few years.

Just look at what’s happening in the retail industry: online shopping is decimating iconic brands that have thrived for decades. It’s all about an empowered buyer getting exactly what they want, when they want on their terms.

And it’s not just the disruption of traditional retailing. iTunes transformed the music industry. Netflix has effectively made the video rental store industry irrelevant. SiriusXM Radio is redefining broadcast media. The Internet of Things (IOT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are almost certain to accelerate this kind of disruption.

Closer to the data center industry, in particular on the cloud side, there’s enormous pressure on many smaller providers coming from Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/08/25/your-data-center-brand-is-no-longer-what-you-say-it-is/

In 2005, cybercrime cost the average company $24,000. In 2015, the average cost jumped to $1.5 million. Certainly some of that is due to inflation – everything costs more today – but the skyrocketing costs are also in line with the overall increase in cybercrime. According to BTB Security, in 2005, there were only four data breaches that affected more than 30,000 records, compared to 26 breaches in 2015. That still seems like a low number, but how about this: In total records compromised, the numbers went from 44 million to 190 million. In a TechRepublic interview, Ron Schlecht, a managing partner at BTB Security, added one of the concerns he envisions for the future:

Hackers will continue to not just target large organizations, but target smaller and smaller organizations, and failure of organizations and countries to build up security talent will be a huge problem.

The more organizations that are targeted, the more those numbers posted above will rise – and we can expect them to rise by a lot. According to a new Cybersecurity Ventures report, global cybercrime is expected to hit $6 trillion by 2021, doubling in costs since 2015.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/the-increase-and-impact-of-cybercrimes-costs.html

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia is taking significant steps toward recovery following the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that occurred June 22-29, 2016.

Recovery takes the Whole Community. Affected communities and disaster survivors are repairing and rebuilding better, stronger and safer with the help of neighbors, friends, family members, voluntary groups, faith- and community-based organizations and local, county, state and federal governments.

The following highlights recovery progress made in the 60 days since the June 25 presidential disaster declaration and how disaster survivors and affected communities are overcoming challenges:

Initially three counties were designated as eligible for federal assistance. Since then, the presidential disaster declaration has been amended six times, making survivors in 12 counties eligible to apply for help under FEMA’s Individual Assistance (IA) program.

The deadline for survivors to register for federal aid under the IA program is Wednesday,     Sept. 7, 2016.

In addition, local, county and state government infrastructure and certain private nonprofit organizations in 18 counties became eligible to receive funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program to repair and rebuild certain eligible disaster-damaged facilities. Local, county and state government expenses related to debris removal, saving lives, providing security, and managing the immediate response also became eligible for reimbursement.

The PA program benefits everyone in the affected communities because essential services like roads, utilities, schools and hospitals are often restored stronger than they were before the disaster. FEMA relieves burdens of local and county governments and the state by paying 75 percent of the eligible costs.

So far, more than 8,732 West Virginia households have contacted FEMA for IA help.

To date, survivors have received more than $111 million in federal disaster assistance for a variety of recovery purposes.

  • More than $32.7 million in grants has been approved for a place to stay for homeowners and renters whose residences were uninhabitable and to make essential repairs for homes to be safe, secure and functional.

  • More than $6.2 million in grants has gone to homeowners and renters to repair and replace certain household items and for disaster-related burial, medical and dental expenses.

  • Homeowners, renters and businesses have received more than $44.2 million in low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to repair, rebuild and replace damaged property and contents. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other sources.

  • NFIP policyholders have received more than $20 million in claims to repair and rebuild flood-damaged property.

  • The total Public Assistance Grants obligated as of Aug. 23 is more than $7.8 million

The SBA may call you after you register with FEMA. If they do, advise SBA on how you want to apply and submit your disaster low-interest loan application.  As a business, homeowner or renter, you can submit your SBA disaster loan application in one of three ways: 

FEMA and SBA encourage homeowners, renters and business owners to submit your SBA loan application to help fund recovery and to ensure the federal disaster recovery process continues.

If your SBA loan application is approved, you may be eligible to borrow additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples

include elevating utilities, water heaters and furnaces, and installing retaining walls and sump pumps. Applicants may be eligible for an SBA loan increase, for mitigation purposes, of up to 20 percent of their physical damage.

If SBA determines you aren’t eligible for a home loan, they will refer you back to FEMA. This could make you eligible for FEMA aid.

Disaster recovery officials are still on the ground in West Virginia and interacting with survivors in a variety of ways to help them recover:

  • FEMA specialists have attended more than 30 community organization events in West Virginia to discuss and answer questions about federal disaster assistance.

  • More than 9,100 survivors have visited 15 Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). The first centers opened three days after the presidential disaster declaration.

  • More than 7,100 FEMA housing inspections have been completed.

  • FEMA disaster survivor assistance specialists canvassed the affected communities to encourage survivors to register for help, provide recovery information and listen to their concerns.

  • Free consultations on building hazard-resistant homes have been given to more than 2,800 survivors at DRCs and more than 5,300 at West Virginia home improvement stores.

The West Virginia Chief Recovery Officer, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer of the National Guard; the West Virginia State Disaster Recovery Officer, Keith Burdette, who is Secretary of Commerce for the State of West Virginia; and Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator Kevin Snyder are coordinating a team of state and federal disaster recovery specialists to restore, redevelop, revitalize and better prepare affected communities.

Recovery has significantly progressed because of voluntary, faith and community-based groups that are donating their time and skills to help survivors muck out, repair and rebuild their homes. These groups are always the first and last presence to help disaster survivors recover.

Whole community partners continue to collaborate to find solutions to enable West Virginia’s recovery and will be here as long as it takes.

Registering with FEMA is the first step in qualifying for assistance. Sept. 7 is the last day for survivors to file an application. FEMA encourages all survivors who sustained disaster-related damage or losses to apply by phone (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362 (TTY users should call 800-462-7585) or online at DisasterAssistance.gov. The toll-free lines are open         7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Additional information on West Virginia’s disaster recovery can be found by calling the FEMA Helpline 800-621-3362 or visiting: www.DisasterAssistance.gov; www.WVflood.com; fema.gov/disaster/4273; twitter.com/femaregion3; and fema.gov/blog.