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Fall Journal

Volume 30, Issue 3

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In our Data Center Destinations series, From the Racks takes a look at locations that are thriving hubs for data center innovation and construction. These places are grabbing the attention of data center providers and enterprises.

Previously, we’ve discussed the data center draw to Toronto and Ashburn, Virginia. For this spotlight, we’re looking at Chicago – one of the liveliest and most active data center markets in the U.S. 

What’s Driving Demand?

Because it is the third largest city in the U.S. and serves as headquarters for several Fortune 500 companies, it’s not a surprise that Chicago is a featured data center destination. And with so many large industries thriving in the area (e.g. financial services, telecom, healthcare, insurance, tech, etc.), minimal latency is a necessity. This, in turn, is driving both downtown and suburban expansion for data centers.

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http://blog.dft.com/spotlight-on-the-dynamic-chicago-data-center-ecosystem-data-center-destinations

The Business Continuity Institute

The risk of a data breach is increasing in the retail industry as retailers accumulate more and more personal information on their customers as part of their ‘Big Data’ initiatives. As such, the number of retail businesses reporting data breaches to the Information Commissioner's Office has doubled in just one year, jumping from 19 in 2015/16 to 38 in 2016/17, says law firm, RPC.

The rise of online shopping, loyalty programmes, digital marketing and offering electronic receipts in store mean that even a small multiple retailer will be gathering exactly the kind of data that hackers will be looking for, and the retail industry is beginning to feel the pressure to invest more heavily in cyber security.

The regulatory burden and financial risks involved in a data breach will increase substantially when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018. These rules will make reporting breaches mandatory. As companies are not currently required to report every attack they suffer, the actual number of data breaches in the retail sector is likely to be even higher.

Jeremy Drew, Partner at RPC, comments: “Retailers are a goldmine of personal data but their high profile nature and sometimes ageing complex systems make them a popular target for hackers. There are so many competing pressures on a retailer’s costs at the moment – a rise in the national minimum wage, rates increases, exchange rate falls, as well as trying to keep ahead of technology improvements – that a proper overhaul of cyber defences can get pushed onto the back burner.”

Data breaches are already the second greatest cause of concern for business continuity professionals, according to the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report, and once this legislation comes into force, bringing with it higher penalties than already exist, this level of concern is only likely to increase. Organizations need to make sure they are aware of the requirements of the GDPR, and ensure that their data protection processes are robust enough to meet these requirements.

Jeremy Drew added: “As the GDPR threatens a massive increase in fines for companies that fail to deal with data security, we do expect investment to increase both in stopping breaches occurring in the first place and ensuring that if they do happen they are found quickly and contained. No UK retailer wants to be in the position of some public examples who were forced to confirm that it took them nearly a year to close a data security breach.”

(TNS) - In anticipation of a large influx of visitors through the solar eclipse Monday, area emergency response organizations and health-care providers are finalizing areawide plans to respond to potential emergency situations.

“This is fairly unprecedented, uncharted territory,” said Brady Dubois, Mosaic Life Care medical center president. “We are absolutely hopeful that it’s a Y2K-type event and nothing ends up happening, but we know that if we don’t prepare for it, then we are not going to be able to handle it if it happens.”

Mosaic Life Care, Buchanan County, Mo., Emergency Management and other area health-care providers have spent almost the last year coordinating large-scale plans to respond to emergency medical situations through the end of the solar eclipse Aug. 21. Much of the additional response will start over the weekend.

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http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Eclipse-Emergency-Response-a-Region-Wide-Effort.html

The Business Continuity Institute

By 2100, two in three people living in Europe may be affected by weather-related disasters, according to a study published in The Lancet Planetary Health which sheds light on the expected burden of climate change on societies across Europe.

The study analyses the effects of the seven most harmful types of weather-related disaster - heatwaves, cold snaps, wildfires, droughts, river and coastal floods, and windstorms - in 28 European Union countries, as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. The projected increases were calculated on the assumption of there being no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and no improvements to policies helping to reduce the impact of extreme weather events (such as medical technology, air conditioning, and thermal insulation in houses).

"Climate change is one of the biggest global threats to human health of the 21st century, and its peril to society will be increasingly connected to weather-driven hazards," says lead author Dr Giovanni Forzieri of European Commission Joint Research Centre in Italy. "Unless global warming is curbed as a matter of urgency and appropriate measures are taken, about 350 million Europeans could be exposed to harmful climate extremes on an annual basis by the end of the century."

The study estimates that heatwaves would be the most lethal weather-related disaster, and could cause 99% of all future weather-related deaths, increasing from 2,700 deaths a year between 1981-2010 to 151,500 deaths a year in 2071-2100.

It also projects substantial increases in deaths from coastal flooding, which could increase from six deaths a year at the start of the century to 233 a year by the end of the century.

Comparatively, wildfires, river floods, windstorms and droughts showed smaller projected increases overall, but these types of weather-related disaster could affect some countries more than others. Cold snaps could decline as a result of global warming, however the effect of this decline will not be sufficient to compensate for the other increases.

Due to projected increases in heatwaves and droughts, the effect is likely to be greatest in southern Europe where almost all people could be affected by a weather-related disaster each year by 2100, projected to cause around 700 deaths per every million people each year.

Comparatively, in northern Europe, one in three people could be affected by a weather-related disaster each year, resulting in three deaths per every million people each year.

Climate change is likely to be the main driver behind the potential increases, accounting for 90% of the risk while population changes such as growth, migration and urbanisation account for the remaining 10%.

"This study contributes to the ongoing debate about the need to urgently curb climate change and minimise its consequences. The substantial projected rise in risk of weather-related hazards to human beings due to global warming, population growth, and urbanisation highlights the need for stringent climate mitigation policies and adaptation and risk reduction measures to minimise the future effect of weather-related extremes on human lives." adds Dr Forzieri.

Adverse weather, which includes such events as heatwave, featured fifth in the list of concerns that business continuity professionals have, as identified in the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report. Climate change is not yet considered an issue however, as only 23% of respondents to a global survey considered it necessary to evaluate climate change for its business continuity implications.

Politics in career progression, in investments, in enterprise projects – but in business continuity as well?

You might think that business continuity was immune to such ideas – Either a business is functioning properly (BC works) or malfunctioning, possibly to the extent of breakdown (BC needs to be fixed). Yet the planning and processes of business continuity itself are subject to internal political pressure. Here are a couple of things you might reflect on, so that at least you can BC manage around them, even if you can’t prevent them.

Long-standing business continuity vulnerabilities can be difficult to handle, when their longevity is due to senior managers deliberately turning a blind eye.

Putting such risks into the spotlight can be seen as a threat to the credibility and reputation of those who chose to ignore it. The only way to address such risks correctly may be to gather suitable data, and present it to those who need to know or who should know better, being ready to take it to higher levels if necessary.

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http://www.opscentre.com/politics-interfering-business-continuity/