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Volume 30, Issue 2

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The Business Continuity Institute

An ongoing internet outage in Somalia is costing the country $10m (£7.7m) each day, and sparking anger across the affected central and southern parts of the country, including the capital, Mogadishu. The outage is reported to have been caused by a commercial ship cutting an undersea fibre-optic cable more than two weeks ago, and is expected to go on for at least another week.

The post and telecommunications minister - Abdi Anshur Hassan - told a press conference that Somalia has lost more than $130 million so far.

Internet service providers have since resorted to using satellite communications to provide access the internet, however this remedy was described as weak and unable to cope with the huge demand.

Internet outages are a major concern for organizations across the world with the Business Continuity Institute’s latest Horizon Scan Report featuring it in third place on its list of threats. 80% of respondents to a global survey expressing concern about the prospect of an outage occurring. In Sub-Saharan Africa it was in second place on both the list of concerns and the list of actual disruptions.

After more than 20 years of conflict, internet usage is low in Somalia, with just 1.6% of the population online in 2014, according to estimates by the International Telecommunication Union.

The Business Continuity Institute

Plans to clamp down on bogus holiday sickness claims have been announced by the UK’s Ministry of Justice following concerns from the travel industry that more and more suspected false insurance claims for gastric illnesses like food poisoning are being brought by British holidaymakers.

Advice from the travel industry shows the upsurge of claims in this country – reported by the industry to be as high as 500% since 2013 – is not seen in other European countries, raising suspicions over the scale of bogus claims and damaging our reputation overseas.

Due to the reported increase in claims, and as many tour operators appear to settle them out of court, the costs to the industry are increasing. In addition to the high costs of settling these claims, the bogus complaints are also damaging to the reputations of those tour operators involved.

A major barrier to tackling the issue is that these spurious claims are arising abroad. Legal costs are not controlled, so costs for tour operators who fight claims can be out of all proportion to the damages claimed.

Ministers today said they want to reduce cash incentives to bring spurious claims against package holiday tour operators. Under these proposals tour operators would pay a prescribed sum depending on the value of the claim, making the cost of defending a claim predictable.

Justice Secretary David Lidington said: “Our message to those who make false holiday sickness claims is clear – your actions are damaging and will not be tolerated. We are addressing this issue, and will continue to explore further steps we can take. This government is absolutely determined to tackle the compensation culture which has penalised the honest majority for too long."

The Business Continuity Institute

Almost half a million people on the south western Japanese island of Kyushu have been advised to evacuate their homes after several days of torrential rain, brought on by a series of storms that followed Tropical Cyclone Nanmadol across the region. What was described as unprecedented levels of rain has resulted in mudslides, overflowing rivers and flooding.

The public broadcaster NHK reported that, since Wednesday, downpours of more than 550 millimeters were registered in Asakura City, in the Fukuoka Prefecture, which is about 50% more than usual for the month of July. The Meteorological Agency says some areas in the city of Iki, in the Nagasaki Prefecture, have had 'once-in-a-half century' downpours exceeding 300 millimeters over the previous 24 hours.

Poor road conditions prevented staff and deliveries from accessing the Daihatsu Motor plant in Oita, so all operations had to be stopped, and this is likely to be a scenario experienced by organizations across the region.

While ensuring that employee and stakeholder safety is paramount, organizations need to ensure that they are prepared for such events. Adverse weather came in at number five on the list of business continuity professionals' greatest concerns, according to the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report, so it is something that needs to be prepared for.

Organizations must consider what would happen if they are affected by a flood, or any other type of disruption, what impact could that disruption have, could anything be done to prevent or reduce the risk, and how would they respond and recover. Furthermore they need to consider how they would communicate with their employees and stakeholders to ensure they are kept informed.

Tougher to do, and with tougher consequences if you get it wrong: these are the two big trends in IT risk management today.

While CIOs still lead as being the largest category of individuals responsible for ITRM, other categories like CEOs, CISOs, CFOs, and others also now stand at significant levels. Why?

Today’s business environment is also less forgiving than in the past. Operational glitches tend to be more severe, as do the business consequences. So, what could go wrong? And who in the organisation is responsible for mitigating the associated IT risk, other than the CIO?

...

http://www.opscentre.com/risk-management-getting-tougher-managers-keeping-pace/

China is a country of extremes, with well-developed industrialized cities flourishing while inhabited yet rugged and primitive regions struggle.

One of the remotest and historically poorest provinces in Southwest China—Guizhou—has come a particularly long way in a short time and is well on its way to becoming a hub for China’s push into big data. What resembled suburbia a decade ago has been converted into a new urban district complete with skyscrapers, a convention center, and data centers.

High-speed railways, bridges, tunnels, and added international flights linking it to domestic and foreign cities have lifted the province from isolation and connected it with the world.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2017/07/06/one-of-chinas-poorest-provinces-emerges-as-a-big-data-hub/

Friday, 07 July 2017 14:52

BCI: When the circus comes to town

The Business Continuity Institute

Photograph courtesy of Frank Schwichtenberg

There's a lot of prestige that comes with hosting a large international event like the G20 Summit - it puts the city firmly on the map and can position it as a major player on the international scene. That's not to mention the investment it brings in as leaders from the world's 20 most prosperous countries descend on it along with their various entourages, and the media circus that will inevitably follow.

Of course the positive side is not appreciated by all, and there will be people in Hamburg who are rueing the day it was picked to host one of the largest events on the international political stage.

The world leaders are still arriving, but already violence has broken out with a Porsche dealership burnt down. Windows are being boarded up and manhole covers sealed. The water cannons have been sent out to disperse demonstrators, 100,000 of whom are expected to turn up, and whose activities are only expected to intensify over the next few days.

It is always hoped that these events will have far reaching consequences in terms of the decisions made - migration, terrorism, climate change and trade will all be discussed at length, and it would be nice to think there will be some positive outcomes. Arguably resilience professionals should be keeping a close eye on these areas of discussion, as the outcomes could have implications for our organizations.

In the short-term however, there will also be far reaching consequences for organizations based in Hamburg, and the people who live there, who will experience severe disruption over the next few days as their city is put in lockdown.

Such is the disruption that these events bring, the German Foreign Minister - Sigmar Gabriel - has already suggested that, in future, they should be held at the United Nations Building in New York where security measures are already in place. At the moment the summit is hosted by the country that holds the rotating presidency, and security can cost in the region of €150 million.

Fortunately with events like this, organizations have plenty of time to prepare for them as they know they're coming. And as much as the violence that breaks out can be shocking, given previous experience, it shouldn't come as surprise. Most of us know exactly what to expect. Of course that doesn't offer any reassurance to the Porsche dealer. But for many, with some forward planning and stakeholder engagement, it should just be an inconvenience, rather than anything more destructive, as the city is temporarily put on hold.