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The Business Continuity Institute

Ransomware attacks continued their rise in the first half of 2017, up by 50% over the first half of 2016. Hacking and malware attacks (of which ransomware attacks form a growing part), continue to be the leading cause of breaches, accounting for 32% in a study conducted by Beazley.

However, the Beazley Breach Insights also found that accidental breaches caused by employee error or data breached while controlled by third party suppliers continue to be a major problem, accounting for 30% of breaches overall, only slightly behind the level of hacking and malware attacks. In the healthcare sector these accidental breaches represent, by a significant margin, the most common cause of loss at 42% of incidents.

This continuing high level of accidental data breaches suggests that organizations are still failing to put in place the robust measures needed to safeguard client data and confidentiality. Since 2014, the number of accidental breaches reported to Beazley’s team has shown no sign of diminishing. As more stringent regulatory environments become the norm, this failure to act puts organizations at greater risk of regulatory sanctions and financial penalties.

Unintended disclosures caused 26% of breaches during the first half of 2017 in the higher education sector. While slightly down on the 28% recorded in 2016, this still represents a quarter of all breaches which could be mitigated through more effective controls and processes. Hacks and malware accounted for nearly half of higher education data breaches in the first six months of 2017 (43%), roughly even with the 45% of breaches caused by hacking in the same period in 2016. Of these, 41% were due to phishing.

It is findings like these, and the disruptive impact that a cyber security incident can have on an organization, that demonstrate why cyber attacks and data breaches are such major concerns for business continuity and resilience professionals. The Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report identified them as the top two threats to organizations with 88% and 81%, respectively, of respondents to a global survey expressing concern about the prospect of such an event occurring.

Unintended disclosure such as misdirected faxes and emails or the improper release of discharge papers continued to drive the majority of healthcare losses, leading to 42% of industry breaches during the first half of 2017 equal to the proportion of these breaches in the industry in 2016. Hacks and malware accounted for only 18% of healthcare data breaches in the first six months of 2017, compared to 17% in 2016.

At first glance, professional services firms appear to have greater internal controls in place with unintended breaches accounting for 14% of all incidents, well below the average for the period in question. However, the trend is tracking adversely, up from 9% on the first half of 2016. Firms in the sector were not immune to hacking and malware attacks, with these incidents accounting for 44% of breaches in the time period compared to 53% in the forst six months of 2016.

Katherine Keefe, global head of BBR Services, said: “Unintended breaches account for one-third of all data breach incidents reported to Beazley and show no signs of abating. They are a persistent threat and expose organizations to greater risks of regulatory sanctions and financial penalties. Yet, they can be much more easily controlled and mitigated than external threats. We urge organizations not to ignore this significant risk and to put more robust systems and procedures in place.”

Keeping online payments secure is a vital concern for businesses dealing with valuable company data on a daily basis. These B2B transactions have traditionally required a lot of time and resources to manage effectively, so it is not surprising that we have recently seen a shift towards VAN (Virtual Account Number) payments led by Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). This digital travel transformation is simplifying, streamlining and increasing security for B2B payments between OTAs and their suppliers, boosting industry growth and changing the way it operates for the better.

What is a Virtual Account Number?

A VAN is an automatically generated, 16-digit card number, created at the point of sale or booking. It operates in exactly the same way the account number on the front of a plastic credit card does and is accepted anywhere that currently supports online Mastercard payments. However, the difference between a VAN and a credit card number is that with VAN payments, a new, unique number is generated for each individual transaction, making it a highly secure method of payment. Companies using VAN payments can place restrictions on its usage, limiting spending, time frame and supplier choice, giving the business a greater amount of control over its finances.

The benefits of VAN payments

The benefits that virtual account numbers bring to B2B payments are threefold. The most important of course being the increased data security offered by choosing such a method. Whilst traditional account numbers may be used by multiple OTAs, memorised by numerous individuals and stored unsafely on devices, leaving companies exposed to the threat of data theft, the one-off randomisation of a generated VAN keeps data secure throughout the sales process, reducing the risk of fraudulent behavior or supplier default.

The second benefit addresses company control. VAN payments allow transaction data to be customised and tracked throughout the booking process, giving businesses a clear audit trail without additional interruptions to the payment interface. Because VAN payments are universal to most suppliers, all payments can be traced on the same system and integrated into existing workflows making it easy to find detailed information on each transaction.

Finally, and perhaps most transformative when it comes to company operations, is the benefit of simplicity. VANs simplify payments online by offering automatic reconciliation meaning payment delays are a thing of the past. Manual reconciliation of purchases and payment statements can be a drain on company time and resources, not to mention the threat of human error. By removing this aspect from the payment process, VANs can keep suppliers happy and free up admin time for better uses, helping to streamline the business.

How OTAs have embraced this digital transformation

Given the benefits of virtual accounts, it is easy to see why OTAs are one of the leading industries when it comes to using VAN payments. Booking holidays online has become the norm for many people around the world with online travel sales projected to grow from $530 billion+ in 2015 to $760 billion+ by 2019. This 2015 figure accounts for 53% of all travel bookings globally and that number will only go up. OTAs are a booming industry, acting as an intermediary between customers and suppliers and by using VAN payments, they are able to ensure the transaction is secure and seamless for all parties involved. VANs are used for booking airline flights, hotels and car rentals as well as many other travel purchases, and the VAN payment method ensures that the needs of these multiple customers and suppliers are met with guaranteed immediate payment processing, faster transaction times and to-the-minute offers. The reduced administration of using virtual account numbers facilitates the industry growth as there are less IT security staff required, saving companies time and money.

It is doubtless that VAN payments are the future of B2B online transactions, so much so that there is currently a push for future developments that incorporate even more flexibility in the process. They are transforming the digital landscape for industries like Online Travel Agencies and it is likely this influence will spread to other B2B organisations operating multiple supplier transactions in the near future.

Monday, 07 August 2017 14:27

VAN Payments Improve Data Security

(TNS) - When wildfires, floods, tornadoes and terrorist events disrupt cellphone communication systems at the moment they are most needed, that’s when a more than 100-year-old technology still holds its own.

Amateur radio operators, often called “ham radio operators” regularly volunteer their skills and expertise to coordinate responses in emergencies like the Boston Marathon bombing and when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

There are more than 725,000 licensed amateur radio operators in the United States. Those that were providing support for the 2013 Boston Marathon became a key communication link when cellphone systems became overloaded after bombs exploded near the finish line killing three and injuring hundreds.



Both clients and regulatory bodies now expect an always-on law firm, and with this comes the challenges of remaining competitive and performing due practice in cybersecurity. Modern availability and resiliency expectations demand a comprehensive approach to mitigate the threats of downtime, yet this is easier said than done.

The Problem with Insurance

In many recent legal publications, cyber insurance in particular has been getting a lot of attention due to the increased prevalence of security breaches. However, this specific form of insurance isn’t fully mature yet and policies need to be reviewed carefully. Be sure to ask what the insurance provider will cover and under what circumstances, since there’s no need to invest in something that won’t benefit your firm, especially in a time of crisis.



The Business Continuity Institute

Almost one in six (16%) SMEs have fallen victim to a cyber attack in the last 12 months, equating to more than 875,000 nationwide, according to the findings of a study conducted by Zurich. Businesses in London are the worst affected with almost a quarter (23%) reporting that they have suffered a breach within this period.

The SME Risk Index found that, of businesses that were affected, more than a fifth (21%) reported that it cost them over £10,000 and one in ten (11%) said that it cost more than £50,000.

Yet, despite the volume of attacks and potential losses, the survey of over 1,000 UK SMEs showed that business leaders are not committing to investing significantly in cyber security in the coming year. Almost half (49%) of SMEs admitted that they plan to spend £1,000 or less on their cyber defences in the next 12 months, while almost a quarter (22%) don’t even know how much they will spend.

The results show that for businesses of all sizes robustness of cyber security defences is now a genuine concern for winning and maintaining business contracts. A quarter (25%) of medium sized businesses (between 50 and 249 employees), reported that they have been directly asked by a current or prospective customer about what cyber security measures they have in place. This was also true of one in ten (11%) small businesses (less than 50 employees).

As a result, business leaders are reporting that strong cyber security is providing an opportunity to stand out from competitors with as many as one in 20 (5%) claiming to have gained an advantage over a competitor because of stronger cyber security credentials.

Small businesses are not exempt from the disruptions that all organizations face, and the latest Horizon Scan Report published by the Business Continuity Institute highlights that organizations of all sizes generally share the same concerns.

Paul Tombs, Head of SME Proposition at Zurich, comments: “While recent cyber attacks have highlighted the importance of cyber security for some of the world’s biggest companies, it’s important to remember that small and medium sized businesses need to protect themselves too. The results suggest that SMEs are not yet heeding the warnings provided by large attacks on global businesses.

“While the rate of attacks on SMEs is troubling, it also shows that there is an opportunity for businesses with the correct safeguards and procedures in place to leverage this as a strength and gain an advantage.”

...but it’s not as easy as you think



Whether for functional need, budgetary alignment, or due to top-down pressure, all companies will move to the public cloud at some level. If an organization has less than, say, 50 terabytes of data to manage, it’s easy to move everything there. For those of you in this boat, you can stop reading this article and proceed directly to the cloud, and collect $200.

For those with hundreds of terabytes, even petabytes, of data this is challenging and unrealistic. The business value of public cloud infrastructure is desirable, but when there are such large volumes of data, it’s hard to get there. “Lift and shift” strategies to mimic on-site infrastructure in the cloud are not often viable when petabytes of data are involved, and many businesses need to keep at least some data on the premises. Luckily the utilization of public and private infrastructure does not have to be an either/or decision.


Figure 1: The business dynamics of public infrastructure are desirable, but with so much data to manage, it’s hard to figure out how to get there.

Fortunately, you can realize many of the business benefits of the public cloud in your own data centers. Elimination of silos, data that’s globally accessible, and pay-as-you-grow pricing models are all possible on-premises, behind your firewall. The “hybrid cloud” approach is not simply having some apps running in your data center and other apps running in Amazon or Google. Workflows do not have to wholly reside within either private or public infrastructure – a single workflow can take advantage of both. True hybrid cloud is when public and private resources can be utilized whenever it’s best for the application or process.

Here are four key steps to accelerate your journey to the cloud.

Step 1: Go Cloud-Native

Storage is the primary inhibitor preventing movement towards the public cloud and cloud architectures in general. Data is siloed – stuck in separate repositories – and locked down by specific access methods required by specific applications. This makes it impossible, or at least extremely expensive, to effectively manage, protect, share, or analyze data.

“Classic” applications use older protocols to access data, while newer cloud-native applications use unique interfaces. Converting everything to cloud-native format will save much time, money, and headache in the long run. This does not have to be a massive project; you can start small and progress over time to phase out last generation’s technology.


Figure 2: Start on your journey to the cloud by leveraging cloud-native storage on-premises.

Once you’re cloud-native, not only is your data ready to take advantage of public cloud resources, but you immediately start seeing benefits in your own environment.

Step 2: Go According to Policy


Figure 3: Use policies to place data where it’s needed, across private and public cloud.

On-premises data on cloud-native storage can be easily replicated to the public cloud in a format all your applications and users can work with. But remember, we’re talking about hundreds of terabytes or more, with each data set having different value and usability.

Data management policies in the form of rules help decide where data should be placed based on the applications and users that need it – parts of your workflow behind your firewall and other parts in the public cloud. For example, you may be working with hundreds of terabytes of video, but would like to take advantage of the massive, on-demand processing resources in Google Cloud Platform for transcoding jobs instead of local hardware. Set a policy in your cloud storage software to replicate that on-prem video to the public cloud, then let Google do all the work, and set a policy that says move the transcoded assets back down when complete for the next step in the flow.


Don’t worry – the cloud data management software “views” the entire infrastructure as a single pool, universally accessible, regardless of the kind of storage or location.

Step 3: Go Cloud to Cloud

Policies help automate and orchestrate services to your applications based on business requirements (e.g. cost, capacity, performance, and security), according to the different capabilities of your on-premise or cloud resources. This also means data is efficiently discoverable and accessible across multiple clouds – the cloud data management platform considers the differences in services provided by the different clouds and moves or copies data to the right one.


When data is organized by storage silo or tracked by databases that only a single application has access to, the data can most often only be utilized that single application or a small number of users. Instead start to use metadata as the organizing principle for your data, which is enabled by cloud-native storage. When metadata sits right alongside the data it’s representing, it can be globally indexed and made available to many applications and groups of users.

As an example, data may be generated in a research lab that you manage, but the analysis can occur in Google Cloud platform. Then, the data is synched to Amazon Web Services when the results are ready to be shared to outside researchers and customers.

Step 4: Go Deep

When data placement policies enable a true hybrid cloud workflow, not constrained by physical infrastructure, you can unlock more capabilities. You can start to use metadata – the data about the data – as what we call the organizing principle. Cloud-native data holds its own metadata right alongside it, not in a separate database only its own specific application can read. Your metadata can now be globally indexed and made available to many applications and groups of users. This allows you to perform large-scale analysis projects (etc., some examples needed).

Whether you like it or not, you will be in the cloud in some capacity. Follow these steps to not only make the transition to public infrastructure hassle-free, but to bring many of the business dynamics of cloud – pricing based on consumption, massive scalability, collaboration, etc. – into your datacenter and increase the value of your data.


Erik Pounds is head of product marketing at SwiftStack (www.swiftstack.com).

Friday, 04 August 2017 20:30

You WILL go to the cloud

Back in 2004 at the RSA Security Conference, Bill Gates was campaigning for the replacement of the password by two-factor authentication or some other secure mechanism. inar dapibus leo.

In 2012, the Trustwave 2012 Global Security Report indicated that 80% (four out of five) of security incidents were linked to the use of weak administrative passwords. In 2016, the aftermath of the breach of 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014 was still being felt, as stolen access credentials were used to compromise other accounts for which the Yahoo account holders were using the same passwords and credentials. Why do passwords still exist?

In a word, it’s about convenience – passwords are easy (too easy) to handle and use. Even the more complicated ways of constructing passwords can be made relatively easy to use for the password owner.



There are so many conversations around cloud, moving to various types of cloud services, and how to leverage the power of hybrid. But, it’s important to note just how much cloud services – and hybrid, in particular, have been growing and where they are impacting your business. A recent WSJ article points out that CIOs are knitting together a new IT architecture that comprises the latest in public cloud services with the best of their own private data centers and partially-shared tech resources. Demand for the so-called hybrid cloud is growing at a compound rate of 27%, far outstripping growth of the overall IT market, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.

Here’s the big factor to consider: The cloud will be distributed with 60% of IT done off-premises and 85% in multi-cloud by 2018.

So where are you on that journey? And how ready are you for a multi-cloud environment? Most of all, do you fully realize what the biggest benefits of moving into a hybrid architecture are?



Friday, 04 August 2017 15:01

Are You Ready for a Multi-Cloud Future?

The Business Continuity Institute

There is a continued challenge in securing our organizations from malicious attachments, dangerous file types, impersonation attacks, as well as spam, with nearly a quarter emails being delivered to users’ inboxes still being deemed 'unsafe'. This is according to a report published by Mimecast which indicates the need for organizations to enhance their cyber resilience strategies for email with a multi-layered approach that includes a third-party security service provider.

The Email Security Risk Assessment notes that the risks to email remain whether delivered to a cloud-based, on-premises, or to a hybrid email environment. Email remains the top attack vector for delivering security threats such as ransomware, impersonation, and malicious files or URLs. Attackers motives include credential theft, extracting a ransom, defrauding victims of corporate data and funds and in several recent cases, sabotage with data being permanently destroyed.

To date, Mimecast’s ESRA reports have inspected the inbound email received for 62,323 email users over a cumulative 428 days. More than 45 million emails were inspected, all of which had passed through the incumbent email security system in use by each organization and, of these, almost a quarter (24%) were deemed 'unsafe'. These assessments have uncovered more than 10.8 million pieces of spam, 8,682 dangerous file types, 1,778 known and 503 unknown malware attachments and 9,677 impersonation emails to date.

When the data was sliced by incumbent email security vendor, the report found that even some of the top email cloud players were missing commonly found advanced security threats, highlighting the need for a multi-layered approach to email security. Notably these cloud vendors are leaving organizations vulnerable by missing millions of spam emails and thousands of threats and allowing them to be delivered to the users’ email inboxes. Many organizations have a false sense of security believing that a single cloud email vendor can provide the appropriate security measures to ensure protection from email threats.

It is findings like these, and the disruptive impact that a cyber security incident can have on an organization, that demonstrate why cyber attacks and data breaches are such major concerns for business continuity and resilience professionals. The Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report identified them as the top two threats to organizations with 88% and 81%, respectively, of respondents to a global survey expressing concern about the prospect of such an event occurring.

“To achieve a comprehensive cyber resilience strategy, organizations need to first assess the actual capabilities of their current email security solution. Then, they should ensure there’s a plan in place that covers advanced security, data management and business continuity, as well as awareness training to the end user, which combined help prevent attacks and mitigate business impact,” said Ed Jennings, chief operating officer at Mimecast. “These quarterly Mimecast ESRA reports highlight the need for the entire industry to work toward a higher standard of email security.”

10 Considerations for Executives and Directors

When a good reputation is difficult to build and easy as pie to destroy, it’s a business imperative to manage the company’s reputation carefully. Jim DeLoach outlines five critical areas leadership must pay close attention to, and 10 factors total that can be critical in managing reputation risk.

With today’s electronic and social media, the news cycle reporting on the downward spiral of a once-proud organization that has suffered severe reputation impairment is not a pleasant one to watch. Unfortunately, such news events capture our attention all too frequently, leaving an indelible impression about a company’s reputation and brand image.

Applied to a business, “reputation” represents an interpretation or perception of an organization’s trustworthiness or integrity. While the truth ultimately prevails over the long term, reputation can be based on false perceptions in the near term. If accurate over time, reputation provides a barometer of how an organization is likely to respond in a given situation. However one defines reputation, everyone agrees it’s a precious enterprise asset and recognizes a reputation that has been damaged beyond repair.



Thursday, 03 August 2017 14:47

Managing Reputation Risk

Don’t get us wrong, simply telling somebody how wonderful he or she is unlikely to guarantee business continuity!

However, with the emphasis in business continuity so often laid on technology, tools, and processes, it’s worth pausing for a moment to consider the human aspect. Whereas machines and systems don’t need or respond to recognition of how well they’re doing, the situation is different for people.

Heavily quantified and codified approaches quickly break down when it comes to encouraging staff to make sure that resources are in place to meet business goals without interruption. Here are a few guidelines to help ensure continuity of human endeavour!

Unlike programs and formal processes for systems, flexible guidelines are a better bet for praising people. Indeed, effective employee recognition is more of an art than a science. It’s crucial to understand that praise, when deserved, sincere, and properly expressed, for contributions to business continuity can accomplish two things.



Thursday, 03 August 2017 14:45

The Use of Praise in Business Continuity

(TNS) - An independent analysis of San Jose’s (Calif.) response to the devastating Coyote Creek flood in February gives the city high marks in how it handled recovery efforts, but says an inadequate initial response indicates the city didn’t learn lessons from a similar flood two decades before.

The report — commissioned by the city and done by emergency management consultant Witt O’Brien — states that while “San Jose overall performed very well,” it “relied too heavily on flood projection data” from the water district and was “unnecessarily caught off guard, placing residents in a potentially dangerous situation.”

But Brad Gair of Witt O’Brien commended the city for taking responsibility for its early shortcomings and rapidly moving into recovery efforts. He praised the city’s assistance programs for “compassion, tenacity and ingenuity,” and for creating internal and external collaborations.



(TNS) - There was a common theme Tuesday morning at the Westport Marina public boat launch. There, the military was displaying the tactics, personnel and equipment to be used if, and when, the “big one” hits:

“Man, I hope we never have to use it, but I sure am glad it’s there if we do.”

An effective disaster relief plan has many moving parts. Personnel and equipment from the Army, Navy, Marines, U.S. Coast Guard and National Guard all come together to form a cohesive team that can provide anything from food, water and medical supplies to heavy construction equipment to clear roads in the aftermath of a disaster.



Many software companies today talk up the virtues of buying all the components of a primary business software platform from a single vendor. On the surface, this sounds like a reasonable approach. After all, with the entire solution coming from a single vendor one would expect that each component should integrate well with the overall platform and, if there is a problem, IT has that “one throat to choke.”

In some situations, buying the entire solution from a single vendor probably does make sense: If IT is looking for software to meet a relatively straightforward need, such as video conferencing or file sharing, an out-of-the-box, single vendor solution is typically a smart choice.

But if the organization is dealing with a complex problem – like running a real estate business or managing a global supply chain – there is no single silver bullet. Each organization needs a solution that meets its unique needs and, to achieve that, they need a platform that can incorporate innovation no matter who is producing it. In today’s fast-paced business environment, innovation gives organizations a serious competitive advantage and an open system is the only way to fully take advantage of it.



Thursday, 03 August 2017 14:43

The Rise of the Open Software Platform

According to a new SANS survey, 40 percent of respondents rated malicious insiders (insiders who intentionally do harm) as the most damaging threat vector their companies faced. Furthermore, nearly half (49 percent) said they were in the process of developing a formal incident response plan with provisions to address insider threat. This further illustrates the urgency with which companies are moving to address this threat vector.

“We are encouraged to see organizations recognizing malicious insiders as the top threat vector, but we are not seeing the necessary steps taken to address it,” said Haystax CEO, Bryan Ware. “Existing tools aren’t smart enough, or don’t have the context needed to identify malicious insiders. What’s needed is contextually-smart, user behavior analytics that produce actionable intelligence for decision makers.”

Despite the increased awareness of the threat from malicious insiders, many organizations continue defending against the wrong enemy by failing to implement effective detection tools and processes to identify these malicious insiders.



The Business Continuity Institute

40% of organizations say they are not able to measure incident response, and even Verizon was notably slow in responding to a potential data breach last month, according to a new study by Demisto.

The State of Incident Response 2017 is a study of how incident response teams investigate potential cyber attacks, and the results were not particularly encouraging. IT departments face a high volume of incidents – 350 per week on average – and one of the underlying factors for the lack of preparedness for these incidents is staffing. Approximately four in 10 (40%) respondents say they have more incidents than their staff can handle.

The vast majority of respondents (90%) say they struggle to find skilled security staff. Moreover, it takes an average of nine months to properly train new hires. All of that combines with a significant turnover of staff as one-third of security staff will leave within three years.

“One goal for this unique study was to gain better insights into how to address future threats by determining today’s major pain points for organizations,” said Rishi Bhargava, Demisto vice president of marketing “Incident response must continue to evolve to meet current and emerging threats. The key to effective incident response is having the right combination of people, technology and processes. However, this study revealed that many organizations are far from having this right combination.”

The study found that most companies do incident response in-house - 41% is fully in-house, while 42% is in-house with the help of consultants. Only one in 100 (1%) companies fully outsourced their security operations, while 15% partially outsourced.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) & STORServer



Organization: Dallas Area Rapid Transit 

Industry: Regional transit agency 

Location: Dallas, Texas, USA 

Size: Serves more than 220,000 passengers per day



  • Upgrade older data backup appliance and software
  • Platform stability and system supportability
  • Turnkey solution that includes installation, implementation, training and maintenance support
  • Seamless integration with existing data backup configuration for its radio and CAD/AVL bus dispatch system 



STORServer EBA852 enterprise backup appliance with Storwize® V3700 20TB Disk Storage IBM TS3100 tape library


Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) was ready to refresh its existing data backup appliance and software to take advantage of the newest IBM Spectrum Protect™ features and STORServer’s turnkey solution. 

Since the initial implementation STORServer completed for the regional transit agency in 2010, the features of the IBM Spectrum Protect, formerly IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager (TSM), software have been greatly enhanced, including the change of the underlying software database to DB2®. The availability of this robust DB2 database, as well as IBM Spectrum Protect’s new deduplication feature designed to reduce backup storage requirements, prompted DART to upgrade its existing data storage configuration. 

It was imperative to select the right partner for its data backup needs, as DART relies heavily on the data collected and reported by its radio and CAD/AVL bus dispatch system. The data tracks important metrics like on-time performance, which is analyzed and used in planning for scheduling, route assignments, vehicle assignments and to make other critical decisions.

“Knowing our main priority was to ensure platform stability and system supportability, STORServer carefully considered our current needs while also recommending scalable solutions that will allow us to easily accommodate potential future needs as our data backup requirements change over time,” said David Bauchert, senior control systems programmer, Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Because the existing configuration STORServer installed and implemented had worked seamlessly with the agency’s data backup needs for this dispatch system, DART’s IT team trusted STORServer’s recommendations for this upgrade. 


The Solution

STORServer helped DART implement a new backup appliance and transition an existing tape library to serve as the disaster recovery target for its backup data:


  • Primary BackupSTORServer EBA852 – This enterprise backup appliance with SSDs enabled the agency to take advantage of new features, like deduplication, now available in IBM Spectrum Protect. The IBM Spectrum Protect database is now housed on SSDs in the appliance with faster processing power. In this configuration, 20TB of Storwize® V3700 disk storage was included. The primary backup data is kept on disk for quick restore and to take advantage of Spectrum Protect’s deduplication feature, which reduces backup storage requirements. This configuration also includes IBM Spectrum Protect Suite licensing, which offers simplified pricing and licensing with a tiered per-terabyte metric. This licensing enables the agency to have access to a suite of backup software products, including database and mail agents, along with IBM Spectrum Protect™ for Virtual Environments, should the agency need to enable that in the future.
  • Disaster Recovery:  IBM TS3100 Tape Library – This entry-level tape library, which was previously installed by STORServer in 2010, is now used for disaster recovery copy purposes. Reusing this existing library provided flexibility and reduced the costs associated with the appliance server refresh. As part of the agency’s disaster recovery plan, the tapes are taken offsite every day. Incremental backups also take place daily. The appliance server and configuration recommended by STORServer allows DART to plan for future data growth, as additional external storage can be added as needed to the appliance server. With the newest Spectrum Protect and STORServer Console (SSC) versions included as part of this upgrade, DART can now manage and move its data more efficiently. Highly scalable to future-proof the agency’s needs, Spectrum Protect also reduces backup and recovery infrastructure costs. SSC is designed to let administrators configure and manage their Spectrum Protect environment with a single, intuitive user interface. It also helps users save time, reducing daily administration tasks to less than 30 minutes per day. 


The Results 

  • Fifty-nine percent data deduplication savings for a deduplication ratio of 3:1 
  • Even as DART experienced 40 percent data growth since the implementation, the deduplication capabilities enabled them to use 38 percent less storage. 
  • Reduced overall costs for data protection by removing redundant data 
  • Data is now moved more efficiently, allowing for best implementation of data protection business practices. 
  • Automated delivery of daily reports allows for easy review and confirmation that backups have completed successfully. These reports can be individually tailored and distributed to multiple levels within the organization.


“It’s been incredibly advantageous for us, both from a cost and time perspective, to have access to IBM Spectrum Protect’s deduplication capabilities. We’ve experienced substantial savings in storage since then. Previously, we were running at 100 percent of our disk capacity, and now we are only using 26 percent of it,” added Bauchert.



STORServer is a leading provider of data protection solutions and offers the only enterprise data backup appliance that is built to order. Each backup appliance solution is tailored to the customer’s unique environment to simplify management of complex backup, archive and disaster recovery needs. STORServer’s appliances feature enterprise class data backup, archive and disaster recovery software, hardware, services and U.S.-based customer support. STORServer is proud to now offer SoftLayer® containers and DRaaS in SoftLayer virtual machines. Companies of all sizes trust in STORServer’s proven appliances to solve their most complex data protection problems. For more information on STORServer, please visit storserver.com.

storserver.com (800) 550-5121 Copyright 2017 STORServer, Inc.

IBM, IBM Spectrum Protect, DB2, Storwize, IBM Spectrum Protect Suite, IBM Spectrum Protect for Virtual Environments are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. SoftLayer is a registered trademark of SoftLayer, Inc., an IBM Company.

If you’re new to disaster recovery or risk mitigation, you might be overwhelmed with business continuity terminology. To start, what is business continuity? If you’re not sure, don’t worry. We’re going to cover the definition of business continuity, what business continuity planning is, what’s included in a business continuity management program, how to manage a continuity plan, and the four-step business continuity process.

If you are still reading this, then business continuity or risk management is a topic of thought or concern for you. Perhaps a recent audit has revealed that your organization may be vulnerable during a crisis or emergency event. No matter the reason, having some type of business continuity planning in place is appropriate for all organizations regardless of revenue, size or industry. The planning and level of effort may vary depending on your needs, but you should make every effort to have something in place. So, what is business continuity and where do you start?



Getting the most out of ISO 26000, the world’s first and most widely used International Standard for social responsibility, is the aim of a new guidance document just published.

In its seven years of existence, ISO 26000 has become one of the key references for implementing social responsibility practices in any organization. It has been adopted nationally in 80 countries across more than 20 languages and was one of the sets of guidelines upon which the European Commission built its corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.

Now, a newly published International Workshop Agreement – IWA 26, Using ISO 26000 guidance on social responsibility in management systems – helps organizations reap even greater benefits from the standard using the management systems standard (MSS) approach.

With ISO 26000 being developed before the introduction of ISO’s “high-level structure” for MSSs, designed to bring consistency among all management systems within an organization, this IWA will help users of management systems standards more effectively integrate social responsibility into their business.



The new European General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect next May and applies to any company, anywhere in the world, that collects sensitive data about European customers or employees. GDPR also comes with onerous breach notification requirements and high penalties for failing to comply, and data center operators may become prime targets for regulators’ enforcement efforts once the new rules kick in.

“Data center providers are an important piece in the GDPR compliance chain as they have ownership of the physical assets where information is stored,” said Jose Casinha, CISO at OutSystems, an enterprise software company based in Atlanta, Georgia.

“The data center is ‘where the rubber meets the road’ for many aspects of GDPR,” said Ken Krupa, enterprise CTO at MarkLogic Corp.

Often, it’s only the people who manage the infrastructure who really understand where all the copies of the data are, he said, especially when things like high availability, disaster recovery, and backups are taken into account.



The Business Continuity Institute

The UK lags behind many other major economies in the adoption of collaborative working technology, which could impact business productivity, according to a global study conducted by Polycom. Collaborative technologies include video and teleconferencing, instant messaging and file sharing tools.

The study found that 46% of UK workers use collaborative tools daily. This is far lower than many leading economies, including Russia (61%), Australia (55%), Singapore (54%), United States (53%), Canada (51%) and France (49%).

Emerging economies Brazil (82%) and India (72%) lead collaborative technology adoption, while a culture of presenteeism in Japan limits the ability to work remotely there.

The UK government enabled flexible working for all in June 2014. Despite the UK trailing in adoption of collaborative technology, there is clearly a demand for the ability to work remotely and business people well understand the benefits of such a culture.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the UK now works remotely at some point, Polycom finds, with 38% of people using email 'considerably less' in favour of the phone or instant messaging. Those aged 30-44 are most likely to ditch email, possibly because it is the format they have used most during their career and know how much time email can take to manage effectively.

"Embracing collaborative working technology and flexible working practices can benefit organizations from a business continuity and resilience perspective," said David Thorp, Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute. "By having processes in place that allow people to work flexibly during 'business as usual', it makes it far easier to enable them to work flexibly during an emergency."

“In the UK, many organizations maintain a legacy ‘nine-to-five’ culture while others are going through a process of digital transformation, so may be exploring the viability of remote working for their workforce,” says Jeremy Keefe, UK&I and Benelux Area Sales Vice President, at Polycom. “To enable staff to work effectively from home, organisations need to equip staff with the technology that connects them with colleagues, generate working from home policies and update them as culture and technology evolves, and provide guidelines to staff.”

The Business Continuity Institute

More than a third (35%) of SMEs in the UK are increasingly concerned about their ability to gain funding in the run up to Brexit, a study by Hiscox has revealed. Recent economic and political uncertainty has adversely affected business confidence, and caused concern for the future as the UK’s withdrawal from the EU becomes nearer. This concern should come as no surprise, as 38% of the 500 businesses surveyed admitted to accessing EU funding.

Despite many funding options being made available to new businesses, 36% of business owners said a lack of choice was the most common single challenge they faced when looking for funding. Moreover, 28% of businesses cited a lack of eligibility as the reason holding them back from obtaining finance, and a further 25% said market competition was their key challenge.

Surprisingly, what emerged from the survey was that one in five businesses (20%) are still unaware of the variety of funding options available to them. Despite the arrival of new finance options for start-ups like crowdfunding and peer-to-peer loans, most small businesses still turn to banks. Three-quarters of businesses surveyed used bank loans for funding over the last five years. Other popular funding choices were EU funding and equity funding (both received by 38% of businesses over the last five years).

Almost a third (31%) of businesses surveyed said economic uncertainty had been the biggest factor impacting their growth in the last five years. In fact, 18% more businesses found economic uncertainty affected their growth than competition within their own industry (13%).

Steve McGerr, Head of Direct Commercial at Hiscox, commented: "With a Scottish independence referendum, election uncertainty and a vote on EU membership, it’s been a turbulent few years for the British economy. In light of this, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the unpredictability of Britain’s economic health has been a key issue for businesses."

Another cause of concern for the UK's businesses is the availability of skilled workers, with 10% of businesses facing obstructions to their growth due to a lack of skilled personnel. With the Institute for Public Policy Research finding that employers in Britain are currently spending over £6 billion less on training per year than the EU average, and the prospect of visa complications for foreign workers following Brexit, the growing skills’ gap could further hinder business growth in the UK.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Many Arkansans lost important items in the severe storms between April 26 and May 19, including documents the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and FEMA need to process disaster assistance applications.

If papers are gone – such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, tax records, insurance policies, etc.— many can be replaced by contacting sources of information, such as vital records offices, Social Security agencies, insurance offices and other organizations or agencies.

Disaster survivors need to provide proof of citizenship, proof of property ownership or rental occupancy, Social Security numbers and other personal information when registering for disaster assistance. But documentation can be submitted after applying for assistance. The deadline to register is only two weeks off—Aug. 14. Below are some sources to replace lost documents

  • Proof of address/residency: Contact your local utility company to obtain a recent bill.
  • Birth certificates: In Arkansas, contact the Arkansas Department of Health Vital Records. Go to healthy.Arkansas.gov for information, or call 501-661-2336 or 800-637-9314. The office has a high volume of requests; expect delays.
  • Copies of insurance policies: Contact your insurance agent or the insurance company.
  • State income tax records and replacement driver’s licenses or vehicle titles: Visit any state revenue office (Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration). Visit dfa.arkansas.gov online for downloadable numbers of each agency. Numbers vary by county.
  • Social Security cards: Call the U.S. Social Security office at 800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. For TTY users the number is 800-325-0778, or log onto ssa.gov/ssnumber for more information.
  • Medicare cards: Phone: 800-772-1213 or go to ssa.gov
  • Federal tax records: Call the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-1040, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT, or log onto irs.gov.
  • SNAP Card (Food Stamps): Arkansas Department of Human Services, 501-682-1001 or http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/Pages/default.aspx
  • Military Records: National Archives, 866-272-6272, Option 1, or archives.gov
  • National Archives Records: 866-272-6272, archives.gov/preservation/records-emergency/public.html
  • Green Card replacement: Phone: 800-375-5283 or go to uscis.gov/ Click on “green card” at left on the home page
  • Real Estate and property records (mortgage documents, deeds, etc.): Contact a real estate agent, escrow agent or your mortgage company.
  • Medical and prescription records: Medical and prescription records are tracked electronically; contact your doctor or clinic.
  • Saving family records: The National Archives (archives.gov) has detailed technical information on how to salvage flood-damaged records and other information of interest to disaster survivors.

To register with FEMA:

  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call
    800-462-7585. If you use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service), call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish)
  • Download the FEMA mobile app (available in Spanish) at Google Play or the Apple App Store.
  • Help is available in most languages, and information on the registration process is available in ASL at fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/111546.

There are three ways to apply to SBA after you register with FEMA:

  • Call SBA at 800-659-2955. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call
    800 877-8339.
  • Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
  • Apply by mail: Complete a paper application and mail it to SBA at
    14925 Kingsport Road, Ft. Worth TX 76155-2243.

For updates on the Arkansas response and recovery, follow the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (@AR_Emergencies) on Twitter and Facebook and adem.arkansas.gov. Additional information is available at fema.gov/disaster/4318.


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

(TNS) - Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 31 Florida counties including Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade as Tropical Storm Emily made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast on Monday morning.

The storm, which formed suddenly on Monday morning just off Tampa, wasn’t expected to directly affect South Florida but forecasters said it could dump several inches of rain.

The state of emergency was in effect for 31 counties including Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee. The declaration “gives the state the flexibility to work with local governments to ensure that they have the resources they may need,” said a statement from Scott’s office.



The Business Continuity Institute

IT security professionals predict that DDoS attacks will get larger and more significant in the year ahead, and are already preparing for attacks that could disrupt the UK’s Brexit negotiations and cause outages worldwide, according to new research from Corero Network Security.

More than half (57%) of respondents to their survey believe that the UK’s Brexit negotiations will be affected by DDoS attacks, with hackers using DDoS to disrupt the negotiations, or using DDoS attacks as a camouflage technique while they seek to steal confidential documents or data.

Many in the industry expect to see a significant escalation of DDoS attacks during the year ahead, with some (38%) predicting that there could even be worldwide internet outages during 2017. But reassuringly, the vast majority of security teams (70%) are already taking steps to stay ahead of these threats, such as putting business continuity measures in place to allow their organizations to continue operating in the event of worldwide attacks.

Despite continued discussions about nation state attackers, security professionals believe that criminal extortionists are the most likely group to inflict a DDoS attack against their organisations, with 38% expecting attacks to be financially motivated. By contrast, just 11% believe that hostile nations would be behind a DDoS attack against their organisation.

This financial motivation explains why almost half of those surveyed (46%) expect to be targeted by a DDoS-related ransom demand over the next 12 months. Worryingly, 62% believe it is likely or possible that their leadership team would pay.

“Despite continued advice that victims should not pay a ransom, a worrying number of security professionals seem to believe that their leadership teams would still consider making a payment in the event of an attack,” said Ashley Stephenson, CEO of Corero Network Security. "Corporations need to be proactive and invest in their cyber security defences against DDoS and ransomware to protect themselves against such extortion.”

While high-bandwidth DDoS attacks continue to dominate the headlines, security professionals are also worried about the smaller, low-volume DDoS attacks of less than 30 minutes in duration. These ‘Trojan Horse’ DDoS attacks typically go un-mitigated by most legacy DDoS mitigation solutions but are frequently used by hackers as a distraction mechanism for additional attacks.

According to the survey results, less than a third (30%) of IT security teams have enough visibility into their networks to mitigate attacks of less than 30 minutes. A much larger volume of respondents (63%) are also worried about the hidden effects of these attacks on their networks, such as undetected data theft – particularly with the GDPR deadline fast-approaching, where organizations could be fined up to 4% of global turnover in the event of a data breach.

With websites being of such vital importance to many organizations, losing that website, even for a short period of time, can be severely damaging and could result in lost business. It is perhaps no surprise that business continuity professionals consider cyber attack to be their number one concern according to the latest Horizon Scan Report published by the Business Continuity Institute.

A Compliance Officer’s Role in Mitigating This Risk

Mobile computing presents a unique set of challenges to compliance officers. Our devices are truly omnichannel and not just dedicated to one aspect of our lives.  No organization can be fully compliant with data protection regulations when its staff carry personal devices with sensitive information on them; many of these devices are likely to be stolen or compromised at some point.

Mobile computing presents unique challenges to compliance officers in banking – challenges that may not be fully understood, in part because of the high number of factors involved and their potential for complex interaction.  Factors including multiple devices being used for both work and personal reasons; mixed use of corporate, private and public networks; and known vulnerabilities in mobile software and hardware.  A full list of all potential risks would be the product of all possible interactions of the factors.  Compliance officers have a big role to play in considering and dealing with the human, process and technological aspects of these risks and their mitigations.

People increasingly expect to be using their own devices for work – from connecting to corporate networks, systems and services via VPNs from home desktops and laptops to loading work email accounts onto personal smartphones to accessing other forms of work collaboration such as instant messaging, VOIP, portals, blogs, wikis, groupware, etc. from multiple devices, including tablets and wearables. The boundaries between work and personal are not just blurred, nor have they evaporated; instead, they are irrelevant.



Even as the fight against malware escalates, viruses, worms, Trojans, rootkits and ransomware lurk as threats every time we boot up or login.

For most small-business users, anti-malware software lives locally on each computer itself or as a suite on a local area network. A database of known malware definitions is a critical part of that software. That database resides with the software and needs to be updated to provide optimal protection.

To make computer- and network-based anti-malware protection operate effectively, solution providers need to:



The Business Continuity Institute

UK SMEs are under prepared to respond to a crisis scenario, despite their awareness that security threats are rising and 44% expecting to face some form of attack in the near future. This is the key finding of research commissioned by Arthur J. Gallagher that focused on evaluating business resilience.

Understanding security risks: how SMEs can build a culture of resilience revealed that 43% of respondents admitted to having no contingency plans for a crisis or not knowing what those plans were. Furthermore, only 30% have insurance in place that would respond to a security crisis - such as terrorism, cyber extortion, sabotage, product tamper or emergency repatriation - with a further 40% not knowing if they have insurance cover or not.

The research also highlighted a very clear gap in perception between the threats SMEs face and their level of preparedness. More than two thirds (68%) of SMEs questioned believe they are resilient and well-equipped to deal with a security crisis despite their planning and insurance protection levels showing otherwise.

There is, however, a widespread understanding that threat levels are growing, with one in five (19%) UK SMEs having faced an external security threat in the past two years while more than double that number (44%) believes they could face a threat in the coming 12 to 18 months. More than a quarter (27%) of those asked said they specifically expect to suffer cyber extortion in the near future.

When comparing responses between SME leaders and those of larger organizations, the research clearly showed that many SMEs feel they are too small to be targeted, with only 17% having tried to assess their exposure. But the nature and effect of today’s low frequency high impact security threats - such as terrorism and cyber extortion - is often non-targeted. Large security cordons, for example, prevent access to premises, while mass ransomware attacks mean smaller firms are often more vulnerable than large organizations.

Small businesses are not exempt from the disruptions that all organizations face, and the latest Horizon Scan Report published by the Business Continuity Institute highlights that organizations of all sizes generally share the same concerns.

Paul Bassett, Managing Director of Gallagher’s Crisis Management practice, said: “It is vital for SMEs to build a culture of crisis resilience. Their growing awareness of an overall increase in security threats needs to be matched by actions that will help them mitigate and manage their own vulnerability to those risks. Our research shows education is key; clearly, there is a disconnect between the current level of planning by SMEs and how resilient they believe themselves to be, creating a false sense of security.

“Many evidently feel they are too small to be targeted but today’s fast-evolving security threats are often not targeted at any particular company or industry. Exposure to the risk of non-damage business interruption - where no physical loss has been suffered but you aren’t able to trade - is a particular area of concern. That could be experienced because of proximity to a terrorist incident or an indiscriminate cyber extortion attack, for example.”

The Business Continuity Institute

Organizations across the globe mistakenly believe they are in compliance with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to a study by Veritas.

The 2017 GDPR Report revealed that almost one-third (31%) of respondents said that their enterprise already conforms to the legislation’s key requirements. However, when those same respondents were asked about specific GDPR provisions, most provided answers that show they are unlikely to be in compliance. In fact, upon closer inspection, only 2% actually appear to be in compliance, revealing a distinct misunderstanding over regulation readiness.

The findings of the report show that almost half (48%) of organizations who stated they are compliant do not have full visibility over personal data loss incidents. Moreover, 61% of the same group admitted that it is difficult for their organization to identify and report a personal data breach within 72 hours of awareness – a mandatory GDPR requirement where there is a risk to data subjects. Any organization that is unable to report the loss or theft of personal data – such as medical records, email addresses and passwords – to the supervisory body within this timeframe is breaking with this key requirement.

Restricting former employee access to corporate data and deleting their systems credentials helps to stem malicious activity and ensure that financial loss and reputational damage are avoided. Yet, a staggering 50% of so-called compliant organizations said that former employees are still able to access internal data. These findings highlight that even the most confident organizations struggle to control former employee access and are potentially susceptible to attacks.

Under the GDPR, EU residents will have the right to request the removal of their personal data from an organization’s databases. However, Veritas’ research shows many organizations that stated they already are in compliance will not be able to search, find and erase personal data if the 'right to be forgotten' principle is exercised.

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.

Of the organizations that believe they are GDPR-ready, one-fifth (18%) admitted that personal data cannot be purged or modified. A further 13% conceded that they do not have the capability to search and analyze personal data to uncover explicit and implicit references to an individual. They are also unable to accurately visualize where their data is stored, because their data sources and repositories are not clearly defined.

These shortcomings would render a company non-compliant under the GDPR. Organizations must ensure that personal data is only used for the reasons it was collected and is deleted when it’s no longer needed.

Veritas’ research also found that there is a common misunderstanding among organizations regarding the responsibility of data held in cloud environments. Almost half (49%) of the companies that believe they comply with the GDPR consider it the sole responsibility of the cloud service provider (CSP) to ensure data compliance in the cloud. In fact, the responsibility still lies with the organization, as the data controller, to ensure that the data processor (the CSP) provides sufficient GDPR guarantees. This perceived false sense of protection could lead to serious repercussions once the GDPR is enacted.

“The GDPR dictates that multi-national corporations take data management seriously. However, the latest findings show confusion over what’s needed to comply with the regulation’s mandatory provisions. With the implementation date looming ever closer, these misconceptions need to be eradicated fast,” said Mike Palmer, executive vice president and chief product officer, Veritas.

“With regulations like the GDPR you have to understand what data you have in your organization. But you must also know how to take action on it and how to classify it so that policy can be applied accordingly. These are the fundamentals of compliance and the findings today should be used to educate businesses about the mistaken beliefs that could put an organization out of business.”

Vigilant Assessment and Comprehensive Security Also Needed

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the worldwide cost of cybercrime will grow from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion by 2021. This includes damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost property, intellectual property theft and other areas. In an era where the likelihood of cyberattack is high, turning a blind eye can have disastrous consequences. Cyber insurance can soften the financial blows, but it works best in conjunction with an enterprise-wide culture of security, a comprehensive risk management program, and a carefully maintained security stance.

Public agencies and organizations around the world are making cyber risk their top priority. Insuring companies against data breaches is becoming a massive industry even as its promising role and impact in security operations continues to unfold. North American policyholders dominate the market, but Europe and Asia are expected to grow rapidly over the next five years due to new laws (e.g., EU data privacy regulations) and significant increases in targeted attacks, such as ransomware. Various experts predict the $3 billion global cyber insurance market will grow two-, three- or even four-fold by 2020.



Talk about the long arm of the law! The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or EU GDPR for short, aims to protect the privacy of the personal data of European citizens, wherever that data is processed, or wherever the organisation collecting or processing the data is based.

So, for example, if your Sydney or Melbourne based ecommerce enterprise sells online to consumers resident in any of the European member states (there are 28 of them), you must respect the EU GDPR too. If you do not, the consequences could be serious.

The General Data Protection Regulation shows how thinking about data and security has evolved in the digital age. Geographical boundaries have been supplemented by digital boundaries. Personal data is a new virtual domain that straddles physical country borders and that carries with it its own rules of conduct.



(TNS) - On a typical day, students and teachers fill the halls of Shirley C. Heim Middle School in Stafford County. But on Wednesday morning, hordes of residents playing the role of survivors of an EF3 tornado strike filed off a bus and crowded into the school, which served as an emergency shelter for the day.

Volunteers greeted the survivors at the entrance, directed them to sign in and fielded numerous questions, including where to take those with life-threatening injuries and whether dogs could be taken into the shelter.

The events at the school were part of a countywide full-scale mass-care exercise involving more than 200 participants and multiple local and state agencies. County participants included the school system and departments including Human Services, Social Services, Fire and Rescue, Community Emergency Response Team, Stafford Emergency Management Communications, Sheriff’s Office, Animal Control, and Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.



The Business Continuity Institute

While the majority of organizations in Singapore believe that cyber security is important and seek guidance from IT security experts, almost all (91%) of them are still at the early stages of security preparedness, according to a survey conducted by Quann and IDC. The survey identified significant gaps in security device deployment, cyber awareness, resources and preparedness for attacks, making these organizations vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Mr. Foo Siang-tse, Managing Director at Quann, said: “The findings are worrying but they don’t come as a surprise. Many companies are simply not investing enough in IT security, despite the obvious threats. The lack of investment in security infrastructure, professional services and employee training makes them extremely vulnerable. The recent WannaCry and Petya ransomware incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. Companies need to recognise that having a comprehensive security plan, comprising detection systems, robust processes and equipped individuals are critical in enabling them to detect threats early and mitigate their impact.”

The Quann IT Security End User Study 2017 found that, while basic IT security features such as firewalls and antivirus are widely deployed by Singapore organizations, more than half (56%) of them do not have Security Intelligence and Event Management Systems to correlate and raise alerts for any anomalies in a timely manner. 54% do not have a Security Operations Centre (SOC) or a dedicated team to proactively monitor, analyse and respond to cyber security incidents that are flagged by the systems. The lack of proper monitoring systems and processes means that anomalies picked up by security devices could go unattended and malware may reside and cause damage within corporate networks for long periods.

The survey also found that 40% of Singaporean respondents either do not have incident response plans to protect their organization’s networks and critical data in the event of a cyber attack. Only one-third (33%) of them exercise their incident response plans.

Cyber criminals usually target non-IT employees who are seen as the weakest link in cyber security. However, only 33% of the Singapore organizations require all employees from the CEO down to take part in IT security awareness training.

Many organizations (75%) do not have a dedicated IT security budget and planning process. Most respondents said that they have a security lead but they are not a dedicated resource and have other responsibilities at the same time. They also do not have round-the-clock security support, with 32% having security support only during work hours, and 25% only during the work week.

Cyber security is also a major concern for business continuity professionals, with cyber attacks and data breaches featuring as the top two threats yet again in the Business Continuity institute's latest Horizon Scan Report. 88% and 81%, respectively, of respondents to a global survey expressed concern about the potential for a disruption caused by one of these events.

With cyber attacks evolving at an unprecedented speed, there is a need for organizations to invest in security resources, increase the frequency and expand the reach of IT security training to keep pace with the cyber threats.

The survey also reveals a low level of engagement from senior leadership in formulating IT security strategies. The majority (91%) of respondents consult security executives, but only 16% of them will invite the executives to Board meetings and involve them in risk assessment.

Mr. Simon Piff, Vice President of IDC Asia/Pacific’s IT Security Practice, said: “Not all C-Suites in Asia are fully conversant with the fundamentals of a robust cyber security strategy and the appropriate investments. Cyber security investments are akin to military spending – we do it in the hope that we would never have to use the tools. They need to understand that this is not a business ROI with immediate, visible returns. However, the consequences of not taking a proactive approach now could lead to legal disputes, customer dissatisfaction, and even loss of jobs and careers at all levels in the organization.”

The Business Continuity Institute

The NotPetya ransomware attack which struck a month ago, on the very day the Business Continuity Institute launched its Cyber Resilience Report, is still affecting many organizations, with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reporting that it has serious concerns over the continuing impact on TNT's small business customers. The attack has been debilitating for some small firms who remain in the dark over when and if they can expect their goods to be delivered.

The share price of TNT's parent company - FedEx - fell last week when it announced that it expects a "material" financial impact as a result of the NotPetya cyber attack. FedEx said in a statement that “we cannot yet estimate how long it will take to restore the systems that were impacted, and it is reasonably possible that TNT will be unable to fully restore all of the affected systems and recover all of the critical business data that was encrypted by the virus.”

The Guardian Newspaper highlighted the case of Peter Blohm, an antique dealer from Aberystwyth, who was one of those caught up the TNT chaos, and has been trying to find out what happened to a consignment of art that left Switzerland on the 11th July and was due to be delivered soon after.

Peter told the Guardian that “TNT tell me they have had no computer systems since the end of June and there is no estimate for when their systems will be fixed. This means there are many thousands of parcels which have, like mine, been waiting for weeks to be processed by hand with pen and paper. The staff sound harassed, but cannot estimate when my parcel will be delivered, because they simply do not know.”

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: “There are small businesses in a total state of paralysis, a month on from the attack, because their business relies on transporting goods through TNT. For a small business, this kind of disruption can be crippling and threaten their survival. Small business customers need accurate, clear and frequent updates from TNT to help them with their own contingency planning and a commitment to provide redress to those small businesses who have lost out.

“This is a stark reminder of the danger posed by cyber crime and how it can strike down smaller businesses indirectly, having a much wider impact on the economy. It serves as a major wake up call on the need to tackle and prevent the growing threat of cyber crime right across the business community."

AlertMedia, the fastest-growing emergency notification system provider in the world, is pleased to announce that it has been named one of the Best Places to Work in the 2017 Small Business category by the Austin Business Journal.

The honorary award recognizes companies in four categories according to size. The awards are based on confidential feedback from employees and measure the following dimensions: communication and resources, individual needs, manager effectiveness, personal engagement, team dynamics, and trust in leadership. AlertMedia was ranked the 5th best workplace within its category.



For twelve years, Avalution has been laser focused on business continuity.  We’ve become the leading provider of business continuity software and consulting in the US.  We work with 10% of the Fortune 100, including the largest organization in 7 different industries.

We’ve become well known for delivering business continuity services that are connected to the strategy of the business, pragmatic, and reliably delivered.

Today, we are expanding into Information Security Management. 



A Primer on the New Global Privacy Law

For most organizations, the next year will be a critical time for their data protection regimes as they determine the applicability of the GDPR and the controls and capabilities they will need to manage their compliance and risk obligations. The GDPR has the potential to serve as a healthy, scalable, exportable regime that could become an international benchmark, but because of the effort required to report data breaches, it is absolutely essential that organizations prepare in advance.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) officially goes into effect in May of 2018 and will have an international reach, affecting any organization that handles the personal data of European Union (EU) residents, regardless of where it is processed. The GDPR adds another layer of complexity – not to mention potential cost and associated resources – to the issue of critical information asset management that so many organizations are struggling to come to terms with.

At the Information Security Forum (ISF), we consider this to be the biggest shake-up of global privacy law in decades, as it redefines the scope of EU data protection legislation, forcing organizations worldwide to comply with its requirements. This most certainly includes U.S.-based organizations. The GDPR aims to establish the same data protection levels for all EU residents and will have a solid focus on how organizations handle personal data. Businesses face several challenges in preparing for the reform, including an absence of awareness among major inner stakeholders. The benefits of the GDPR will create several compliance requirements, from which few organizations will completely escape.

However, organizations will benefit from the uniformity introduced by the reform and will evade having to circumnavigate the current array of often-contradictory national data protection laws. There will also be worldwide benefits as countries in other regions are dedicating more attention to the defense of mission-critical assets. The GDPR has the potential to serve as a healthy, scalable and exportable regime that could become an international benchmark.



Thursday, 27 July 2017 14:29

What the GDPR Means for Your Organization

In the last ten years, the workplace has transitioned from stationary to mobile. As technology has advanced it’s changed the way we work, where we work, and when we work. In fact, this report by Global Workplace Analytics discovered that employees are not at their desks as much as 50-60% of the time. Many employees change locations multiple times a day, and others frequently travel or do offsite work. With the rise of staff on the go, there is an increase in external risks in addition to those that occur in the office. So how do you keep your people safe? You need a system that can adapt to people’s changing location and the changing landscape around us.

Having access to your employees’ location data can improve your ability to respond to disaster in many ways.  Location improves your emergency plan by allowing the message to get to the right people in the affected area. A robust emergency notification system should quickly find the appropriate audience based on location, only reach the people who need the message, have geofencing capabilities, and give you extended map functionalities to see the proximity of emergencies to your users and notify them of the situation immediately.



The Business Continuity Institute

The electric grid is one of the most critical infrastructure systems for modern life, but it is also one of the most vulnerable, yet recent graduates of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) supported by Swiss Re have released a study that examines how extreme weather and other natural disasters are evolving in the Pacific Northwest, and the implications for electric infrastructure and potential economic disruption.

Lights Out: The Risks of Climate and Natural Disaster Related Disruption to the Electric Grid,” finds that climate change, expanding populations, and insufficiently diversified energy sources make the future of energy more unpredictable. The US insurance industry has already identified a $20–$55 billion annual financial loss from power outages caused by flooding, hurricanes, and extreme temperatures.

The group focused on the Pacific Northwest as an illustrative case study in climate and natural disaster related electric grid disruption. The region is prone to high-frequency, low-intensity natural disasters such as droughts and flooding, as well as being at risk of catastrophes like the Cascadian Subduction Zone (CSZ) event - an earthquake-tsunami combination that is expected to devastate the coastline from northern California to southern British Columbia. As climate change alters the seasonality of water runoffs in the Pacific Northwest, electricity generation, as well as the operation and maintenance of hydroelectric dams, face additional challenges.

“The cost of disasters has increased fourfold over the last 30 years. The total loss of $55 billion a year from unplanned electric outages in the US is more than the US government spends on all federal highways,” said Alex Kaplan, Senior Vice President of Global Partnership at Swiss Re. “We have to think not only about the physical destruction of these assets and the cost to replace them, but also the impact of the extreme weather and how it destroys economic productivity over the longer period of time.”

Adverse weather, one type of event that can lead to the disruptions outlined within this report, is the fifth greatest concern for business continuity professionals have, as identified in the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report, with more than half (51%) of respondents to a global survey expressing concern about the potential of a disruption caused by such an event. Earthquakes and tsunamis were much further down in 18th place, with 25% expressing concern, although these types of event are much more region specific.

“Natural disasters and climate-related, severe weather events pose real risks to vulnerable communities and are currently costing billions in damages globally,” said Celeste Connors, a former White House official on climate change and Johns Hopkins SAIS faculty advisor. “Local governments are taking the lead in reducing this risk by investing forward in resilient infrastructure systems. New and innovative financing mechanisms and partnerships can play a key role in helping governments manage their risk.”

The Business Continuity Institute

Ransomware has soared since 2012, with criminals lured by the promise of profit and ease of implementation. The threat continues to evolve, becoming stealthier and more destructive, increasingly targeting organizations more than individuals because the potential returns are much higher.

The indiscriminate WannaCry attack in May affected more than a quarter of a million computers across 150 countries in its first few days, crippling critical infrastructure and organizations. Some organizations are still struggling to recover from NotPetya attacks in June.

The total number of users who encountered ransomware between April 2016 and March 2017 rose by 11.4% compared to the previous 12 months, from 2,315,931 to 2,581,026 users around the world.

To help combat the threat, the No More Ransom initiative was launched a year ago by the Dutch National PoliceEuropolMcAfee and Kaspersky Lab. Today there are more than 100 partners, as major ransomware attacks continue to dominate the news, hitting organizations, governments and individuals all over the world. The site now carries 54 decryption tools, provided by nine partners and covering 104 types (families) of ransomware. So far, these tools have managed to decrypt more than 28,000 devices, depriving cyber criminals of an estimated €8 million in ransoms.

The success of the No More Ransom initiative is a shared success, one that cannot be achieved by law enforcement or private industry alone. By joining forces, it has enhanced the ability to take on the criminals and stop them from harming people, organizations and critical infrastructure, once and for all.

Law enforcement globally, in close cooperation with private partners, has ongoing investigations into ransomware criminals and infrastructure. However, prevention is no doubt better than cure. Internet users need to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.

With the infected computers or networks becoming unusable until a ransom has been paid or the data has been recovered, it is clear to see why these types of attack can be a concern for business continuity professionals. The latest Horizon Scan Report published by the Business Continuity Institute revealed cyber attacks as the number one concern.

And How an Automated Solution Can Help You Overcome Them

In 2017, it’s time for many organizations to stop viewing risk management in silos and begin implementing a comprehensive enterprise risk management (ERM) program. Adoption is slow, however, due to some common challenges, especially when it comes to finding a consistent method of defining, assessing and reporting risk. A good automated ERM solution can help lessen the burden.

With 2017 in full swing, companies are finally beginning to abandon the historical practice of approaching risk management in silos.  Many are beginning the migration to a more integrated and consolidated enterprise-wide approach. The justification for this movement is clear: each area of risk management generates information that supplies insight to the other areas, and they have a collective impact on the technology, processes and people of an organization. Tackled individually, the requirements become unmanageable. But when carried out on a common platform, a company gains valuable perspective — the viewpoints of the board of directors and executive management become one and the same.

Despite the inefficiency of the siloed approach, many organizations have been slow to adopt a comprehensive enterprise risk management (ERM) program because of the challenges they face in doing so.  When enterprise risk management is carried out manually or even with software that isn’t efficient, the current workload consumes vast resources and time and energy.  Often, because of this, a transition to an automated system is resisted by management because it is viewed as being more difficult than simply keeping up with the current workload. Companies must change how they view the potential of their ERM and GRC systems.

Here are three of the most common challenges for chief risk officers and ERM teams, along with explanations for how an automated software solution can help your team overcome them:



Wednesday, 26 July 2017 14:16

The 3 Common Challenges of ERM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The U.S. Small Business Administration is the largest source of federal recovery funds for disaster survivors and businesses, including those affected in the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding between April 26 and May 19.

Low-interest disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage.

Interest rates on SBA loans can be as low as 3.215 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, survivors must first contact FEMA and register for disaster assistance. To register:

  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call
    800-462-7585. If you use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service) or require accommodations while visiting a center, call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open daily from
    7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish);
  • Download the FEMA mobile app (available in Spanish) at Google Play or the Apple App Store.

There are three ways to apply to SBA after you register with FEMA:

  • Call SBA at 800-659-2955. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call
    800 877-8339.
  • Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
  • Apply by mail: Complete a paper application and mail it to SBA at
    14925 Kingsport Road, Ft. Worth TX 76155-2243.

Until Friday at 6 p.m., FEMA and SBA are providing one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants at State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers established in Conway (McGee Center), Faulkner County; Pocahontas (site of OLD Randolph County Nursing Center), Randolph County; and Fayetteville (Executive Airport), Washington County.

The Internal Revenue Service announced on its website certain tax relief provisions resulting from the disaster declaration, including extensions of filing deadlines for estimated tax payments. Those in the disaster area are automatically granted tax relief, but individuals and businesses not in the disaster designated counties impacted in the storm may call the IRS disaster hotline at
866-562-5227 to request relief, according to the agency’s website.

For updates on the Arkansas response and recovery, follow the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (@AR_Emergencies) on Twitter and Facebook and adem.arkansas.gov. Additional information is available at fema.gov/disaster/4318.


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Before taking on any new process automation or software, it’s important to consider the third party risk associated with the new approach.

Current market pressures and constrained resources, especially people resources, combined with the need for decreased processing and response times demand that organizations look to automation for improved efficiency. But, organizations need to take into consideration the business needs and risks associated with increased automation. The following four areas are a good place to start the analysis and assessment of process automation at your organization.



Wednesday, 26 July 2017 14:12

Balancing Automation with Third Party Risk

For the fourth time, Strategic BCP ResilienceONE® has been named a Leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Continuity Management Program (BCMP) Solutions, Worldwide.  This position on the report is based on our completeness of vision and ability to execute.

In their report, Gartner states: “The BCMP market is one in which most vendors offer solutions that meet the needs of their respective customers and target markets. However, how they meet customer needs is based on the solution’s application architecture, which translates to ease of configuration, navigation and reporting. The better BCMP solutions have prebuilt/configured BCM functionality out of the box, rather than building BCMP functionality with every customer implementation, which takes too much effort, time and money on the part of the customer and vendor.”1

CEO Frank Perlmutter said, “Named a leader by Gartner is distinguished honor but we believe achieving recognition in every year of this Magic Quadrant is a tribute to our software innovators and staff. We share this success with our customers. It is their day-to-day insights that allow us to continually improve ResilienceONE and offer out-of-the-box functionality and value unmatched in the industry.”



Information Insight, Executive Alignment and Lower Costs

GDPR is rapidly approaching, and companies should begin to prepare for May 2018, when the regulations go into effect. Companies can actually benefit from early preparation to comply with GDPR—the benefits of which range from a competitive advantage through greater insight into data to greater alignment between business units and lower total costs. HPE’s Joe Garber explores three key benefits of preparing now for GDPR.

Early preparation for compliance with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can deliver a wide range of benefits to organizations. These can range from securing a competitive advantage through greater insight into data to greater alignment between sometimes-competing business units to lower total costs.

At the core of GDPR – which becomes effective in May of 2018 – is the question of how organizations collect, manage and protect EU citizens’ and residents’ personal data.  Organizations are paying closer attention to GDPR than previous regulations of its kind because of the significant risks of noncompliance.  The most serious infractions, including not respecting the individual rights of data subjects, incur substantial fines (of the greater of 4 percent of global revenue or €20 million).  On top of this, there are also risks of legal action and lost customer confidence.



Wednesday, 26 July 2017 14:09

3 Hidden Values of Preparing Early for GDPR

In the wake of recent Cloud Service Provider (CSP) outages, what is your organization responsible for when it comes to complex IT architecture?

Many organizations today rely on complex IT infrastructure to support their operations, leveraging solutions ranging from internal hosting to cloud hosting to dependence on third-party systems. IT service delivery is getting more intricate, in large part due to the need to leverage different IT tools and services from a variety of providers. Cloud-based solutions, such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), promise simplicity for the end user.  However, IT service delivery and management usually becomes much more difficult due to the complexities around architecture and integrations. Therefore, IT disaster recovery planning becomes more difficult, as it must account for these complexities and coordinate with various third parties to ensure adequate coverage. Bottom-line – simply defining who is responsible for what when it comes to disaster recovery planning can be difficult.

Information Technology Disaster Recovery (ITDR) managers are tasked with orchestrating and managing ITDR across the entire landscape of hosted solutions. At first, this may not seem too daunting, as it’s easy to think of SaaS and other cloud-hosted systems as “someone” else’s responsibility. However, over the past year, we’ve seen the world’s best cloud service providers experience downtime. The Amazon S3 service disruption on February 28, 2017 made nationwide news, even though the total downtime was less than six hours. Last October, dozens of popular, frequently-used websites were unavailable after hackers unleashed a DDoS attack on the servers of a major DNS host. The most recent and widespread ransomware attack forced many companies to rely on (or establish on the fly) workaround procedures for critical systems. Hundreds of organizations were impacted in some way by these outages.



Before Investing, Understand Compliance Risk

The life sciences industries attract all types of buyers, including many from other sectors.  With billions in liability at stake each year, understanding and mitigating compliance risk is critical to achieving desired returns.

If you are head of business development for a large life sciences company or you make portfolio decisions for a health care investment firm, you can’t afford not to understand compliance.  According to Public Citizen, federal and state fines and settlements cost drug makers $35.7 billion between 1991 and 2015 – nearly $13 billion of which was in just the last four years surveyed.  In 2016, the DOJ announced that Olympus would pay $646 million for making illegal payments to doctors and hospitals in the U.S. and abroad, the largest amount ever paid by a medical device company.  The enforcement landscape is evolving, and managing compliance risk is essential to making good deals.  Here are some examples where buyers could have been smarter about health care compliance before compliance problems reduced the value of investments.



(TNS) - Financial losses from fires in Oahu high-rises were more than 12 times greater in buildings without sprinklers than in buildings with them, according to Honolulu Fire Department data covering a decade of blazes.

While the actual damage amounts were relatively small, the dramatic difference in losses between the two types of buildings is likely to fuel the debate on whether the city should require old residential high-rises to install automatic sprinkler systems.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell proposed such a law following the recent Marco Polo fire, which claimed three lives and damaged more than 200 units in the 46-year-old building.



The Business Continuity Institute

In 2014, the UK experienced what was described as extensive flooding, and while the BCI’s Central Office wasn’t directly impacted, or at least water didn’t access the building, it did prove to be disruptive in terms of staff getting to work. Several employees were forced to work from home for a few days as the roads they would normally have taken to get to work were under water.

That winter a succession of storms hit the UK leading to record rainfall and flooding in many regions. The south-east was affected quite badly with many towns, particularly those along the River Thames, experiencing severe flooding. But it was the south-west that was worse hit as much of Somerset was underwater for over a month. December 2015 brought more bad weather to the UK when Storm Desmond hit the north-west causing widespread flooding and storm damage.

The Met Office in the UK claim that, by their very nature, extreme events like this are rare, but how rare are they exactly? The Met Office decided that a novel research method was needed to quantify the risk of extreme rainfall within the current climate, and came up with the UNprecedented Simulated Extremes using Ensembles (UNSEEN) method which has been used as part of the recent UK Government National Flood Resilience Review (NFRR)+ when the Met Office was asked to estimate the potential likelihood and severity of record-breaking rainfall over the UK for the next 10 years.

The good news is that we are now better able to predict the weather. The bad news is that the forecast isn’t very good. The research carried out by the Met Office found that, for England and Wales, there is a 1 in 3 chance of a new monthly rainfall record in at least one region each winter.

In the south-east there is a 7% risk of a monthly record extreme in any given winter during the next few years. Across the whole of England and Wales that risk rises to 34% chance of an extreme event happening in at least one of those regions each year. Furthermore, the research indicated that there was a 30% that these events could break existing records by up to 30%.

What does this mean for business continuity and resilience professionals? In the first instance it means that there’s a very good chance of an extreme weather event hitting somewhere in England and Wales, but where? The 2014 storms largely affected the south of country while the 2014 storms affected the north. So while one part of the country was badly affected, many other places were not.

How do business continuity and resilience professionals determine what level of investment is required to protect against the impact of such events? How do you balance the level of investment required with probability of the event occurring? Presumably similar discussions take place on the other side of the Atlantic. We know with a great deal of certainty that a hurricane will, in all likelihood, hit the eastern seaboard of the US each year, but where? Should you invest heavily when there is a very good chance that the severe weather won’t actually affect your region?

Of course the other argument is that organizations shouldn’t be preparing for specific events anyway and it doesn’t really matter whether a storm hits. What matters is that the organization has a plan in place to deal with loss of building, loss of IT, loss of staff etc, regardless of what the cause is.

What is for sure is that business continuity professionals should be using data like this to help inform their own horizon scanning process and get a get a clearer understanding of what their overall risk exposure is, which can then be incorporated into the development of their business continuity programme.

How does your organization prepare for such events and what tools do you use to assess the threat?

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 14:37

BCI: Preparing for a storm

Nearly every day you read about a new malicious attack on computer networks of vital businesses around the world, and the attacks do not seem to be slowing down. 

According to reports, malware volume skyrocketed in 2016--more than 800 percent when compared to 2015--and that number coninues to rise.

The most recent attack, WannaCry, targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the Bitcoin currency. The attack reportedly locked hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries, and demanded a $300 payment to restore the encrypted files.



5 Key Changes on the Way

Although nearly a year away, the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is fast-approaching for multinational companies, and the clock is ticking to ensure compliance. The changes coming will have far-reaching implications for global businesses: any company operating in the EU must comply or face steep financial penalties.

It’s hard to believe that we’re now less than one year out from the implementation of a major change to data protection laws in Europe: The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.  It is the result of four years’ work by the European Union (EU) to standardize privacy laws and protect residents of the EU from the misuse of their personal data and data breaches in an increasingly digital world.

Most of the personal data protection laws in the EU haven’t been updated since the 1995 Data Protection Directive. In 1995, only one percent of the European population was using the internet. Now, not only is the majority of the global economy digital, but many companies are operating globally and processing personal data across borders. The EU Parliament established the GDPR framework as a way to update and harmonize the laws specific to the usage of millions of individuals’ data.



Monday, 24 July 2017 15:15

What You Need to Know about GDPR

For retailers, the specter of big data is one that is constantly looming. Companies are working hard delving into the omni-channel arms race as they try to fend off behemoths like Amazon. Some companies are going so far as to deploy massive amounts of resources into developing their own big data solutions in an attempt to go toe-to-toe with the retail giant.

The natural question that retailers face is what exactly they need to build in-house vs. what they can, and probably should, outsource to vendors.

With the proliferation of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, it’s becoming increasingly simpler and faster to deploy new solutions in an enterprise setting. This naturally results in ever-increasing innovation in the industry, as old solutions are easily replaced with the more novel and more effective ones in mere weeks.



The Business Continuity Institute

Global economic losses resulting from natural disasters during the first half of 2017 were estimated at US$53 billion – 56% lower than the 10-year average of US$122 billion, and 39% lower than the 17-year average of US$87 billion. This is according to Aon Benfield's Global Catastrophe Recap: First Half of 2017 Report. Meanwhile, insured losses were preliminarily estimated at US$22 billion – 35% lower than the 10-year average of US$34 billion, and 12% lower than the 17-year average of US$25 billion.

According to the report, the severe convective storm peril was the costliest disaster type on an economic basis (nearly US$26 billion) during the first half of 2017, comprising 48% of the loss total. The majority of these losses (US$23 billion) were attributable to events in the United States. These types of events also caused the majority of insurance losses (US$17+ billion), comprising 78% of the loss total, and with nearly US$16 billion attributable to widespread hail, damaging straight-line winds, and tornadoes in the US.

Natural disasters claimed at least 2,782 lives during the first half of 2017, the lowest figure since 1986 and significantly below the long-term (1980-2016) average of 40,867. Flooding was the deadliest peril during the period, being responsible for at least 1,806 deaths.

Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting director and meteorologist, said: "The financial toll from natural catastrophe events during the first six months of 2017 may not have been historic, but it was enough to lead to challenges for governments and the insurance industry around the world. This was especially true in the United States after the insurance industry faced its second-costliest first half on record following a relentless six months of hail-driven severe weather damage. In fact, nearly eight out of ten monetary insurance payouts for global disasters were related to the severe convective storm peril. Other events – such as Cyclone Debbie in Australia, flooding in China and Peru, wildfires in South Africa, and a series of windstorms in Europe – led to notable economic damage costs. As we enter the second half of the year, much of the focus will be on whether an El Niño officially develops. Such an event could have a prominent influence on weather patterns and associated disaster risks."

The report highlights that the US recorded 76% of the global losses sustained by public and private insurance entities during the first half of 2017, while EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) each accounted for 10%.

Around 42% of the global economic losses during this time period were covered by insurance, above both the near- and medium-term average of 32% and due to the fact that the majority of losses occurred in the US However, insurance take-up rates continued to grow in other areas, notably Asia-Pacific (APAC) and the Americas.

Adverse weather has consistently been a top ten threat for business continuity and resilience professionals, according to the Business Continuity Institute’s annual Horizon Scan Report. In the latest edition, more than half of respondents to a global survey expressed concern about the prospect of this type of disruptive event materialising. When you analyse the results further to only include respondents from countries where these types of events are relatively frequent, countries such as the United States, the level of concern increases considerably.

The Business Continuity Institute

IT professionals believe that compliance and regulation and the unpredictable behaviour of employees will have the biggest impact on data security, according to a survey commissioned by HANDD Business Solutions.

The UK study found that 21% of respondents say regulations, legislation and compliance will be one of the two greatest business challenges to impact data security. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is causing real concern among professionals in their bid to be compliant by the deadline in less than 12 months. GDPR will not only raise the privacy bar for companies across the EU, but will also impose extra data protection burdens on them.

HANDD CEO and Co-Founder, Ian Davin, commented: “Companies must change their mindset and look at data, not as a fungible commodity, but as a valuable asset. Data is more valuable than a pot of gold, which puts companies in a challenging position as the stewards of that data. C-suite executives must understand the data protection challenges they face and implement a considered plan and methodical approach to protecting sensitive data.”

Worryingly, 41% of those surveyed assign the same level of security resources and spend for all company data, regardless of its importance. Analysing and documenting the characteristics of each data item is a vital part of its journey through an organization. A robust data classification system will see all data tagged with markers defining useful attributes, such as sensitivity level or a retention requirement and ensuring that an organization understands completely which data requires greater levels of protection.

While 43% of those surveyed think that employees are an organization’s greatest asset, more than a fifth (21%) believe that the behaviour of employees and their reactions to social engineering attacks, which can trick them into sharing user credentials and sensitive data, also poses a big challenge to data security.

Danny Maher, CTO at HANDD, commented: “Employees are probably your biggest asset, yet they are also your weakest link, and so raising user awareness and improving security consciousness are hugely important for companies that want to drive a culture of security throughout their organization.”

Storage is also a key problem area, with more than a third (35%) citing that ensuring data is stored securely, and whether it's on premise or in the cloud, as their biggest challenge and most likely to keep them awake at night. A data record’s classification will enable a company to make these decisions, automatically and definitively dictating its location and whether an encryption policy should apply.

Having stored data to comply with its security policy, an organization must ensure that an access management system is in place, which understands roles and responsibilities and allows users to see only the information that they need. In HANDD’s survey, less than half (45%) of IT professionals are confident that they have an identity access management process in place which dictates that users must have different privileges depending on their roles and responsibilities, while 15% have no access management system in place at all.

Data breaches, and the disruptive impact they can have on an organization, are the second greatest concern for business continuity and resilience professionals, according to the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report. 81% of respondents to a global survey expressed concern about the prospect of a breach occurring, making it essential that organizations have mechanisms in place to reduce the chances of a breach occurring, and also have plans in place to respond to such an incident and help lessen its impact.

As large organizations continue to downsize and startups and SMBs look to make every IT dollar stretch, desktop as a service (DaaS) is set to take off. With some researchers forecasting 28.7 percent CAGR for DaaS, managed service providers (MSPs) should take a look at channel programs in this area of the market as it makes inroads into legacy enterprises. Many startups are already familiar with the Google suite of desktop applications, but other alternatives exist in the market, some of them more competitively priced and with better performance characteristics that would have more appeal to the traditional desktop market.

What do MSPs need to know about reselling these cloud apps to their customers? And what objections must they overcome when seeking to displace the gold standard Microsoft Office on-premises enterprise suite? Let’s look at how some other cloud office groupware stack up.



(TNS) - Lake County, Ill., Officials are warning residents who've been fighting floodwaters for more than week now that the fight isn't over yet.

"If you've sandbagged, don't take those out yet," said Mike Warner, executive director of the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission. "Let's get past the next rainfall and think about taking them out next week."

The National Weather Service told county officials they could get a range of 1 to 3 inches of rain through this weekend, with some areas hit with strong rains Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. The Des Plaines River could handle 1 inch without a problem, but 3 inches could spell more woes for nearby buildings and streets.



Our earlier post Working with nature to build resilience to hurricanes discussed how insurers look to natural infrastructure like coastal wetlands and mangrove swamps to mitigate storm losses.

The Mesoamerican Reef, which runs south for some 700 miles from the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula protects coastal communities and property by reducing  the force of storms, but its corals require continued repairs.

For every meter of height the reef loses, the potential economic damage from a major hurricane triples, according to The Nature Conservancy (TNC).



In business continuity management, should you start with what you want or with what you have? While business continuity is frequently a goal-driven activity, there is a contrarian point of view that says, “improve on what you have, rather than aiming for something you don’t have”.

Is either point of view superior to other? If so, which one should you choose?

There are “for and against” arguments to be made in both cases. In the objectives-driven case, you know where you want your organisation to be, and therefore anything that diverges from that happy state is an issue to be resolved. This assumes that you also have realistic, relevant goals, and ways of measuring how well you achieve them.



We’ve mentioned multiple times that implementing a BCM program can be challenging and at times painful. No one likes to point out their business’s vulnerabilities. Many times the investment of time and dollars to do just that can feel like a burden. We’ve seen our clients struggle with this during the implementation and maintenance of their programs. Many times the ongoing investment can be even more difficult. It helps to identify and assess both the tangible and intangible benefits of your initial and continuing investment in the BCM program. Identifying the benefits of a business continuity program helps you define benchmarks and see the light a the end of the proverbial BCM tunnel. We’ll take a look at the more commonly known benefits of a business continuity program. Then, we’ll walk you through some benefits you might not have thought of.



The Business Continuity Institute

An earthquake reaching a magnitude of 6.7 on the Richter Scale has hit the Aegean Sea between the Greek island of Kos and the Turkish resort of Bodrum. The earthquake, with its epicentre at a depth of about 10k according to the US Geological Survey, struck at 01:31 local time on Friday, and has reportedly killed two people and left hundreds of others injured.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency has reported at least 20 aftershocks since the initial earthquake, and at least five of those registered over 4.0, with the largest reaching 4.6.

According to the US Geological Survey, a earthquake of this magnitude (6.0-6.9 on the Richter Scale, classed as strong) can cause damage to a moderate number of well-built structures in populated areas, but earthquake-resistant structures should survive with slight to moderate damage. Poorly designed structures could receive moderate to severe damage. There will be strong to violent shaking in epicentral area, and it can be felt in wider areas up to hundreds of kilometers from the epicentre.

The region is no stranger to these types of events with an earthquake registering 7.6 occurring near Izmit in the north-west of Turkey in August 1999 killing about 17,000 people, while in September of the same year an earthquake registering 6.0 struck near Athens killing 143 people. In October 2011, an earthquake registering 7.1 occurred in eastern Turkey, near the city of Van, which left about 600 people dead.

Wow - terrifying to wake up to massively shaking room at 6.7 #earthquake on #Kos - thank god no one hurt, just shaken

— Tom Riesack (@QuietConsultant) July 20, 2017

While ensuring that employee and stakeholder safety is paramount, organizations need to ensure they are prepared for such events, certainly those in regions where earthquakes are a distinct possibility. Earthquakes may not feature highly in the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report, partly because they are very region specific, but there were still a quarter of business continuity and resilience professionals who expressed a concern about the possibility of their organization being disrupted by one.

Organizations must consider what would happen if they are affected by an earthquake, 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, and kept safe.

The Business Continuity Institute


Canadian businesses are lagging in their risk management approach and are more vulnerable to disruption when compared to their global counterparts, according to a report published by PwC Canada.

Managing risk from the front line revealed that 66% of Canadian respondents (vs 75% globally) had mandatory ethics and compliance training for all employees. When new risks emerge, less than 33% of Canadian businesses (vs 50% globally) reported periodic staff education about new or existing potential risks.

The report also found that future areas of risk and disruption for Canadian businesses will be in technology advancements (70% disruption predicted to 55% disruption globally), human capital (49% compared to 40%) and operations (37% to 26%). 

While Canadian businesses acknowledged that a big part of addressing their vulnerability to risk can be accomplished by moving risk management to the 'front line', many business operations are keeping risk management at the 'second line' (risk management/compliance) or 'third line' of service (internal audit).Respondents indicated that a lack of sufficient resources (skilled people) is the primary factor in preventing a shift in risk management to the first line.

The report reiterates that risk management from the second and third line does not give upper management a clear understanding of their own vulnerabilities. This type of risk management structure has resulted in an inability to manage risks effectively and adapt over time. 

"While Canadian businesses have made some progress when it comes to risk vulnerability, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to catch up with their global competitors," said Kishan Dial, Partner, Risk Assurance, PwC Canada. "By moving risk management to the front line, the organization's leadership will obtain a greater understanding of the risks to their operations and enhance their capacity to manage risks in an agile and proactive way." 

The report makes three key recommendations for addressing business vulnerability:

  1. Shift duties and assign responsibilities: Each line of service should have a defined role regarding risk decisions, monitoring, oversight and assessment of vulnerabilities.
  2. Define risk appetite: Organizations must define risk appetite and leverage the technical tools available to them, including aggregation tracking and reporting.
  3. Establish a risk reporting system: Reporting structures should enable the first line of service, but also require the second and third line to monitor the first line's effectiveness.

"In order to address current and future challenges, Canadian firms must commit to strong risk management structures and processes in order to excel in an ever-evolving economy of the future," adds Dial.

The Business Continuity Institute


UK business leaders identify far fewer risks affecting their businesses, when compared to Germany and France, according to research from the Gowling WLG, suggesting an overly optimistic picture among UK business leaders. UK respondents consistently identified between 2% and 25% less than non-UK respondents for each risk area analysed.

The Digital Risk Calculator revealed that external cyber risks (69%) are thought to be the most concerning category of digital threat for businesses across all countries surveyed. This risk is anticipated to grow even further, with 51% of respondents believing that it will increase within the next three years. 

Commenting on the research Helen Davenport, director at Gowling WLG, said: "The recent wide ranging external cyber attacks such as the WannaCry and Petya hacks reinforce the real and immediate threat of cyber crime to all organisations and businesses.

"However, there tends to be an "it won't happen to me" attitude among business leaders, who on one hand anticipate external cyber attacks will increase over the next three years, but on the other fail to identify such areas of risk as a concern for them. This is likely preventing them from preparing suitably for digital threats that they may face."

Other digital risks of concern to participants include customer security (57%), identity theft / cloning (47%) and rogue employees (42%). More than a third of respondents (40%) also believe that the lack of sufficient technical and business knowledge amongst employees is a risk to their business.

Additionally, one third (32%) of UK businesses feel that digital risks related to regulatory issues have increased during the past three years. However, less than a third (29%) believe that regulatory issues are a risk to their business.



With cloud providers IBM, Microsoft, and Google releasing their quarterly financials within the week, and Amazon soon to follow, the folks at Synergy Research Group have polished their crystal ball in order to determine where it’s all going. They predict good fortune for those in the cloud business, as well as for developers of software that runs in the cloud. The news isn’t quite so stellar for those selling hardware and software to private enterprise data centers, however.

In a report released Monday, Synergy said it expects worldwide revenues from cloud and SaaS services to grow at an average annual rate of 23-29 percent over the next five years and pass the $200 billion mark in 2020. This will come alongside an 11 percent annual growth in sales of infrastructure to hyperscale cloud providers.

Public clouds will see the strongest growth, with an average gain of 29 percent annually, followed by managed or hosted private cloud services at 26 percent and enterprise SaaS at 23 percent. APAC will be the highest growth region, followed by EMEA and North America. The highest growth areas will be databases and IoT-oriented IaaS/PaaS service.



Wednesday, 19 July 2017 16:47

Cloud Market Forecast to Hit $200B by 2020

(TNS) - Cherokee County, Okla., will soon boast a new program to keep residents informed when disaster strikes, after the Board of Commissioners approved a new mass communication system for Emergency Management.

CivicReady, a product of CivicPlus, will alert citizens with time-sensitive information, ensuring effective communications that could keep them safe. Tahlequah and Cherokee County EM Director Mike Underwood said he wishes the new system was in place last week.

"Last week, when we had the bomb threat here, that would have been a pretty good tool to not only take care of our citizens and let them know what was going on, but we could also have grouped in all of our employees," said Underwood. "With one phone call, it would taken care of pretty much everybody, instead of having to hunt and make sure you've got everybody."

In the past, Underwood has used Blackboard to spread the word about immediate emergencies. However, he said CivicReady will likely end up being cheaper at $7,000 annually, and will include extra features.



LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas disaster survivors whose homes were damaged in the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding between April 26 and May 19 do not have to wait for an insurance settlement to apply for federal assistance.

Survivors with insurance may register with FEMA for grants for temporary rental assistance, essential home repairs and other disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

Registration is encouraged even if survivors have insurance coverage. Policies vary in coverage and may not pay for temporary housing or have other insurance gaps.

Once registered, applicants with insurance policies covering storm-related loss and damage are mailed a "Request for Information" as part of FEMA’s verification process to avoid duplicating insurance payments. By law, federal assistance cannot duplicate assistance provided by other sources.

Waiting on the insurance settlement may make a disaster survivor miss the FEMA deadline to apply and lose the opportunity to apply for federal disaster assistance.

Federal assistance is available to eligible individuals and households in 16 Arkansas counties: Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Faulkner, Fulton, Jackson, Lawrence, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Washington, White, Woodruff and Yell. Damage or loss from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding must have occurred between April 26 and May 19.

To register for FEMA disaster assistance:

  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call
    800-462-7585. If you use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service) or require accommodations while visiting a Disaster Recovery Center, call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish);
  • Download the FEMA mobile app  (also available in Spanish) at Google Play or the Apple App Store.

If you are a homeowner or renter, FEMA may refer you to SBA. SBA disaster loans are the primary source of money to pay for repair or replacement costs not fully covered by insurance or other compensation. Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property.

There are three ways to apply to SBA after you register with FEMA:

  • Call SBA at 800-659-2955. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call
  • Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
  • Apply by mail: Complete a paper application and mail it to SBA at
    14925 Kingsport Road, Ft. Worth TX 76155-2243.

Visit a Disaster Recovery Center for personal help. Locations are found at the FEMA DRC Locator or at SBA disaster loan.

For updates on the Arkansas response and recovery, follow the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (@AR_Emergencies) on Twitter and Facebook and adem.arkansas.gov. Additional information is available at fema.gov/disaster/4318.


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

(TNS) - Oakland, Calif., officials in this fire-ravaged city reacted with alarm Monday over a report by this news organization that almost 80 percent of firefighter referrals to inspect dangerous conditions went ignored over the last six years.

“It is horrifying,” Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said of the investigation’s findings. “In fact, one of the issues (the story) identified is how it gets decided who gets inspected.”

In early 2017, a few months after the Ghost Ship warehouse fire killed 36 people, Kaplan proposed reprioritizing which businesses get inspected. Kaplan said she had heard from residents who said their businesses received multiple inspections, while others were never inspected.



FedEx Corp has disclosed in a securities filing that its international delivery business, TNT Express BV, was significantly affected by the June 27 Petya cyberattack.

Apparently, the courier company did not have cyber insurance or any other insurance that would cover losses from Petya, according to this report by The Wall Street Journal, via the I.I.I. Daily.

A new emerging risk report from Lloyd’s and risk modeling firm Cyence notes that cyberattacks have the potential to trigger billions of dollars of insured losses, yet there is a massive underinsurance gap.



Wednesday, 19 July 2017 16:35

Cyber protection gap akin to nat cat

The Business Continuity Institute

There’s no point in saying “it will never happen to me” as disruptions are always just around the corner, regardless of what sector or location you are in. This reality was brought home to us overnight as thunderstorms with strong winds and heavy rain swept across the south of England. The problem was exacerbated by dry weather in recent months leaving the ground hard, so rain water could not easily soak away, resulting in flash floods.

The aftermath was plain to see this morning – standing water, trees down and debris brought by the flooding scattered everywhere. Last night there were reports of the urgent need for sandbags as water levels rose, and several local restaurants had to be evacuated as the water eventually did enter the building.

Of course there’s no reason to worry and BCI Central Office is in not in any danger of flooding. But it is a reminder that we, the BCI, along with every other organization, need to have a business continuity plan to deal with such events. What would have happened if flood water had entered the building, what would have happened if staff could not get to work because of travel disruptions, what would have happened if power had been cut off due to the storms? All these things need to be considered in advance if we are to remain a functional organization despite whatever disruption comes our way.

Thankfully we do have a business continuity programme in place, so should the worst happen then we will be prepared for it. For well over a year we have had a team made up of CBCIs and DBCIs working in Central Office, led by one of our Fellows and championed by a member of the Board.

The team have been working hard to ensure that threats and consequences are analysed, priority activities are declared, and processes are in place to make sure those priority activities can continue in the event of a disruption. To date it has worked, but we would never rest on our laurels and become complacent, rather we ensure it is an evolving process that continues to develop based on changes at Central Office, the result of actual disruptions, or the outcome of exercises.

This programme will be developed further as we are now recruiting for a dedicated business continuity professional to take it forward.

Business continuity is clearly important to our members, so it is vital that we practice what we preach and have a business continuity programme to be proud of, and we like to think we have achieved this.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute



Earlier this year, the world recognized World Backup Day (WBD) as a reminder to everyone that data is important and has to be protected. As part of the WBD recognition, Barracuda ran a series of blog posts on the reasons why companies lose data even when they do almost everything right.

As a follow up to our WBD activities, Barracuda conducted a survey of general technologists whose responsibilities include data protection and recovery. To be blunt, some of these results are alarming. In this article, we are going to run through the results, explain what they mean, and take a look at how to resolve these issues of concern.


As you know, ransomware is a global epidemic and is expected to cost over $5 billion in damages in 2017. Ransomware is a dangerous attack because it doesn’t just make a system unavailable; it renders the data unusable. This has already caused a great deal of trouble for healthcare institutions, government entities, law enforcement agencies, and of course, businesses all over the world. If you’ve fallen victim to a ransomware attack, there are only two ways to get your data back without paying the ransom: get a free decryptor from a service like this one, or fall back on your data protection strategy and recover your data.

Some victims have no choice other than to pay the ransom or lose their data. This is an unfortunate situation, because even if the ransom is a small amount, there are a number of problems with this course of action:

  • Criminals know you are willing to pay a ransom and are more likely to target you again
  • There is no way to know that the criminals will or can decrypt your data
  • Decryption might not work properly and you may lose data anyway
  • Law enforcement agencies and other authorities discourage rewarding the criminal by paying the ransom

You can leave your data decryption and recovery up to chance, or deploy a comprehensive strategy before the attack.

Data Protection and Recovery

There are a number of definitions for “data protection,” but the common theme is that it requires more than running a backup. Proper data protection is included in the security planning: it includes business continuity and disaster recovery planning, as well as the many security practices involved in preventing unauthorized access. The Barracuda survey focused on data recovery, which is ultimately what system administrators are trying to provide for their companies. Comprehensive data recovery involves data availability and data accessibility at all times.

Availability vs Accessibility

Let’s start with a quick overview of what these are. When we talk about the availability of a data backup, we’re talking about the data that is stored as a backup. In the case of a tape-based or a disk-based system, the data that is backed-up is available on the tape or on the disk.

Data accessibility refers to how easily it can be accessed for recovery. In our examples above, the data is not accessible unless the tape or disk is with a compatible system. Accessibility for that system may be close to 100% for an administrator in a server room, but may be reduced to zero while the administrator is off-site or away from a designated computer. Meanwhile, the availability of the data remains the same.

When questioned on the importance of availability and accessibility, 70.3% of respondents say that these two are equally important. This indicates that our respondents understand the value of the data as well as the value of recovering the data quickly, possibly from a remote location or even a mobile device.

Protecting Multiple Locations

Perhaps one of the reasons that so many respondents value accessibility as highly as availability is that 53.4% are responsible for data recovery in more than one location. That means that the majority of the respondents are working remotely at least some of the time. Their data recovery systems have to be accessible from more than one location and probably by more than one method.

50.6% of respondents say that their backups are cloud-based, and 76% of respondents replicate their data backups in the cloud. These numbers suggest that the 77.4% who say they have a disaster recovery plan are using the cloud for redundancy and accessibility. Cloud based data recovery is generally performed through a web browser with no need for special hardware.

The Bad News

There are two data points that cause some concern among the Barracuda data protection professionals. The first is that 81.2% of respondents do not test their data protection strategies more than once per year, and about half of that number do not test them at all. This could be a major pain point for these respondents. As we mentioned earlier, data recovery may be the only way to avoid paying a ransom that may or may not result in the decryption of data.

Another point to consider is that it’s good business to test the company resources. If the company has invested in the technology and planning to protect the data, then these things should be tested on a regular basis. User files change in value, applications are added or replaced, data is moved … these are all reasons to be testing backups more than once per year. Perhaps an application upgrade uses a new database instead of the old flat files. Perhaps a new application was never added to the data protection plan.

The second point here deals specifically with Office 365.  Nearly 66% of Office 365 administrators are relying on the Recycle Bin for backup. Only about 1/3 of our respondents are using a data protection solution to protect their Office 365 deployments.

The Microsoft Recycle Bin is a nice feature, but it’s job is to help the organization safeguard against accidental data loss. It’s not meant to be a data recovery solution. It doesn’t offer the features necessary to protect Exchange, Sharepoint, OneDrive, and the other services. Default retention times are not standard across services, so administrators may not even have the minimal protection that they expected. Data is non-recoverable once it is deleted or ages out of the Recycle Bin. Companies that have to work within compliance frameworks and liability requirements may find that the native Microsoft tools do not meet the regulatory standards.

What Next?

If you find yourself in one of the scenarios that we identified as “bad news,” don’t worry too much. These are things that can be fixed quickly, and then improved upon as you go along. You can start right now by evaluating your current data protection and recovery plan. Do you have one? Who is responsible for the deployment and management of the plan? Is the plan being tested? Are there any gaps between your recovery objectives and the capabilities of your data recovery solutions?

One of the most important questions for you to consider is whether your data protection and recovery plans are part of your security strategy? If you work in an environment where data protection is separate from security, it’s time to bring those two functions together. In the age of ransomware, they cannot be separated.

Rod Mathews is SVP & GM, Data Protection Business at Barracuda Networks.  Connect with him on LinkedIn here

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 16:09

Data Recovery in the Age of Ransomware

The Business Continuity Institute

One in eight global business decision makers believe that poor information security is the ‘single greatest risk’ to the business, according to a study by NTT Security, which also found that 57% believe a data breach to be inevitable at some point.

The 2017 Risk:Value Report highlighted that the impact of a breach will be two-fold, with respondents expecting a breach to affect their long-term ability to do business, together with short-term financial losses. More than half (55%) cite loss of customer confidence, damage to reputation (51%) and financial loss (43%), while 13% admit staff losses and 9% say senior executive resignations would impact them.

56% of business decision makers say their organization has a formal information security policy in place, up from 52% in 2015. Just over a quarter (27%) are in the process of implementing one, while 1% have no policy or plans to do so. However, while the vast majority (79%) say their security policy has been actively communicated internally, a minority (39%) says employees are fully aware of it. Germany and Austria (85%) are above average in communicating the policy, together with the US (84%) and the UK (83%).

Less than half (48%) of organizations have an incident response plan, although 31% are implementing one. But just 47% of decision maker respondents are fully aware of what the incident response plan includes.

The study also found that many global business decision makers are still unaware of the implications of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as well as other compliance regulations, with one in five admitting they do not know which regulations their organization is subject to. Just four in ten (40%) respondents globally believe their organization will be subject to the EU GDPR.

Coming into force in May 2018, the legislation leaves companies with less than a year to comply with strict new regulations around data privacy and security and could result in penalties of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover, whichever is higher.

With data management and storage a key component of the GDPR, the report also reveals that a third of respondents do not know where their organization’s data is stored, while just 47% say all of their critical data is securely stored. Of those who know where their data is, fewer than half (45%) describe themselves as ‘definitely aware’ of how new regulations will affect their organization’s data storage.

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.

“In an uncertain world, there is one thing organizations can be sure of and that’s the need to mark the date of 25 May 2018 in their calendars," according to Garry Sidaway, SVP Security Strategy & Alliances at NTT Security. “While the GDPR is a European data protection initiative, the impact will be felt right across the world for anyone who collects or retains personally identifiable data from any individual in Europe. Our report clearly indicates that a significant number do not yet have it on their radar or are ignoring it. Unfortunately many organizations see compliance as a costly exercise that delivers little or no value, however, without it, they could find themselves losing business as a result, or paying large regulatory fines."

The Business Continuity Institute

Employees at 40% of businesses across the globe hide IT security incidents in order to avoid punishment, according to a study conducted by Kapersky Lab, and the dishonesty is most challenging for larger-sized businesses. 45% of enterprises (over 1,000 employees) experience employees hiding cyber security incidents, with 42% of SMBs (50 to 999 employees), and only 29% of VSBs (under 49 employees).

The report - Human Factor in IT Security: How Employees are Making Businesses Vulnerable from Within - revealed that not only are employees hiding incidents, but also that the uninformed or careless employees are one of the most likely causes of a cyber security incident - second only to malware. While malware is becoming more and more sophisticated each day, the surprising reality is that the evergreen human factor can pose an even greater danger. 46% of IT security incidents are caused by employees each year - that’s nearly half of the business security issues faced triggered by employee behaviour.

Staff hiding the incidents that they have encountered may lead to dramatic consequences for businesses, increasing the overall damage caused. Even one unreported event could indicate a much larger breach, and security teams need to be able to quickly identify the threats they are up against to choose the right mitigation tactics.

“The problem of hiding incidents should be communicated not only to employees, but also to top management and HR departments,” said Slava Borilin, security education program manager at Kaspersky Lab. “If employees are hiding incidents, there must be a reason why. In some cases, companies introduce strict, but unclear policies and put too much pressure on staff, warning them not to do this or that, or they will be held responsible if something goes wrong. Such policies foster fears, and leave employees with only one option - to avoid punishment whatever it takes. If your cyber security culture is positive, based on an educational approach instead of a restrictive one, from the top down, the results will be obvious.”

Borilin also recalls an industrial security model, where a reporting and ‘learn by mistake’ approach are at the heart of the business. For instance, in his recent statement, Tesla’s Elon Musk requested every incident affecting worker safety to be reported directly to him, so that he can play a central role in change.

The fear businesses have of being put at risk from within is clear in the results of the survey, with the top three cyber security fears all related to human factors and employee behaviour. Businesses worry the most about employees sharing inappropriate data via mobile devices (47%), the physical loss of mobile devices exposing their company to risk (46%) and the use of inappropriate IT resources by employees (44%).

While advanced hackers might always use custom-made malware and high-tech techniques to plan a heist, they will likely start with exploiting the easiest entry point - human nature. According to the research, every third (28%) targeted attack on businesses in the last year had phishing/social engineering at its source. Sophisticated targeted attacks do not happen to organizations every day - but conventional malware does strike at mass. Unfortunately though, the research also shows that even where malware is concerned, unaware and careless employees are also often involved, causing malware infections in more than half (53%) of incidents that occurred globally.#

The human element of cyber security was the key focus of Business Continuity Awareness Week 2017, organized by the Business Continuity Institute, with the report published by the BCI identifying the simple steps that everyone can take in order to play a part in improving cyber security.

“Cyber criminals often use employees as an entry point to get inside the corporate infrastructure. Phishing emails, weak passwords, fake calls from tech support - we’ve seen it all,” said David Jacoby, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “Even an ordinary flash card dropped in the office parking lot or near the secretary’s desk could compromise the entire network - all you need is someone inside, who doesn’t know about, or pay attention to security, and that device could easily be connected to the network where it could reap havoc.”

The case of Code Spaces still echoes in cyberspace. Code Spaces offered cloud facilities to developers and had a successful business model, until it became the target of a cyberattack.

The attack started as a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack. Strangely enough, Code Spaces was alerted by the attacker to the possibility of stopping the attack by messages that the attacker left on the Code Spaces internal console, showing that the attacker had already penetrated Code Spaces systems.

When Code Spaces attempted to oust the attacker, the attacker retaliated by deleting large portions of Code Space data, and causing irreparable and fatal damage to the company, whose backup strategy failed to save it. So, what went wrong?



4 Techniques for Auditors

Data analytics has been discussed by the audit community for decades. Auditors and other assurance professionals of a certain age might well remember “computer-assisted auditing techniques,” better known as CAATs. Data analytics and CAATs were supposed to revolutionize audit and usher in an era of greater efficiency and audit coverage. Yet, despite the hype, this revolution never seemed to materialize.

Now the hype has shifted to advanced analytics techniques, such as predictive analytics, and related areas such as machine learning and robotics. While these tools and techniques will surely become very important, today’s typical audit department needs to first focus on getting the basics right.

This is the year data analytics in audit is truly taking off. CEB, now Gartner, recently conducted a survey comprising more than 270 global audit departments. We surveyed analytics use in 34 risk areas, ranging from fraud to M&A, and found that while the average organization has been using analytics for a year or longer in just six of them, they plan to apply analytics in the remaining 28 over the next year. Furthermore, 2017 marks the first time a typical audit department will use analytics in most phases of the engagement process, as well as in audit planning and the annual risk assessment.



Tuesday, 18 July 2017 15:51

Data Analytics Becomes Reality

The watchword for business continuity (BC) now and in the coming years will be complexity.

Evolutions in technology, organizational structure, banking, leadership, the global economy, and practically every existing discipline have begun to outstrip traditional methods that hoped to address and contain such complexity. As our everyday work moves from simple and complicated contexts (as envisioned by Ralph D. Stacey and explicated by Snowden and Boone) into complex contexts, we must create new approaches to function within the complexity. The Agile framework for project management is one such example of a new approach that embraces and thrives within complex contexts.

BC has begun to struggle with the reality of increasing complexities. Detailed recovery scripts, time-consuming BIA data collection, binders of documentation, and a linear lifecycle relatively unchanged since Y2K seem inefficient and outdated in this “Agile Age” of rapid acquisitions, social media, blockchain, holacracies, and the internet of things. The stark unpredictability of disasters combined with the nearly unimaginable constitution of the near future should give pause to anyone who believes BC can be done properly by just anyone armed with an internet template.

There is a way for BC to evolve to meet these challenges. First, it must establish a robust, theoretical foundation for the discipline, moving beyond an ad hoc collection of “professional practices.” Second, it must identify and implement alternative approaches that are nonlinear, iterative, and adaptive. Third, practitioners must find new and better ways to share proven practices with each other, and to offer real critique of both new and old practices. Fourth, the best BC professionals will no longer frame their work in terms of plans, but now in terms of portfolios, an evolving collection of recovery capabilities that can be brought to bear in times of adversity and disaster.

In this lecture, I provide an approach to establish a Business Continuity Portfolio Management Office (BC PMO). While this very brief presentation covers a lot of material (perhaps too much), it contains almost all the necessary theoretical and practical elements to provide a proper foundation for those who will create the very first BC PMOs in the industry.

– David Lindstedt, PhD, PMP, CBCP

David Lindstedt is the founder of Readiness Analytics, an organization focused on metrics, measures, and KPIs for recovery capabilities. Dr. Lindstedt is the co-author (along with Mark Armour) of the "Adaptive BC Manifesto and the Adaptive Business Continuity." He is also the creator of several supporting web sites including AdaptiveBCP.org, ReadinessTest.com, and Jeomby.com. Dr. Lindstedt has published in international journals and presented at numerous international conferences. He taught for Norwich University's Master of Science in Business Continuity Management.

The Business Continuity Institute

In the context of the manufacturing industry, business continuity is about ensuring products continue to reach and be delivered to customers, regardless of any internal problems or issues as that arise.

Like all businesses, manufacturers need to identify their critical value adding business activities and processes, focus on keeping them operational or getting them back to full operational capacity in a set time frame, regardless of the issues. This will then maintain the product delivery to the end consumers.

The basic principle of a manufacturer is to convert inputs (raw materials, ingredients, chemicals) into an output/product for sale. This is achieved by inputs undergoing transformational processes along the production line which add value at each stage. Labour, machinery and other tools combine to produce this production capability and thus, by the end of the whole production line, there is a product ready for sale.

What does a manufacturer need to consider to ensure business continuity?

To run a manufacturing production line effectively, you need to avoid disruptions in three key areas;

  • Staffing
  • Materials/Inputs
  • Machinery


In manufacturing, staff are needed to maintain and control the production line, ensure it stays operational and to spot early warning signs of any problems. Staff are integral in keeping the production line functional.

Ensuring staff have the proper training needed is vital to operational success. Lack of training amongst staff will cause mistakes and cause disruptions anywhere along the production line. Investing time and money in preparing a training package for new and current staff will help minimize mistakes and disruption.

Cross-training should also be considered. Training staff across the full range of business activities will ensure business activity continues if at any time a vital member of staff were to leave, fall sick or take holidays at busy periods.

Efficient staff recruitment processes may also be of value. Losing a number of employees simultaneously will cause disruptions and increased pressure on remaining staff (again, highlighting the importance of cross-training). Having other options such as agency workers or temporary staff is much quicker and easier to implement in the short term, allowing business to continue until more permanent positions are filled.


Inputs and raw materials are particularly important for manufacturers because without inputs, there can be no final output which in turn means no sales.

If a manufacturer limits themselves to one supplier of a material, and that supplier is unable to supply the material needed, then the manufacturer is also unable to produce their products. Therefore, manufacturers should have a diverse supply chain. Sourcing multiple suppliers of raw materials will minimize the risk and impact on the manufacturing process. If the primary supplier is unable to supply, the manufacturer has secondary options and ensure business continues.

No business wants faulty goods as this may mean product recalls and tarnish the brand image. Faulty goods can be a direct result of poor quality materials or inputs. Therefore, manufacturers should implement a quality Inspection procedure upon receiving the materials. This will help to ensure the inputs are of the required standard the manufacturer desires and reducing disruptions further along the production process.

Other non-tangible aspects also must be considered. For example, electricity supply is paramount to a manufacturer as it powers the machinery and other processes. Without it, the whole business grinds to a halt. Having a back-up generator installed will ensure business and manufacturing activities continue despite of power shortages or prolonged power cuts.


It is essential that you have factory equipment and tools fully functioning to carry out the manufacturing process. As a result, maintaining and checking that equipment is safe to use to critical.

You need to spend enough to ensure your machinery and equipment meets regulatory standards, preventative maintenance is a must for all manufacturing businesses. Preventive maintenance works on the same principle as servicing your car, except that servicing factory machinery tends to be a lot more costly! This is very important. Waiting until the machine breaks means you’ve waited too long!

The harsh reality is that customers have little interest in understanding manufacturing problems. They react in the same way you react to your suppliers, all you care about is the fact that they’re late. Customers are the same, they need their products, and if they can’t get them from their chosen source they might just go elsewhere!

Michael Conway is a founding director of Renaissance Contingency Services since 1987. He established Renaissance as Ireland’s premier IT Security Distributor and leading Independent Business Continuity Consultancy provider.

The Business Continuity Institute

Despite the increasing number of data breaches and nearly 1.4 billion data records being lost or stolen in 2016, the vast majority of IT professionals still believe perimeter security is effective at keeping unauthorised users out of their networks, according to a study by Gemalto.

The Data Security Confidence Index showed that businesses feel that perimeter security is keeping them safe, with most (94%) believing that it is quite effective at keeping unauthorised users out of their network. However, 65% are not extremely confident their data would be protected, should their perimeter be breached, a slight decrease on last year (69%). Despite this, nearly 6 in 10 (59%) organizations report that they believe all their sensitive data is secure.

According to the research findings, 76% said their organization had increased investment in perimeter security technologies such as firewalls, IDPS, antivirus, content filtering and anomaly detection to protect against external attackers. Despite this investment, two thirds (68%) believe that unauthorised users could access their network, rendering their perimeter security ineffective.

These findings suggest a lack of confidence in the solutions used, especially when over a quarter (28%) of organizations have suffered perimeter security breaches in the past 12 months. The reality of the situation worsens when considering that, on average, only 8% of data breached was encrypted.

Businesses' confidence is further undermined by over half of respondents (55%) not knowing where their sensitive data is stored. In addition, over a third of businesses do not encrypt valuable information such as payment (32%) or customer (35%) data. This means that, should the data be stolen, a hacker would have full access to this information, and can use it for crimes including identify theft, financial fraud or ransomware.

"It is clear that there is a divide between organizations' perceptions of the effectiveness of perimeter security and the reality," said Jason Hart, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Data Protection at Gemalto. "By believing that their data is already secure, businesses are failing to prioritize the measures necessary to protect their data. Businesses need to be aware that hackers are after a company's most valuable asset – data. It's important to focus on protecting this resource, otherwise reality will inevitably bite those that fail to do so."

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becoming enforceable in May 2018, organizations must understand how to comply by properly securing personal data to avoid the risk of administrative fines and reputational damage. However, over half of respondents (53%) say they do not believe they will be fully compliant with GDPR by May next year. With less than a year to go, businesses must begin introducing the correct security protocols in their journey to reaching GDPR compliance, including encryption.

Hart continues, "Investing in cyber security has clearly become more of a focus for businesses in the last 12 months. However, what is of concern is that so few are adequately securing the most vulnerable and crucial data they hold, or even understand where it is stored. This is standing in the way of GDPR compliance, and before long the businesses that don't improve their cyber security will face severe legal, financial and reputational consequences."

The scale of the cyber threat is well known to business continuity and resilience professionals who identified cyber attacks and data breaches as their top two concerns, according to the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report. It cannot be emphasised enough, just how important it is for organizations to have plans in place to respond to such incidents and help lessen their impact.

The Business Continuity Institute

3 in 10 (29%) travel managers report they do not know how long it would take to locate affected employees in a crisis, according to a new study by the GBTA Foundation, the research and education arm of the Global Business Travel Association, in partnership with Concur.

The study revealed that, overall, one-half (50%) of travel managers say, in the event of an emergency, they can locate all of their employees in the affected area within two hours or less. Additionally, three in five (60%) travel managers rely on travelers to reach out if they need help and have not booked through proper channels.

“Research reveals significant gaps in educating travelers about resources available to them and the existence of protocols should the unforeseen happen,” said Kate Vasiloff, GBTA Foundation Director of Research. “Failing to establish and communicate safety measures leaves travelers and organizations vulnerable. As both security threats and technology evolve, even the most robust protocols that once served companies well may now have weaknesses requiring immediate attention and modification.”

“With business travel and global uncertainties on the rise, companies today face more pressure than ever to ensure the safety of their travelers,” said Mike Eberhard, President of Concur. “If a crisis or incident occurs, it’s critical that businesses be prepared to quickly locate employees and determine who may need assistance.”

Travel managers play a key role in supporting travelers should disaster strike, which is why the vast majority (85%) of travel programmes include risk management protocols. Over the past two years, prevalence of domestic travel risk management protocols have increased to rival those of international travel. Despite this progress, there continues to be room for improvement as only three in five (62%) international travelers are given pre-travel information and even fewer (53%) are given information on local providers for medical and security assistance services before leaving the country.

Once it has been determined travelers are in an area experiencing a security threat, every minute spent trying to get in touch could be putting them in greater risk. Live personal calls (58%) and automated emails to business addresses (52%) are the most popular methods of communicating with travelers in an emergency.

Being able to communicate with employees during an emergency is a fundamental responsibility of the organization, either to ensure they are safe, or to pass on important advice. The Business Continuity Institute's latest Emergency Communications Report did deliver the encouraging news that most organizations (84%) do have some form of plan in place, although it did highlight that for those which don’t, two thirds (64%) felt that only a business-affecting event would incentivise them to develop one.

Creating Situational Awareness

Several prominent Wall Street firms are transitioning to a cognitive risk management environment. The changes they’ve made are significant, but there’s still work to be done. James Bone asserts that a more comprehensive approach is needed: one that includes intentional control design and machine learning – technology to help humans become more productive.

In my previous articles, I introduced human-centered risk management and the role cognitive risk governance should play in designing the risk and control environment outcomes you want to achieve.  One of the key outcomes was briefly described as situational awareness, which includes the tools and ability to recognize and address risks in real time.  In this article, I will delve deeper into how to redesign the organization using cognitive tools while re-imagining how risks will be managed in the future.  Before I explore “the how,” let’s take a look at what is happening right now.

This concept is not some futuristic state!  On the contrary, this is happening in real-time.  BNY Mellon, one of the oldest firms on Wall Street, has started a transformation to a cognitive risk governance environment.  Mellon is not the only Wall Street titan leading this charge.  JPMorgan, BlackRock and Goldman Sachs are hiring Silicon Valley talent among others to transform banking, in part, to remain competitive and to strategically reduce costs, innovate and build scale not possible with human resources.  The banks have taken a very targeted approach to solve specific areas of opportunity within the firm and are seeking new ways to introduce innovation to customer service and new product development and to create efficiencies that will have profound implications for risk, audit, compliance and IT now and in the foreseeable future.



IBM’s latest z Series mainframe, unveiled today, has a novel security feature the company says users have long wanted but couldn’t get: the ability to easily encrypt all their data, at rest or in motion, with just one click.

The 14th-generation mainframe, called IBM Z, introduces a new encryption engine that for the first time will allow organizations to encrypt all data in their databases, applications, or cloud services, with no performance hit, said Mike Perera, VP of IBM’s z Systems Software unit, in an interview with Data Center Knowledge.

“It’s a security breakthrough that now makes it possible to protect all the data, all the time,” he said. “And we’re really doing it for the first time at scale, which has not been done up to this point, because it’s been incredibly challenging and expensive to do.”



FDA late last year published new guidance documenting postmarket management of cybersecurity in medical devices. It seems prudent to recognize this guidance for exactly what it is: a wake-up call for the medical industry that we are in the 21st century and the potential for hacking any medical device, whether it is connected to a network or not, is a problem that must be taken seriously. In the guidance, FDA provides the means of demonstrating a risk-based management approach to cybersecurity and medical devices. The agency also provides mitigation and reporting requirements that are governed by other sections of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) pertaining to medical devices. So, while some may argue that this guidance has no teeth and cannot be enforced, if a patient is harmed or put at risk by a potential cybersecurity vulnerability, what company's attorneys are going to argue that their client chose to ignore potential cybersecurity impacts on their medical device because they felt the guidance “didn't have any teeth”?



Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials today announced funding awards for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Program to Prepare Communities for Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks (CCTA Program). The CCTA Program will provide $35.94 million to selected recipients to improve their ability to prepare for, prevent, and respond to complex coordinated terrorist attacks in collaboration with the whole community.

Terrorist incidents, such as those in London, England; Boston, Massachusetts; Nairobi, Kenya; San Bernardino, California; Paris, France; and Brussels, Belgium, highlight an emerging threat known as complex coordinated terrorist attacks. The FY 2016 CCTA Program is intended to enhance resilience and build capacity for jurisdictions to address complex coordinated terrorist attacks that may occur across the nation.

The selected recipients will receive funding specifically to develop and implement effective, sustainable, and regional approaches for enhancing preparedness for complex coordinated terrorist attacks, which include the following components: identifying capability gaps, developing and/or updating plans, training to implement plans and procedures, and conducting exercises to validate capabilities.

Applications were reviewed and scored independently by a peer review panel composed of subject matter experts representing federal, state, local, territorial and tribal organizations that have experience and/or advanced training in complex coordinated terrorist attacks. Awards were made on a competitive basis to applicants who presented an ability to successfully meet the requirements described in the NOFO, taking into how well the applicant demonstrated:

    • A need for funding support;
    • Effective, sustainable and regional approaches;
    • The proposed project’s impact that presents an increase in the jurisdiction’s preparedness and resilience to complex coordinated terrorist attacks once the project is implemented; and
    • A reasonable and cost-effective budget.


FY 2016 CCTA Program funding is awarded to the following recipients:

  • Arlington County Government (Va.): $1,244,890
  • City of Aurora (Ill.): $1,373,809
  • City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (Ill.): $699,502
  • City of Dallas (Texas): $925,000
  • City of Houston (Texas): $1,759,733
  • City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Public Safety (Calif.): $1,223,225
  • City of Miami (Fla.): $723,260
  • City of Phoenix (Ariz.): $1,565,000
  • City of Winston-Salem (N.C.): $1,868,050
  • Durham County (N.C.): $931,500
  • East-West Gateway Council of Governments (Ill./Mo.): $1,474,716
  • Franklin County (Ohio) : $829,725
  • Galveston County (Texas): $976,896
  • Hawaii Department of Defense (Hawaii): $492,800
  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency (Ill.): $1,214,024
  • Indiana Department of Homeland Security (Ind.): $2,024,833
  • King County (Wash.): $1,516,723
  • Knox County (Tenn.): $536,250
  • Maryland Emergency Management Agency (Md.): $2,098,575
  • Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (D.C./Va.): $595,098
  • Mid-America Regional Council (Mo.): $2,251,502
  • New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (N.Y.): $1,379,048
  • San Bernardino County (Calif.): $1,334,751
  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (S.C.): $1,530,020
  • South East Texas Regional Planning Commission (Texas): $1,076,336
  • Texas Department of Public Safety (Texas): $659,556
  • Unified Fire Authority of Greater Salt Lake (Utah): $1,043,800
  • Virginia Department of Emergency Management (Va.): $2,001,568
  • Wisconsin Emergency Management (Wis.): $589,810

Follow FEMA online atwww.fema.gov/blog, http://www.twitter.com/fema, http://www.facebook.com/fema, and http://www.youtube.com/fema.

The Business Continuity Institute

A major global cyber attack has the potential to trigger $53 billion of economic losses, roughly the equivalent to a catastrophic natural disaster like 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, according to a scenario described in new research by Lloyd’s and Cyence.

Counting the cost: Cyber exposure decoded reveals the potential economic impact of two scenarios: a malicious hack that takes down a cloud service provider with estimated losses of $53 billion, and attacks on computer operating systems run by a large number of businesses around the world which could cause losses of $28.7 billion. By comparison, Superstorm Sandy, the second costliest tropical cyclone on record, is generally considered to have caused economic losses between $50 billion and $70 billion.

The study also revealed that, while demand for cyber insurance is increasing, the majority of these losses are not currently insured, leaving an insurance gap of tens of billions of dollars.

Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd’s, said: “This report gives a real sense of the scale of damage a cyber-attack could cause the global economy. Just like some of the worst natural catastrophes, cyber events can cause a severe impact on businesses and economies, trigger multiple claims and dramatically increase insurers’ claims costs. Underwriters need to consider cyber cover in this way and ensure that premium calculations keep pace with the cyber threat reality.

For the cloud service disruption scenario, average economic losses range from US$4.6 billion from a large event to $53 billion for an extreme event. This is the average in the scenario, because of the uncertainty around aggregating cyber losses this figure could be as high as $121 billion or as low as $15 billion. Meanwhile, average insured losses range from US$620 million for a large loss to US$8.1 billion for an extreme loss.

In the mass software vulnerability scenario, the average losses range from US$9.7 billion for a large event to US$28.7 billion for an extreme event. And the average insured losses range from US$762 million to US$2.1 billion.

The uninsured gap could be as much as $45 billion for the cloud services scenario – meaning that less than a fifth (17%) of the economic losses are actually covered by insurance. The insurance gap could be as high as $26 billion for the mass vulnerability scenario – meaning that just 7% of economic losses are covered.

The Business Continuity Institute

These days, most organizations that 'do' business continuity understand the importance of exercising and testing. Many have comprehensive exercising and testing programmes, which include crisis/incident management exercises, IT recovery tests and user relocation tests, amongst others.

It's not unusual for IT recovery testing to be done out of hours, in order to minimise any risk or impact to the business. The same is sometimes true of user relocation testing. But crisis or incident management exercises are almost always conducted during office hours.

The main reason is that exercising during office hours is more convenient, both for the participants and the facilitators, and there's usually (although not always) more chance of getting the key players to attend.

But exercising during the working day also has some distinct disadvantages. It doesn't, for instance, simulate in any meaningful way a situation where those key players have to deal with a major issue when they're already tired after a busy day's work. It doesn't test out of hours access to facilities or people. And out of hours is precisely when small incidents have a nasty habit of turning into bigger incidents, usually exacerbated by the fact that the right people aren't around to nip them in the bud.

Organizations with a mature crisis/incident management exercising programme should give serious consideration to carrying out the occasional out of hours exercise. This may be a little unpopular at first, until participants get the point, so rather than going the whole hog and starting your next exercise at 2am on a Sunday, perhaps a 7pm start on a weekday would be slightly more palatable.

There may be some moans and groans at first, but these are likely to be far outweighed by the resulting improvements to your crisis/incident management capability.

Andy Osborne is the Consultancy Director at Acumen, and author of Practical Business Continuity Management. You can follow him on Twitter and his blog or link up with him on LinkedIn.

Monday, 17 July 2017 14:01

BCI: All in good time

The Business Continuity Institute

One in three (32%) security professionals lack effective intelligence to detect and action cyber threats, according to a new study from Anomali, which also revealed that almost a quarter (24%) believe they are at least one year behind the average threat actor. Half of this sample admitted they are trailing by two to five years. This confirms that many organizations are not adequately mitigating cyber risks.

The survey also signals that organizations struggle to detect malicious activity at the earliest stage of a breach, or learn from past exposures, which leaves numerous vulnerabilities undiscovered. Almost one in five (17%) of respondents haven’t invested in any threat detection tools such as security information and event management (SIEM), paid or open threat feeds, or User and Entity Behaviour Analytics (UEBA).

The findings of this study also demonstrate the need for organizations to possess an effective business continuity programme. If security professionals aren't able to detect or prevent cyber threats, then organization must have plans in place to deal with those that do get through to ensure they are not disruptive to operations.

Successful cyber attacks are not 'smash and grab' type of events. Rather, cyber criminals typically lurk undetected inside enterprises’ IT systems for 200 days or more before discovery. During this time attackers gain access inside the network, escalate privileges, search for high value information, and ultimately exfiltrate data or perform other malicious activities. This ‘200 day problem’ is an ever-present danger, but survey respondents rarely examine historical records to discover whether a threat actor has entered their system. Just 20% consult past logs daily, 20% weekly, 14% monthly and 22% said never or don’t even know how often. This results in multiple missed opportunities to help prevent a breach.

“The ‘200 day problem’ arises from the fact that logs are produced in such massive quantities that typically only 30 days are retained and running searches over long time ranges can take hours or even days to complete,” says Jamie Stone, Vice President, EMEA at Anomali. “Detecting a compromise at the earliest stage possible can identify suspicious or malicious traffic before it penetrates the network or causes harm. It’s imperative to invest in technologies security teams can use to centralise and automate threat detection, not just daily but against historical data as well.”

The Business Continuity Institute

A large proportion of businesses fail to adequately protect their networks from the potential threat posed by ex-employees, with IT decision makers surveyed as part of a study by OneLogin claiming that over half (58%) of former employees can still access the corporate network. The study also found that nearly a quarter (24%) of UK businesses have experienced data breaches by ex-employees.

Nearly all (92%) of respondents admitted to spending up to an hour on manually deprovisioning former employees from every corporate application. Half (50%) of respondents are not using automated deprovisioning technology to ensure an employee’s access to corporate applications stops the moment they leave the business. This deprovisioning burden may explain why over a quarter (28%) of ex-employee’s corporate accounts remain active for a month or more.

Also, the study revealed 45% of businesses don’t use a Security Information and Event Manager (SIEM) to audit for application usage by former employees, leaving vital corporate data exposed to potential leaks.

“The sheer level of data breaches revealed by our study, coupled with the revelation that many businesses are failing to put simple processes in place to promptly deprovision ex-employees, should raise serious alarm bells for business leaders,” said Alvaro Hoyos, Chief Information Security Officer at OneLogin. “Our study suggests that many businesses are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to this basic, but significant, threat to valuable data, revenue and brand image. There should be no excuse for this negligence, which will be brought further into the spotlight when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect in 2018. GDPR makes data protection a legal requirement for organisations, which could face fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their annual turnover, depending on which is higher.”

“With this in mind, businesses should proactively seek to close any open doors that could provide rogue ex-employees with opportunities to access and exploit corporate data. Tools such as automated de-provisioning and SIEM will help close those doors with ease and speed, while also enabling businesses to manage and monitor all use of corporate applications. The first step is acknowledging the problem, which businesses now have done by confessing they are aware of the issue, they now need to take steps to fix this issue by utilising the available tools,” concludes Hoyos.

The Business Continuity Institute

“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair,” or so the quote says. While there may be a degree of flexibility with those timings, the principle that it takes much longer to build a reputation than to break it is absolute. Reputation means a lot to organizations and constitutes a significant proportion of its value.

I have been reading a lot of articles recently about reputation and the number of organizations that have had their reputation damaged, sometimes through no fault of their own.

We published an article recently about false claims against travel operators and the affect these claims, however inaccurate they are, can have on the reputation of the business. Why would you go on holiday with a travel operator that has a high rate of sickness among its guests?

There was a story this morning published by the BBC that discussed how it will take a generation for Chelsea and Kensington Council to be trusted again following the Grenfell Tower fire. When people feel so let down by an organization, especially in a situation when lives have been lost, it is not easy to forget that and move on.

And we are inundated with stories of organizations that have experienced a data breach and consumers beginning to question why it cannot protect its data.

Damage to reputation can be devastating for an organization and perhaps the most famous story of all when it comes to reputation and the sudden loss of it, is that of Ratners, the high street jewellers. In his speech to the Institute of Directors, the chief executive of the company – Gerald Ratner – included the line:

"We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?", I say, "because it's total crap."

The next day the share price plummeted and the company was on the brink of collapse.

It is this potentially disastrous impact that damage to your reputation can have that makes it a business continuity issue. Of course, that’s not to say that reputation management is the responsibility of the business continuity department, because clearly it’s not. But it is something that the business continuity department can play a role in.

Arguably loss of trust should be considered in the same light as loss of IT, loss of power, loss of building etc. The organization needs to consider what the potential impact could be, how the impact could be mitigated against, and what mechanisms could be put in place to ensure the organization continues to operate effectively and prevent it from being too disruptive

This is perhaps the perfect example of what we at the BCI have been speaking a lot about recently - management disciplines cannot work in silos any longer. On matters of reputation business continuity professionals should be engaging with communications professionals to ensure that crisis communications plans are in place and that the organization is prepared.

Is that easier said than done? Are we making progress in this respect? Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 15:56

BCI: Protecting your reputation

The Business Continuity Institute

Internet speeds are getting faster all the time with Internet Service Providers competing with each other to offer the fastest connections that can enable users to download entire videos in just seconds. But could that be about to change? Could ISPs have more control over the download speeds they offer? Ultimately, does this mean that ISPs could have more control over what we are able to download?

On the 12th July, tens of thousands of organizations will be joining a day of protest in support of net neutrality, the principle that ISPs treat everyone’s data equally, and they don’t get to vary the download speeds depending on the source of the data, or block sites altogether. The principle of net neutrality has often been described as 'first amendment of the internet' as it is about ensuring equality of access to online information.

In February 2015, during the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States voted to strictly regulate ISPs and enshrine in law the principles of net neutrality. The vote reclassified wireless and fixed-line broadband service providers as title II 'common carriers', which gave the FCC the ability to set rates, open up access to competitors and more closely regulate the industry. Two years on however, and Trump’s new FCC chairman - Ajit Pai, previously a lawyer at one of the major ISPs, is attempting to overturn that decision.

Removing net neutrality could allow ISPs to create special fast lanes for content providers they have arranged deals with, or perhaps more of a concern is that they could slow down traffic from content providers who are considered rivals.

Even AT&T, previously opponents of net neutrality are claiming to support the protest. Bob Quinn, Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs at the telecoms giant, commented: "We agree that no company should be allowed to block content or throttle the download speeds of content in a discriminatory manner. So, we are joining this effort because it’s consistent with AT&T’s proud history of championing our customers’ right to an open internet and access to the internet content, applications and devices of their choosing."

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 14:15

BCI: Day of protest over net neutrality

The Business Continuity Institute

When it comes to new spending, IT departments have two rather clear priorities - secure their data and continue the transition to the cloud, according to the Computer Economics annual IT spending and staffing benchmarks study 2017/2018.

Given the constant array of new threats facing IT departments every day, it is no surprise that security is a major priority. Malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, and security breaches are a near constant in the media, with the cost of repairing the damage and regaining customer trust also increasing. At the same time, cloud applications and infrastructure not only improved security but also improve budget flexibility, which allows IT departments to more effectively respond to the needs of the business.

A net 70% of IT organizations reported increased spending on security/privacy. Not a single company reported a decrease in such spending. A net 67% of respondents reported increased spending on cloud applications. A net 52% and 51% reported increases in spending on cloud infrastructure and business intelligence, big data, and data warehousing, respectively.

The lowest priority for new spending was disaster recovery/business continuity, with a net of 38% reporting increases. Despite being the lowest priority, the study did report a noticeable increase in disaster recovery/business continuity spending growth. Only 33% of respondents last year reported increased spending in this area compared to 38% this year.

“We’re also seeing a modest increase in outsourcing spending,” said David Wagner, vice president, research, at Computer Economics. “A net of 27%, up from 20% last year, are increasing their spending on outsourcing. We’re also seeing outsourcing budgets as a total percentage of IT spending increasing.”

The Business Continuity Institute

A global survey of executives found that most view the world as increasingly risky, with many reporting a “significant operational surprise” over the past five years. However, the majority of executives also report that their organizations are not developing more robust risk management processes to help counter this increasing risk. This is according to a study published jointly by NC State’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Initiative and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA).

The 2017 Global State of Enterprise Risk Oversight report revealed that approximately 60% of executives reported that the volume and complexity of their risks have increased over the past five years, though there was some variability across regions. 61% of executives in Europe and the UK reported an increase, 55% in Asia/Australasia, 76% in Africa/Middle East, and 59% in the US.

“These findings are particularly timely, given the political, economic and social uncertainties that businesses are facing in the United States and abroad,” says Mark Beasley, co-author of a report on the survey results and director of the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Initiative at North Carolina State University.

“The increase in risks, and the operational surprises, are tied to the dynamic global business environment,” Beasley says. “For example, Europe and the UK have seen issues ranging from the Brexit vote to immigration challenges, while Africa and the Middle East have dealt with a wide variety of challenges, such as disruptions caused by the ongoing war in Syria and conflicts with ISIS. The US has been comparatively stable, but we seem to have entered a period of domestic political uncertainty – which is not reflected in the survey – and of course issues abroad can have significant effects on US organizations.”

Given these widespread surprises and perceived increase in risks, one might think that executives are embracing ERM processes to better protect their organizations. But the survey found that the level of risk management oversight is relatively immature.

“All organizations engage in risk management, but conventional risk management is done in silos, whereas the ERM approach allows for a holistic overview of risks across silos,” Beasley explains. “In other words, it helps executives identify risks that span multiple silos, or that fall into blind spots that an organization might otherwise miss.”

However, few executives said that their organizations had put thorough ERM processes in place. For example, while 53% of executives in Europe reported increasing risks, only 21% reported having complete ERM processes in place. And only 24% of executives in the Africa region reported complete ERM processes, with the number rising to 26% in the US and 30% in the Asia region. In addition, 80% of executives surveyed reported that their organizations don’t conduct any formal risk management training for their executives.

“We’re seeing a major disconnect between how organizations perceive their challenges and how they are responding to them,” Beasley says. “However, we also found that boards of directors, especially outside the US, are calling for executives to be more proactive about addressing potential risks,” Beasley says.

Specifically, the survey asked executives whether their boards of directors were asking for “increased senior executive involvement in risk oversight.” 56% of executives in Europe said yes, with the number rising to 59% in the Africa region and 70% in the Asia region. But only 38% of survey respondents in the US reported the same pressure.

CEOs are becoming increasingly frustrated by organizations that over-emphasize the short term. And CECP — a coalition of CEOs that believes societal improvement is an essential measure of business performance — took notice. CECP is trying to redirect investor behavior to focus less on short-term events and more on corporate frameworks that are capable of generating long-term growth.

Daryl Brewster, CEO of CECP, talked with Deloitte Advisory’s Mike Kearney about the organization’s mission and how companies can create long-term value by being socially conscious. The win-win? Doing good can also be good for business. It can help build brand, engage employees and identify new markets.

“This isn’t just charity. This is about good investment. It’s not going to pay back in a month — but most good things don’t. But it can really have a positive and huge impact on the company.”



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.

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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.

Friday, 07 July 2017 14:52

BCI: When the circus comes to town

Across the globe, severe weather is a fact of life. The type of weather condition and its severity may vary from location to location, but it’s unavoidable and your organization will likely be impacted by it at some degree at least once. Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, flooding, earthquakes, tropical storms, and much more have the potential to severely impact your business’ operations if you aren’t properly prepared.


Resiliency isn’t just about preparing your business continuity plan and checklist and having it in the hands of the managers and key stakeholders who need it, it’s about actively planning for the risks that may impact you and considering all possible outcomes. Once you’ve done all of that, a checklist can be developed to encompass what needs to be done regularly prior to a severe weather event, what needs to happen if a severe weather event occurs, and what needs to be done immediately following the natural disaster.

Without a team actively invested in the planning process, your business could face tremendous loss, not only in revenue but in work time, employees, etc. Severe weather events can, and often do, exact serious damage to assets, personnel, and day-to-day operations. More than that, your brand and the public perception of your organization are at risk, too. How you handle a natural disaster or crisis can make or break your place and/or reputation in the community.



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If anyone has ever been to the west coast of Scotland, you'll be well aware that rain is an inevitability, even during the supposed summer months. It was therefore to my surprise that I read about an outdoor Green Day concert, due to be held last night in Glasgow, that had to be cancelled due to "adverse weather".

It does make you wonder about the lack of forethought that some people have. Clearly safety has to be paramount, and if it's not safe for the concert to go ahead then it has to be cancelled. But should this not be considered in advance? Should the concert organizers not have thought that it might rain on the west coast of Scotland, so put plans in place to remedy any impact of this?

As a result, several thousand music fans were sent home disappointed with only a few hours to go before the concert was due to begin. They may get their tickets refunded, but will they get their travel and accommodation refunded? Unlikely. Several hundred workers on zero-hour contracts were sent home unpaid. Can they afford to give up their time and not get compensated for it? Unlikely. And, of course, the organizer will lose out on the revenue they would have received from the event, not to mention the reputational loss.

At the Business Continuity Institute we publish our Horizon Scan Report each year which outlines the main threats that organizations face. This report sets the baseline for what those threats are, but it's essential that organizations conduct their own horizon scan in order to assess the threats relevant to them - their sector, their location, their size or their specific circumstances. If you're hosting an outdoor concert on the west coast of Scotland, then weather should have been picked up as a potential issue.

The organizer should have considered that rain was a strong likelihood and then thought through the potential implications of this. The organizer should have looked at what mechanisms could be put in place to prevent rain from becoming a health and safety issue.

Our organizations face disruptions all the time, but with some basic preparation in advance, we can make them ready to face those disruptions so they don't become damaging.

But, if we are to help make our organizations more resilient then we need to plan ahead. We need to think through our activities and what the potential risks are. Finally we need to take action to ensure that, should those risks materialise, we can still function normally, or as close to it as possible.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute

Thursday, 06 July 2017 14:42

BCI: It always pays to plan ahead

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The UK remains an attractive place to live and work, but could face challenges in retaining large numbers of non-British workers, according to research by Deloitte, which also indicates significant changes in the UK labour market. Deloitte argues these changes will require a measured immigration approach, upskilling UK workers and making better use of automation for the UK to adapt successfully.

89% of non-British workers say they find the UK either quite attractive or highly attractive as a work destination and of those currently based outside the UK, 87% would consider moving to the UK if the right opportunity presented itself.

Highly-skilled non-EU citizens are the most likely to choose moving to the UK, 94% say they would move to the UK if they could, with 83% of highly-skilled EU citizens saying the same. Among less-skilled workers, 79% of EU nationals and 93% of non-EU nationals would consider moving to the UK.

For respondents based outside the UK, the UK ranked as the most desirable place to work with 57% of respondents placing it in their top three destinations, ahead of the US (30%), Australia (21%) and Canada (19%).

Respondents already in the UK were asked what attracted them to the UK. 51% put job opportunities in their top three choices, followed by cultural diversity (34%), better lifestyle (30%) and work-life balance (27%). For those outside the UK, 54% said job opportunities was a strength for the UK, followed by cultural diversity (43%) and work-life balance (40%). London was also cited by 37% of respondents as a strength, as was the UK’s global connections (30%).

Attitudes among non-UK citizens have shifted since the referendum on EU membership. 48% of migrant workers already in the UK see the country as being a little or significantly less attractive as a result of Brexit, compared to only 21% of workers outside the UK. Highly-skilled workers report the largest drop in the attractiveness of the UK. Of those currently living in the UK, 65% of highly-skilled EU workers and 49% of highly-skilled non-EU workers say the country is now less attractive. Among less-skilled workers, 42% of EU citizens and 25% of non-EU citizens say the country is now less attractive.

Overall, 36% of non-British workers in the UK say they are considering leaving the UK in the next five years, representing 1.2 million jobs out of 3.4 million migrant workers in the UK. 26% say they are considering leaving within three years.

Highly-skilled workers from EU countries are the most likely to consider leaving, with 47% considering leaving the UK in the next five years, versus 38% of highly-skilled non-EU workers. Among less-skilled workers, 27% of EU citizens and non-EU citizens say they are likely to leave in the next five years.

Overall, 58% of non-British workers say it will be difficult or very difficult to find a UK worker to replace them. This rises to 70% of highly-skilled EU workers and 56% of highly-skilled non-EU workers. Among less-skilled workers, 61% of EU workers, but only 33% of non-EU workers, say it will be difficult to replace them.

David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte North West Europe, said: “The UK remains a highly attractive place to work for people from around the world. Despite political and economic uncertainties, more people are attracted to live and work in the UK than anywhere else in the world. Nine out of ten overseas workers would consider moving to the UK if the right opportunity presents itself. The UK’s cultural diversity, employment opportunities and quality of life are assets that continue to attract the world’s best and brightest people.

“But overseas workers, especially those from the EU, tell us they are more likely to leave the UK than before. That points to a short to medium term skills deficit that can be met in part by upskilling our domestic workforce but which would also benefit from an immigration system that is attuned to the needs of the economy.”

Angus Knowles-Cutler, vice chairman and London senior partner, said: “The UK economy depends on migrant workers to plug gaps in both highly skilled and lower skilled jobs. If immigration and upskilling can help fill higher skill roles, automation can help to reduce reliance in lower skill positions. This will require careful consideration region by region and sector by sector, but there is a golden opportunity for UK workers and UK productivity if we get it right.”

The Business Continuity Institute

Staff at the Bank of England have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a ballot calling on their employer to give them a better pay deal. In the ballot, 95% voted for strike action which will be for the first time at the bank in over 50 years.

Unite has informed the Bank of England that its members working in the maintenance, parlours and security departments will be taking four days of strike action on 31st July, 1st, 2nd and 3rd August 2017. If both sides fail to resolve the pay dispute, the union will be consulting its members across other departments of the bank as part of the escalation plan.

"It is repeatedly said that staff are an organization's greatest asset, so if that is the case then we need to have plans in place to deal with their loss," said David Thorp, Executive Director at the Business Continuity Institute. "With the UK Government insistent that all public sector pay rises are to remain capped at 1%, it is likely that this will be the first of many strikes to be called across the country over the foreseeable future."

Unite regional officer Mercedes Sanchez said: “Staff at the Bank of England have made their anger clear by voting for strike action in July.  The result will be that the bank’s sites, including the iconic Threadneedle Street in the city of London will effectively be inoperable without the maintenance, parlours and security staff."

However, a spokesperson for the Bank of England responded that: "Should the strike go ahead, the Bank has plans in place so that all sites can continue to operate effectively.”

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As businesses increasingly become the target of sophisticated hacking attacks, there is a greater need for them to properly prepare themselves or face a hefty bill, including ‘slow burn’ costs such as reputational damage, litigation and loss of competitive edge. This is highlighted in a study by Lloyd's, produced in association with KPMG and DAC Beachcroft, which looks at the nature of the current cyber risk landscape as well as the top threats by industry sector.

Closing the gap – insuring your business against evolving cyber threats identifies ransomware – such as the WannaCry worldwide ransomware attack – as a rapidly increasing threat, together with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and CEO fraud. The analysis also highlighted that financial services firms are the most targeted by organized cyber crime, but that retail is also increasingly being targeted.

Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd’s, said: “The reputational fallout from a cyber breach is what kills modern businesses. And in a world where the threat from cyber crime is when, not if, the idea of simply hoping it won’t happen to you, isn’t tenable.

“To protect themselves businesses should spend time understanding what specific threats they may be exposed to and speak to experts who can help handle a breach, minimise reputational harm and arrange cyber insurance to ensure that the risks are adequately covered. By reacting swiftly to mitigate the impact of a cyber breach once it has occurred, companies will be able to minimise the immediate costs and their exposure to subsequent slow burn costs.”

Matthew Martindale, Director in KPMG’s cyber security practice, said: “Cyber risk has moved up in the business agenda and businesses are taking measures to prepare themselves. However, they are failing to factor in the long-term damage that a breach can cause and the cost implications of it. Dealing with things like reputational issues and litigation in the aftermath of a breach, can add substantial costs to the overall loss. Businesses really need to start thinking about the cyber risk holistically rather than one that is currently very short sighted.”

Hans Allnutt, Partner, Head of Cyber and Data Risk at DAC Beachcroft, said: “Whilst the immediate business impact of a breach could be significant for any organization, it may only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dealing with the legal consequences which may last months or even years. Once notified, it is not uncommon for regulatory investigations to take more than a year before they reach a conclusion. Subsequent litigation can take even longer, particularly because the law surrounding data security and privacy is a relatively evolving area. In one UK data protection case, it took three years and a failed appeal before the litigation was finally settled.”

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The nature and effects of the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester are broadening the industry's understanding of terrorism insurance, and could result in a permanent shift away from policies based on damage to property.

Traditionally, terrorism policies have tended to kick in when there is damage to the property of the insured. But the real damage caused by the 'lone wolf'-style tactics adopted by the attackers at Westminster, Manchester Arena and London Bridge was loss of life, injuries and significant disruption to local businesses. So-called 'denial of access' cover, for example, tends still to be linked to property damage.

Insurers must therefore focus on how business interruption cover is being extended beyond the realm of property damage. The development of contingent business interruption cover in response to recent earthquakes and floods that have affected global supply chains is a good example of an alternative approach, although even here there has to be an element of damage to the supplier of a business, if not to the business itself.

We are seeing the growth of business interruption products such as those available in the cyber market in relation to data breaches that lead to loss of profits and other intangibles. However, these products are still in the relatively early stages and need further development.

A recent report by Pool Re, the UK's government-supported terrorism risk reinsurer, described as "unprecedented" the three recent attacks in the UK.

Pool Re's analysis found that the attacks had many common features. All of them were undertaken by Islamist extremists and have been claimed by Daesh, although the claims have not yet been corroborated. All three attacks took place in crowded places, including tourist locations and social venues, where civilians were going about their day to day lives. The attacks seemed to be timed to maximise casualties, and civilians were indiscriminately targeted regardless of age, gender or nationality.

Attacks of this nature would have been completely unforeseeable when Pool Re was established in 1993, in response in part to the IRA bombing of the Baltic Exchange in London in April 1992. That attack, which killed three people, destroyed the Exchange building and caused huge property damage in the centre of the City of London.

In those days, terrorists used bombs and sophisticated weapons and acted together. As a result, insurers continue to view terrorism risk as the risks of an organised plot or threat for doing damage to property. The result is a recognised 'insurance gap' for business interruption arising for non-property damage.

The recent examples show how substantial that gap could be. The Insurance Insider (registration required) has estimated the value of Ariana Grande's claim for cancelled tour dates in London and mainland Europe following the Manchester Arena bombing at £300,000. Take That, who had to cancel three shows due to take place at the Manchester Arena that same week, could receive between £500,000 and £1 million to cover the cost of rescheduling the shows, according to the same report. Although property damage to the arena itself is likely, the cost of business interruption - particularly due to the closure of Manchester Victoria train station for a week - will ultimately be far more significant.

The question now is how quickly insurers might be able to adapt to these new realities. However, the global insurance market is not renowned for its speed of movement. Theresa May's government has tried to be quick to shape its regulatory approach to the needs of the insurance market - see, for example, its move to make it easier to underwrite insurance linked securities (ILS) in London - but political uncertainty following the recent election result, and the pressures on the government to negotiate the terms of Brexit, is likely to impact on future initiatives.

Nick Bradley is an insurance law expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com.

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Local authorities in the UK perceive themselves to be vulnerable in the face of cyber attacks, particularly in the wake of the recent ransomware attack on the NHS, with just over half (53%) of local authorities claiming they are prepared to deal with a cyber attack, according to a new study carried out by PwC.

While the latest PwC Global CEO survey found that 76% of UK CEOs are concerned about cyber threats, The Local State We’re In revealed that only 35% of local authority leaders are confident that their staff are well equipped to deal with cyber threats. Demonstrating how real those threats are, almost all (97%) of UK CEOs surveyed say they are currently addressing cyber breaches affecting business information or critical systems.

A parallel study of consumers, which asked about the performance of their local authority, found that only a third (34%) of respondents trusted their council to manage and share their data and information appropriately while there was a growing appetite for council services to be available online.

The research also surveyed councils’ confidence in their ability to maintain existing levels of local service delivery. While the majority of councils (68%) were confident about maintaining service delivery over the next 12 months, a mere 1 in 6 (16%) believed they could make necessary cost savings while maintaining existing levels of services over the next five years.

Commenting on the findings overall, Jonathan House, PwC partner said: “As councils look ahead to the future there will be new risks to manage, from the shift away from the uncertainties of grant funding, to an ever more demanding public. The recent ransomware attacks, and other high-profile incidents impacting them show some of these challenges.

“However councils have proved before their resilience and ability to deal with any challenge they are faced with. The survey data suggest that Councils have taken cost out of their operations - now the challenge is to manage and grow their capabilities - to utilise technology as a force for growth and to deliver citizens’ expectations of a digital organisation.”

When a crisis hits or your business is disrupted due to any unexpected event, the media will come a-knockin’. That’s why it’s so important to have a detailed, quality business continuity plan in place and to understand the role that the media play in the public’s perception of not only the crisis itself but how your organization handles it.


Making the media your ally is important in the immediate aftermath of a crisis or business disruption. The sooner you can respond with an official statement, the better off you’ll be, but the key with media is transparency. Your organization’s reputation is fragile in these moments and the public is quick to demand an honest, transparent response.

Remember, it is the media’s job to find the truth, so make their life and your recovery easier by being honest from the very beginning.



Let’s face it, cyber-crime is a very real threat globally in today’s working world. From small businesses to large corporations, the risk is real and the impact can be great. Look no further than the latest WannaCry attack that has impacted more than 230,000 victims in over 150 countries since it began. The malware locked up the files in organizations as sensitive as hospitals and has shone a blindingly bright spotlight on the vulnerability in our digital security systems.

So the question moves from “well what if?” to “how do I prevent this when?” As the probability of cyber-attack increases, how do you keep your business safe? Here are a few key things to implement.



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We have just published the latest version of our Cyber Resilience Report and one of the conclusions of the report was that business continuity professionals need to collaborate more with their cyber/information security colleagues. The report noted that if expertise and resources are pooled then resilience can be built in a much more coordinated way. That seems eminently sensible.

Going beyond just IT, in my own foreword within the report I mentioned that cooperation is key to building cyber and organizational resilience, and that different disciplines must come together, share intelligence and start speaking the same language if they want to build a safer future for their organizations and communities.

Is that stating the obvious? Is that something that is already happening? The BCM Futures Report we published last year along with PwC showed that 90% of business leaders believe that resilience is greater when functions such as risk management, business continuity, ITDR and security are joined up, but only 37% believe that these areas are appropriately joined up at the moment. That’s a significant gap between the two, a gap that we all need to put more effort into reducing.

When devising your business continuity programme, do you engage with the IT department on issues relating to cyber security? Do you work with facilities management on the response to your building being out of action? Do you engage with the security department on your response to a terrorist incident? Do you talk to your communications department on reputational issues? There is so much crossover in the work of a business continuity professional, that we need to make that crossover is being addressed. Otherwise it could lead to duplication of effort, or incomplete response plans.

Our current research project on megatrends looks at this issue in further detail, asking those working in the industry whether the different departments collaborate on both preparing for potential threats and responding to those threats materialising. From experience, and from listening to people within the industry, I very much get the impression that silos still exist, management disciplines still work in isolation, and lots more needs to be done. The initial responses to the megatrends survey seem to be quite mixed so far, and perhaps this is a fair reflection of the profession.

My challenge to those people working in the industry is to make sure you are engaging with the other management disciplines on a regular basis to ensure you are all coordinated, and are working together to improve the overall resiliency of the organization. The BCM Futures Report I mentioned earlier showed that about half of business continuity professionals already see this has becoming more important in the future, but I think we need to start increasing that percentage.

As an Institute, we need to do our bit too, so my challenge to us is to engage more with other professional associations working in the resilience space, and build relationships with these organizations from across the world. By working in partnership with others it will enable us to provide those in the resilience community with access to the right training, education and thought leadership.

As always, I would welcome your feedback. Are we already doing enough? Can we, or should we, be doing more? Please do share your thoughts.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute

The Business Continuity Institute

Despite ransomware being around for many years, with several high profile organizations suffering the consequences of such an attack, 57% of respondents to a survey carried out by Carbon Black said that WannaCry was their first exposure to how ransomware works.

Ransomware attacks have thrust cyber security onto the global stage in unprecedented fashion, with two recent attacks - WannaCry and NotPetya - rapidly spreading across the world and locking down thousands of networks. Organizations and individuals are now beginning to give greater consideration to how they would react if they were exposed to an attack, or if an organization they dealt with was exposed.

The Ransom-Aware Report noted that, while it’s never a good thing when 150 countries are simultaneously affected by a cyber attack, the increased awareness will only serve to incite positive action. Ransomware is certainly nothing new, but consumers are  increasingly turning to organizations with questions about how they are protecting sensitive data. Organizations, in turn, putting more effort into improving cyber security in order to protect their data and remain operational in the event of an attack.

For many consumers, losing trust in an organization could result in them taking their custom elsewhere. When presented with the statement: 'I would consider leaving my current financial institution / healthcare provider / retailer if my sensitive information was taken hostage by ransomware,' the study found that 72% of consumers said they would consider leaving their financial institution; 68% of consumers said they would consider leaving their healthcare provider; and 70% of consumers said they would consider leaving their retailer.

When respondents were asked if they would personally be willing to pay ransom money if their own computer and files were encrypted by ransomware, it was close to a dead heat with 52% of respondents saying they would pay and 48% saying they would not. Of the 52% who said they would pay: 12% said they would pay $500 or more, 29% said they would pay between $100 and $500, while 59% said they would pay less than $100 to get their data back.

The Business Continuity Institute's latest Cyber Resilience Report showed that two-thirds of organizations had experienced a cyber security incident during the previous year. With consumers giving a lot more attention to how organizations are responding to those incidents, it is essential that organizations have plans in place to respond effectively and prevent data being lost.

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On the day that the Business Continuity Institute launched its latest Cyber Resilience Report, the importance of ensuring our organizations are prepared for a cyber security incident has once again been demonstrated as a new ransomware attack is causing turmoil across the world.

The attack, dubbed NotPetya due to its similarities to a previous virus called Petya, has resulted in organizations worldwide having their data encrypted, with a demand made for the equivalent of about $300 to be paid in Bitcoin.

NotPetya uses the same exploit that allowed WannaCry to spread so rapidly, but is thought to have found additional ways to infect new systems. It is not yet known how computers originally became infected, but it does not appear to be via email.

This particular attack was first reported in Ukraine where the state power company and Kiev's main airport were both affected, but it has now spread to many other countries including the US, UK, France, Russia and India.

Business continuity can be key to minimising the impact of such an attack and can make a real difference during any kind of emergency, crisis or disruption. It is what makes an organization resilient, ready to respond and carry on, even amid difficult circumstances. Yet business continuity cannot be improvised. It requires specialised and trained staff as well, as the support of everyone within an organization.

Having specialised and trained business continuity staff with the ability and resources to develop, implement and maintain a business continuity plan, will help organizations identify the risks they face and key operational areas that need to be prioritised during a crisis.

"We need to learn from these experiences," said David Thorp, Executive Director at the BCI. "It is clear that the cyber threat is not going away any time soon, so organizations must do more to make sure they can respond to them effectively and prevent them from becoming a crisis."

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With phishing and social engineering maintaining their position as the top driver of cyber disruptions, there is a need for a stronger cyber resilience culture across organizations, and a focus on the human aspects of the threat.

This is one of the key findings of the Cyber Resilience Report, published today by the Business Continuity Institute, the world’s leading Institute for continuity and resilience, in collaboration with Sungard Availability Services ® (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services.

With the WannaCry ransomware attack still fresh in our minds, it is clear that the cyber threat is very real with this one attack affecting almost a quarter of a million computers across 150 countries. It is also clear that business continuity plays a key role in responding to an incident, and ensuring that the organization is able to manage through any disruption and so prevent it from becoming a crisis.

The Cyber Resilience Report found that nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) to the global survey had experienced at least one cyber disruption during the previous 12 months, while almost 1 in 6 (15%) had experienced at least 10. Of those who had experienced a cyber disruption, over half (57%) revealed that phishing or social engineering had been one of the causes, demonstrating the need for users to be better educated about the threat and the role they can play in helping to prevent an incident occurring.

The study also found that:

  • A third of respondents (33%) suffered disruptions totalling more than €50,000, while more than 1 in 10 (13%) experienced losses in excess of €250,000.
  • 1 in 6 respondents (16%) reported a single incident resulting in losses of more than €50,000.
  • 1 in 5 respondents working for an SME (18%) reported cumulative losses of more than €50,000. These are significant losses considering 40% of SMEs involved in this study reported an annual turnover of less than €1 million.
  • Phishing and social engineering are the top cause of cyber disruption, with over half of those who experienced a disruption (57%) citing this as a cause.
  • 87% of respondents reported having business continuity arrangements in place to respond to cyber incidents, indicating that it is now widely accepted as playing a key role in helping to build cyber resilience.
  • 67% of respondents stated that their organization takes over one hour to respond to a cyber incident, while 16% stated that it can take over four hours.

The number of respondents reporting top management commitment to implementing the right solutions to the cyber threat increased to 60%, and this is likely due to a number of factors such as the intense media coverage of cyber security incidents, and the impending European Union General Data Protection Regulation, which is due to come into force in less than a year and will have an impact on any organization that holds data on EU citizens.

David Thorp, Executive Director at the BCI, commented: “Cooperation is key to building cyber and organizational resilience. Different disciplines such as business continuity, information security and risk management need to come together, share intelligence and start speaking the same language if they want to build a safer future for their organizations and communities.”

Keith Tilley, EVP and Vice Chair at Sungard Availability Services, said: “Brexit and the pending EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have thrown up even more questions about data laws and compliance, so data sovereignty is a focus. Companies need to demonstrate a holistic understanding of where their data is hosted, where it’s backed up, moved and recovered, as well as who can see it along the way. The fact that data laws are constantly subject to change, with region and country specific regulation, means a headache for large organizations. Establishing how to meet these regulations, as well as global needs will be vital, as will the ability to handle data access, residency, integrity and security.”

It’s hurricane season again, so hopefully you’ve prepared by updating your disaster recovery and business continuity plans to be ready for any disaster that might come your way.

While the character in our cartoon may have taken his boss’s request the wrong way, he had the right idea: Cover the essentials first. What’s the milk, eggs, and bread for your operation? Identify the data you need to stay up and running, and keep it safe and recoverable.

How solid and actionable will your IT disaster recovery plan be when a natural disaster hits? If you don’t have one or haven’t tested it in a while, it could mean lights out for your mission-critical data.

While we may not be able to exactly predict a hurricane’s course, you should chart your own course of action for when the unexpected happens. For a few more suggestions on how to batten down the hatches and ensure your business is disaster ready, check out this slideshow from CSO.

Hurricane preparedness cartoon

Feel free to share this cartoon, with a link back to this post and this attribution: “Cartoon licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at blog.sungardas.com


Instructor and student practicing CPR on mannequin.

We observed CPR and AED Awareness Week at the beginning of June. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Stacy Thorne, a health scientist in the Office of Smoking and Health, who is also a certified first aid, CPR and AED instructor.

Stacy Thorne, PhD, MPH, MCHES

Stacy has a history of involvement in emergency response and preparedness activities at CDC. She is part of the building evacuation team; a group of employees who make sure that staff gets out of the building in case of a fire; or shelters in place during a tornado. When she learned CDC offered CPR and AED training classes to employees, she couldn’t think of a better way to continue volunteering, while helping people prepare for emergencies.

Stacy became a CPR/AED instructor in 2012. She felt these were important skills to have and wanted to stay up-to-date with the latest guidelines. She said, “You have to get recertified every two years, so if I was going to have to take the class anyway why not teach and make sure other people have the skills to save a life.”

Practice makes perfect

Stacy teaches participants first aid, CPR, and AED skills and gives them an opportunity to practice their skills and make sure they are doing them correctly. The class covers first aid for a wide-variety of emergency situations, including stroke, heart attack, diabetes and heat exhaustion. Participants learn how to:

  • Administer CPR, including the number of chest compressions and the number and timing of rescue breaths
  • Use an Automated External Defibrillator, more commonly referred to as an AED, which can restore a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Splint a broken bone, administer an epinephrine pen for allergic reactions, and bandage cuts and wounds

In order to receive their certification, all participants must complete a skills test where they demonstrate that they can complete these life-saving skills in a series of scenarios.

Lifesaving skills in actionCardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, can save a life when someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. CPR can keep blood flowing to deliver oxygen to the brain and other vital organs until help arrives and a normal heart rhythm can be restored.

Stacy shared, “The most rewarding part of teaching is meeting the different people who come to take these classes and hearing the stories of how they have used their skills.” One of her students recalled how she used her CPR skills to save someone while she was out shopping. Her instincts kicked in and when she was able to get the person breathing again the people watching applauded.

Another student reflected, “While I hope I never am in a situation where I need to perform CPR, the notion that I am now equipped with these life-saving skills is reassuring and helps me feel prepared if I should find myself in that scenario.” Stories like these show how important it is for everyone to be trained in first aid, CPR, and how to use an AED. You can spend six hours in training, and walk out with a certification that can save someone’s life.

Always on alert

As the mother of a 6-year old daughter, Stacy is constantly on alert for situations where she might need to use her skills. The closest she has come to using her skills was when her daughter was eating goldfish crackers while laying down and started gagging; she was at the ready to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Her role as an instructor made Stacy feel confident that she could use her first aid, CPR, and AED skills in an emergency.


Posted on by Suzie Heitfeld, Health Communications Specialist, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017 14:36

CDC: Teaching skills that save lives

Many business continuity professionals can attest to the tension that often occurs between the business and IT when it comes to recovery capabilities. For example, Company X recently implemented a business continuity program, including determining recovery time objectives (RTOs) for key business processes. Like all well-established business continuity programs, the business impact analysis (BIA) considered the loss of technology and helped the company develop recommended recovery time (and recovery point) objectives for technology resources. The business documented and presented these RTOs to management following the initial BIA, but never followed up with IT to ensure that the capabilities could be met.

Meanwhile, IT leveraged its own application/system list and related recovery information to prioritize applications for recovery and drive the implementation of a disaster recovery solution that was cost-effective and aligned with IT’s conclusions of business requirements for recovery (created from data outside the BIA). Both the business and IT feel confident in their work; yet, neither have communicated with the other. Given that the groups have not undergone a joint exercise (or actual disruption), neither group is aware of the underlying gap: Recovery priorities and strategies are misaligned between the business and IT.



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Building resilience by improving cyber security, published by the Business Continuity Institute during Business Continuity Awareness Week, revealed that users are often choosing weak passwords and so leaving their IT networks vulnerable, and this vulnerability has now been realised at the UK Houses of Parliament. Over the weekend, Parliament experienced what was described as a sustained and determined cyber attack that forced remote access to be restricted for Members of both Houses, as well as their aides.

A senior spokesperson for Parliament commented: "We have discovered unauthorised attempts to access accounts of parliamentary networks users and are investigating this ongoing incident, working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre. Parliament has robust measures in place to protect all of our accounts and systems, and we are taking the necessary steps to protect and secure our network."

It was reported that the attack, which began last Friday, was specifically trying to identify weak passwords and gain access to users' email accounts. Ultimately this was successful with less than 1% of accounts, but this still amounts to about 90 people, and potentially results in sensitive data being exposed.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: "We have seen reports in the last few days of even cabinet ministers' passwords being for sale online. We know that our public services are attacked so it is not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails. And it's a warning to everybody, whether they are in Parliament or elsewhere, that they need to do everything possible to maintain their own cyber security."

While the restriction of remote access seems to have abruptly and effectively ended the attack, it left many Parliamentarians and their staff without access to their emails over the weekend, a time when many of them attempt to catch up with constituency work.

The report published by the BCI highlighted several ways in which users can take responsibility for helping to improve cyber security, and this included the use of strong passwords that cannot easily be hacked or guessed. By doing so it means that everyone can play their part in building a resilient organization.

Jargon crops up everywhere, and business continuity is no exception. RTO, RPO, BIA, and others are often sprinkled liberally into conversations, plans, and reports.

Sometimes expanding the abbreviation makes things clearer to the uninitiated: for example, the terms “recovery time objective” (RTO) for an IT system and “business impact analysis” for BC planning give some hint of what lies behind them.

But what about “recovery point objective” (RPO), also one of the commonest terms used in defining a suitable disaster recovery/business continuity plan? Would we be better off if we banned the use of such jargon?

Banning probably wouldn’t work. For one thing, it would be the curtailing of free speech, and for another, like weeds, jargon would spring up again anyway. We need a better way of managing business continuity jargon, recognizing that it also has its uses.



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One in ten small business owners and employees are regularly putting the security of their data at risk by sharing confidential files on personal devices, or sending documents to personal rather than work emails. This demonstrates a significant lapse in data security among the UK’s five million plus small businesses.

The study by Reckon also found that a quarter of small business owners (25%) and their teams save documents onto their desktops rather than a central server. This also means there is less likelihood of the data being backed up, so should a computer failure occur then the data could be lost. These statistics were just as prevalent in larger SMEs, those with a turnover of £10 million or more, as the findings showed that the same 10% of these larger businesses sent documents to personal devices and a third saved documents on desktops rather than central servers.

"We believe the reasons behind these data breaches may include ease of access when working remotely, and keeping documents to hand rather than sorting through mismanaged folders," said Mark Woolley, Commercial Director at Reckon.

Sending and saving documents incorrectly and to personal devices breaches basic data security guidelines and could even put employers and employees at risk of breaching data protection laws. Such practices also place confidential information at risk of hacks or unauthorised use, and also mean that employers cannot provide complete audit trails of documents within their own business.

It’s concerning that so many SMEs in the UK are ignoring basic data protection rules. The findings are especially worrying where SME owners are involved, as they are placing their own organization’s sensitive information at risk. Incorrectly managing data and information in this way can pose financial, reputational and security issues to a business, something that no business owner wants to have to deal with.

Cyber security is as much of an issue for SMEs as it is for larger organizations according to the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report which showed that organizations of all sizes share the same concerns. A global survey identified the top three concerns for both SMEs and large organizations as cyber attack, data breach and unplanned network outage.

“Bad habits can easily stick, particularly amongst teams within businesses where there aren’t clear policies around data security,” added Mark Woolley. “I’d urge new businesses to set guidelines around working with documents and emails at the outset in order to give themselves a head start when it comes to keeping information safe. Businesses should also consider that new legislation such as the General Data Production Regulation will incorporate additional data security into law, making adhering to basic practices of vital importance."

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Cyber attackers are relying more than ever on exploiting people instead of software flaws to install malware, steal credentials/confidential information, and transfer funds. A study by Proofpoint found that more than 90% of malicious email messages featuring nefarious URLs led users to credential phishing pages, and almost all (99%) email-based financial fraud attacks relied on human clicks rather than automated exploits to install malware.

The Human Factor Report found that business email compromise (BEC) attack message volume rose from 1% in 2015 to 42% by the end of 2016 relative to emails bearing banking Trojans. BEC attacks, which have cost organizations more than $5 billion worldwide, use malware-free messages to trick recipients into sending confidential information or funds to cyber criminals. BEC is the fastest growing category of email-based attacks.

“Accelerating a shift that began in 2015, cyber criminals are aggressively using attacks that depend on clicks by humans rather than vulnerable software exploits - tricking victims into carrying out the attack themselves,” said Kevin Epstein, vice president of Proofpoint’s Threat Operations Center. “It’s critical that organizations deploy advanced protection that stops attackers before they have a chance to reach potential victims. The earlier in the attack chain you can detect malicious content, the easier it is to block, contain, and resolve.”

Someone will always click, and fast. Nearly 90% of clicks on malicious URLs occur within the first 24 hours of delivery with 25% of those occurring in just ten minutes, and nearly 50% of clicks occur within an hour. The median time-to-click (the time between arrival and click) is shortest during business hours from 8am to 3pm EDT in the US and Canada, a pattern that generally holds for the UK and Europe as well.

Watch your inbox closely on Thursdays. Malicious email attachment message volume spikes more than 38% on Thursdays over the average weekday volume. Ransomware attackers in particular favor sending malicious messages Tuesday through Thursday. On the other hand, Wednesday is the peak day for banking Trojans. Point-of-sale (POS) campaigns are sent almost exclusively on Thursday and Friday, while keyloggers and backdoors favour Mondays.

Attackers understand email habits and send most email messages in the 4-5 hours after the start of the business day, peaking around lunchtime. Users in the US, Canada, and Australia tend to do most of their clicking during this time period, while French clicking peaks around 1pm. Swiss and German users don’t wait for lunch to click, their clicks peak in the first hours of the working day. UK workers pace their clicking evenly over the course of the day, with a clear drop in activity after 2pm.

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The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has claimed that climate change is greatly increasing the likelihood of devastating wildfires, such as the one that burned its way across Portugal last weekend but is now reported to be under control.

More than 60 fires broke out in a densely forested area near the small town of Pedrógão Grande, 200km north-east of Lisbon, killing more than 60 people, in what Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa described as the country’s “greatest human tragedy in living memory."

Dr Robert Glasser, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, urged countries to integrate climate change risk in their fire prevention and response planning, commenting that "the fire highlights the urgency of global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases as quickly as possible."

Organizations in regions where wildfires are a possibility need to consider how they would respond to such an incident, or any incident that could result in the loss of facilities, danger to staff, or the evacuation of people from the region. Actions that need to be thought through are how to communicate with staff, or other stakeholders, during the event, primarily to ensure their safety, but also to liaise with them about alternative work arrangements . If facilities have been damaged then they will need to consider where staff can work both in the short-term and the long-term, bearing in mind that staff may not want to work in the short-term as the organization is unlikely to be their top priority.

Adverse weather, which can lead to the conditions that cause and spread wildfires, such as no rainfall, high temperatures and strong winds, 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. given this latest statement from UNISDR, perhaps now is the time to start giving it greater consideration.

A new study published in Nature Climate Change found that 30% of the world’s population is currently exposed to potentially deadly heat for 20 days per year or more.

The Business Continuity Institute

The average cost of a data breach is $3.62 million globally, a 10% decrease from the 2016 results, according to IBM's latest Cost of Data Breach Study, conducted in collaboration with the Ponemon Institute. This is the first time since the global study was created that there has been an overall decrease in the cost. On average, these data breaches cost companies $141 per lost or stolen record.

For the third year in a row, the study also found that having an Incident Response Team in place significantly reduced the cost of a data breach, saving more than $19 per lost or stolen record. The speed at which a breach can be identified and contained is in large part due to the use of an IRT and having a formal Incident Response Plan.

The Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report identified data breaches as the number two concern for business continuity and resilience professionals, with 81% of respondents to a global survey expressing concern about the prospect of a breach occurring. It cannot be emphasised enough therefore, just how important it is for organizations to have plans in place to respond to such an incident and help lessen its impact.

According to the IBM study, how quickly an organization can contain a data breach has a direct impact on financial consequences. The cost of a data breach was nearly $1 million lower on average for organizations that were able to contain a data breach in less than thirty days compared to those that took longer than 30 days. Speed of response will be increasingly critical as GDPR is implemented in May 2018, which will require organizations doing business in Europe to report data breaches within 72 hours or risk facing fines of up to 4% of their global annual turnover.

"New regulatory requirements like GDPR in Europe pose a challenge and an opportunity for businesses seeking to better manage their response to data breaches," said Wendi Whitmore, Global Lead, IBM X-Force Incident Response & Intelligence Services (IRIS). "Quickly identifying what has happened, what the attacker has access to, and how to contain and remove their access is more important than ever. With that in mind, having a comprehensive incident response plan in place is critical, so when an organization experiences an incident, they can respond quickly and effectively."

While the global study revealed that the overall cost of a data breach decreased to $3.62 million, many regions still experienced an increased cost of a data breach. For example, the cost of a data breach in the US was $7.35 million, a 5% increase compared to last year. However, the US wasn't the only country to experience increased costs in 2017. Organizations in the Middle East, Japan, South Africa, and India all experienced increased costs in 2017 compared to the four-year average costs. Germany, France, Italy and the UK all experienced significant decreases compared to the four-year average costs. Australia, Canada and Brazil also experienced decreased costs compared to the four-year average cost of a data breach.

When compared to other regions, US organizations experienced the most expensive data breaches in the 2017 report. In the Middle East, organizations saw the second highest average cost of a data breach at $4.94 million – more than 10% increase over the previous year. Canada was the third most expensive country for data breaches, costing organizations an average of $4.31 million. In Brazil data breaches were the least expensive overall, costing companies only $1.52 million.

"Data breaches and the implications associated continue to be an unfortunate reality for today's businesses," said Dr. Larry Ponemon. "Year-over-year we see the tremendous cost burden that organizations face following a data breach. Details from the report illustrate factors that impact the cost of a data breach, and as part of an organization's overall security strategy, they should consider these factors as they determine overall security strategy and ongoing investments in technology and services."

The Business Continuity Institute

Why do we have business continuity management programmes? Is it because we want to make sure our organizations have the capability to respond to a disruption? Probably yes! It is common sense that we would want to be prepared for any future crisis.

In some cases however, it is also because there is a legal obligation to do so. Many organizations are tightly regulated depending on what sector they are in or the country they are based, and therefore must have plans in place to deal with certain situations. Furthermore, the rules and regulations that govern us are often being revised, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with which ones are applicable.

So how do you know which rules apply to you? The Business Continuity Institute's BCM Legislation, Regulations, Standards and Good Practice publication would be a great place to start.

The BCI does its best to check the validity of the details within this document, but we are reliant on those working in the industry to provide updates. Please help inform our next edition by looking at the current version and advising us of any changes required for your region. If you do come across any inaccuracies then please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to advise him of the required updates.

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It may not be have been as disruptive or anywhere near as costly as the IT outage that affected BA just a few weeks ago, but many people are still suffering the consequences of an "unforeseen technical fault" that caused Tesco, the world's third most profitable retailer, to cancel a large number of its home deliveries in the UK.

We experienced an unforeseen technical fault which resulted in the forced cancellation of many orders due to a complete system failure. 2/4

— Tesco (@Tesco) June 20, 2017

Many people in the UK have become so reliant on supermarket deliveries that not having to visit the actual store has become a way of life. Having that comfort removed from us is not only a nuisance, it can completely disrupt our busy schedules. Those who had ordered sun-cream for their children to take to school, those who were getting some last minutes orders before heading off to the Glastonbury Festival, those who are simply unable to leave the house, will now have to make alternative arrangements.

Incidents like this aren't rare occurrences. While they may not be commonplace, they occur often enough to warrant featuring in third place in the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report. Organizations must therefore be prepared to deal with the possibility that one will occur.

For Tesco it could be quite costly, not just in terms of lost revenue, but also in terms of lost reputation as many who had their orders cancelled soon took to Twitter to express their outrage. Some of those people will re-arrange their deliveries, but other will not. Many of them will now shop elsewhere, both on this occasion and in the future if they don't consider Tesco to be reliable. This is why it is important for organizations to make sure they have a plan in place to deal with the consequence of any form of disruptive event.

Emergencies come in many forms: fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, violent storms and even terrorism. In the event of extreme weather or a disaster, would you know what to do to protect your pet?

Many pet owners are unsure of what to do if they’re faced with such a situation. In recognition of National Pet Preparedness Month, here are five steps you can take to keep your pets safe during and after an emergency:

  1. Have a plan – include what you would do if you aren’t home or cannot get to your pet when disaster strikes. You never want to leave a pet behind in an emergency because they, most likely,Pet Preparedness Infographic cannot fend for themselves or may end up getting lost. Find a local pet daycare, a friend, or pet sitter that can get to your pet if you cannot. Make plans ahead of time to evacuate to somewhere that is pet friendly, such as a pet-friendly hotel or a friend or family’s home that is out of the evacuation area.
  2. Make a kit – stock up on food and water. It is crucial that your pet has enough water in an emergency. Never allow your pet to drink tap water immediately following a storm; there could be chemicals and bacteria in tap water so give them bottled water. Also, be sure to stock up on canned food. Don’t forget a can opener, or buy enough pop-top cans to last about a week.
  3. I.C.E. – No, not the frozen kind – it stands for “In Case of Emergency.” If your pet gets lost or runs away during an emergency, have information with you that will help find them, including recent photos and behavioral characteristics or traits. These can help return them safely back to you
  4. Make sure vaccinations are up to date – If your pet needs to stay at a shelter, you will need to have important documents about vaccinations or medications. Make sure their vaccinations are up to date so you don’t have any issues if you have to leave your pet in a safe place.
  5. Have a safe haven – Just like people, pets will become stressed when their safety is at risk. Whether you are waiting out a storm or evacuating to a different area, be sure to bring their favorite toys, always have a leash and collar on hand for their safety, and pack a comfortable bed or cage for proper security. If your pet is prone to anxiety, there are stress-relieving products like a dog anxiety vest or natural stress-relieving medications and sprays that can help comfort them in times of emergency. Ask your veterinarian what would be best for your pet.

Some other things to think about are:

  • Rescue Alert Sticker – Put a rescue alert sticker by your front door to let people know there are pets inside. If you are able to take your pets with you, cross out the sticker and put “evacuated” or another message to let rescue workers know that your pet is safely out of your home.
  • Let pets adjust – Don’t allow your pet to run back into your home or even your neighborhood once you and your family have returned. Your home could be disheveled and things might look different, and these changes can potentially disorient and stress your pet. Keep your pet on a leash and safely ease him/her back home. Make sure they are not eating or picking up anything that could potentially be dangerous, such as downed wires or water that might be contaminated.
  • Microchip your pet – Getting a microchip for your pet could be the difference between keeping them safe and them becoming a stray. Microchips allow veterinarians to scan lost animals to determine their identity so they can be returned home safely. Make sure your microchip is registered and up to date so if your pet gets lost, your information is accessible to anyone who finds your pet.

Resources for Pet Owners

Posted on by Crystal Bruce, Health Communications Specialist, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Survivors who apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a result of the federal declaration for flooding from April 28 to May 11, 2017 will receive a letter in the mail from FEMA. The letter will explain the status of their application and how to respond. It is important to read the letter carefully.

Many times applicants need to submit more information for FEMA to continue to process their application.

Examples of missing documentation may include an insurance settlement letter, proof of residence, proof of ownership of the damaged property, and proof that the damaged property was their primary residence at the time of the disaster.

Survivors who have questions about the letter may call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362; go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov; or visit a disaster recovery center.

To locate the nearest disaster recovery center, they may call the FEMA Helpline; use FEMA app for smart phones; or go online to www.fema.gov/DRC or https://recovery.mo.gov/.

Survivors may appeal FEMA’s decision. For example, if survivors feel the amount or type of assistance is incorrect, they may submit an appeal letter and any documents needed to support their claim, such as a contractor’s estimate for home repairs.

If survivors have insurance, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments. However, if they are underinsured they may receive further assistance for unmet needs after insurance claims have been settled.

How to Appeal a FEMA Decision

All appeals must be filed in writing to FEMA. Survivors should explain why they think the decision is incorrect. When submitting the letter, they should include:

  • Full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Address of the damaged dwelling
  • FEMA registration number

In addition, the letter must either be notarized – if they choose this option, they should include a copy of a state-issued identification card – or include the following statement, “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.” The survivor must sign the letter. 

If someone other than the survivor or the co-applicant is writing the letter, there must be a signed statement affirming that the person may act on their behalf. The survivor should keep a copy of the appeal for their records.

To file an appeal, letters must be postmarked, received by fax, or personally submitted at a disaster recovery center within 60 days of the date on the determination letter.

By mail:

FEMA – Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

By fax:
Attention: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program

If survivors have any questions about submitting insurance documents, proving occupancy or ownership, or anything else about their letter, they may call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-3362. Those who use TTY may call 800-462-7585; MO Relay 800-735-2966; CapTel 877-242-2823; Speech to Speech 877-735-7877; VCO 800-735-0135. Operators will be available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

FEMA and Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) are committed to ensuring services and assistance are available for people with disabilities or others with access and functional needs. When they register, they should let FEMA staff know that they have a need or a reasonable accommodation request.

The federal disaster declaration covers eligible losses caused by flooding and severe storms between April 28 and May 11, 2017 in these counties: Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, St. Louis, Stone, Taney, and Texas.

Monday, 19 June 2017 14:13

Understanding the FEMA Letter

CHICAGO – Summer is finally here, and while that means fun in the sun, it can also bring the threat of dangerous storms. In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region 5 office wants you to learn how to reduce your lightning risk while outdoors.

“If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat,” said FEMA Region V Acting Administrator Janet M. Odeshoo. “Seek shelter as quickly as possible. There is no place outside that is safe when a thunderstorm is in the area.”

Substantial buildings such as offices, schools, and homes would offer good protection. Once inside, stay away from windows and doors and anything that conducts electricity such as corded phones, wiring, plumbing, and anything connected to these. If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby, the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Never shelter under an isolated tree, tower or utility pole. Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an area.
  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, including wires and fences.
  • Never lie flat on the ground.

The best way to protect yourself against lightning injury or death is to monitor the weather and postpone or cancel outdoor activities when thunderstorms are in the forecast. Lightning can strike from 10 miles away, so if you can hear thunder, you are in danger of being struck by lightning.

For additional information on lightning safety—wherever you may be this summer—visit www.ready.gov/thunderstorms-lightning. You can find more valuable storm safety tips by visiting www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.  Consider also downloading the free FEMA app, available for your Android, Apple or Blackberry device, so you have the information at your fingertips to prepare for severe weather.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

The Business Continuity Institute

We are used to assessing what the immediate threats are to our organizations as those threats are happening right now. Organizations across the world are suffering from adverse weather, cyber attacks, supply chain failures and technical failures. They may not affect our own organizations straight away, but with the increasing dependence on other organizations in this matter, they probably will do in the near future.

But what about the long-term future? Organizational strategies are often looking beyond the short-term with five-year plans or even ten-year plans in place. So when we consider business continuity and resilience, should we be looking further ahead as well? Should we be assessing what the megatrends are that our organizations need to be preparing for now?

Megatrends are seen as the large social, economic, political, environmental or technological changes that occur over the long-term, changes that have the potential to profoundly shape the way we work and live our lives. Climate change, and everything it entails, is one such megatrend that could, or perhaps already is, having a major impact on our organizations.

The Business Continuity Institute is delighted to be collaborating with Siemens on a new study that will look at how organizations build resilience across the board, and what they think about climate change as one of these megatrends. You can help inform this study by taking a few minutes to complete the survey, and be in with a chance of winning a €100 Bol.com gift card.

This study is primarily looking at responses from the Benelux region, but input would be welcome from elsewhere in order to help make comparisons.

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Many organizations don’t devote enough attention to mission-critical applications when creating disaster recovery (DR) plans, and one of the biggest reasons is the 'resiliency perception gap', or the gap between executives’ perceptions of the effectiveness of their resiliency strategies and how successful these plans actually are at protecting against application outages or downtime. This gap can result in lost revenue and damaged brand reputations.

A new Forbes Insights Executive Brief, sponsored by IBM, showed that 80% of respondents fully expect that their disaster recovery plans can run their business in the aftermath of a disruption. Yet this confidence is questionable. Less than a quarter of these same executives say they include all critical applications in their DR strategies, which means 78% of enterprises face unplanned and unnecessary risks for these essential resources.

Business resiliency: now’s the time to transform continuity strategies also noted that gaps exist in management and governance activities, with 61% of executives saying that business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management are siloed rather than administered as they should be - an interrelated whole.

Many organizations don’t have the means, or the desire, to fully protect critical assets as nearly three-quarters (73%) of surveyed executives pointed to shortfalls in funding and other resources as impediments to covering all critical applications within DR programmes. In addition, another quarter of executives don’t even consider it essential to cover 100% of their critical applications.

Outdated runbooks are common as more than half of enterprises (58%) go almost a year, sometimes longer, between tests of their business continuity and DR plans. Only 28% of companies run assessments monthly. As a result, nearly half of the executives (47%) say that DR drills or actual events showed the runbook was out of sync. Almost half (46%) of the executives surveyed say testing disrupts their organizations, and the cost of running tests keeps another quarter from testing more frequently.

There is often an over-reliance on manual processes as DR strategies aren’t becoming automated as quickly as production processes, leaving nearly a third (31%) of enterprises struggling with manual DR resources. Even many of the more mature organizations have only pockets of automation.

“Clearly, many executives don’t realize the full extent of risks they’re running,” said Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer at Forbes Media. “And tight budgets force many to make trade-offs.”

“Clients today demand IT recovery solutions that are designed for complex hybrid cloud environments to restore their confidence and meet their business needs,” said Chandra Sekhar Pulamarasetti, Co-Founder and CEO of Sanovi Technologies and VP Cloud Resiliency Orchestration Software and Services at IBM. “Cyber attacks and other threats require innovative business resiliency plans that are orchestrated to anticipate problems and reduce risk, cost, and downtime in the process.”

The Business Continuity Institute

By gavnosis (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gavnosis/2548307698/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Only a month after the WannaCry attack that affected about 250,000 networks across the world, it seems that ransomware is back in the headlines again with an attack on University College London, one of the largest universities in the UK with over ten thousand employees and nearly forty thousand students, and considered to be the seventh best university in the world. The attack affected its internal shared drives, and resulted in several NHS Trusts in the UK shutting down their own servers as a precaution.

UCL first reported the attack at the end of the day on Wednesday with the Information Services Division posting that "UCL is currently experiencing a widespread ransomware attack via email. Ransomware damages files on your computer and on shared drives where you save files. Please do not open any email attachments until we advise you otherwise. To reduce any damage to UCL systems we have stopped all access to all N: and S: drives. Apologies for the obvious inconvenience this will cause."

To help reassure those at the university who rely on access to the shared drives, ISD later added that "We take snapshot backups of all our shared drives and this should protect most data even if it has been encrypted by the malware. Once we are confident the infections have been contained, then we will restore the most recent back up of the file."

Having an effective back-up programme is one of the best ways to protect against the impact of a ransomware attack. If data is backed-up and the organization experiences a ransomware attack then they can isolate the ransomware, clean the network of it, and then restore the data from the back-up. It’s not necessarily an easy process, but it means they don’t lose all their data and they don’t pay a ransom.

Unlike WannaCry which was reported to have infected systems using out of date software, this attack was the result of users clicking on a malicious link. First it was reported to be the result of a phishing email, but later it was confirmed to be the result of users accessing a compromised website. Either way, it is this type of activity that featured so prominently during Business Continuity Awareness Week, with a report published by the Business Continuity Institute demonstrating that each and every one of us can take simple steps to improve cyber security, and one of those steps was to exercise more caution when clicking on links.

"It is encouraging to see that once again the potentially damaging impact of a cyber attack has been prevented by UCL having processes in place to deal with the threat," said David Thorp, Executive Director of the BCI. "This is business continuity in action, and while it may not prevent the disruption in its entirety, it ensures that it does not escalate further into a crisis."

Migrating from one computing platform to another can and should cause pause. It is important to be prudent when deciding whether to migrate, and to which system. Total cost of acquisition (TCA) often becomes a tipping point, but the ongoing total cost of ownership (TCO) should factor into this equation. This is especially true when both the TCA and TCO of IBM Power systems servers are considered. Low-end scale out Power servers are competitively priced and offer a lower TCA against x86 servers running Linux. When integrated database, security, work management, support for multiple operating systems and high-availability resources are factored in the TCO for larger systems, it’s clear that Power systems servers offer the better value.

The Past, Present and Future of POWER

Some organizations consider Power systems servers outdated, as the platform was first introduced in 1979 as the System/38. However, more than 150,000 companies that have embraced this technology consider this to be a benefit rather than a detriment, with the platform representing decades of on-going enhancements. This leads up to current POWER8 processor technology and, as part of an ongoing development roadmap, with POWER9 servers scheduled to be announced in 2017.

The Benefits of IBM i on POWER

Interested in a full run-down of Power systems’ features and benefits?

The following whitepaper explores the ways in which IBM is staying ahead of the game with migration, performance, and cost benefits, all while backed by IBM experts ready to support the next generation of Power systems.

In this whitepaper, you will learn:

  • How IBM is staying relevant with the emerging IT workforce.

  • How IBM I reduces workload when upgrading systems.

  • How TCA, TCO and performance compares with x86.

  • The skills and management tools required to run Power systems and where to find them.

Download Why IBM i on POWER to learn more!

Thursday, 15 June 2017 19:13

Why IBM i on POWER

The Business Continuity Institute

Most business continuity plans pay scant regard to how people might be feeling in the aftermath of a major disruptive incident and simply assume their willingness and ability to drop everything in order to activate those plans.

This assumption might be valid if the incident in question is limited in scope - such as a building, facilities, IT or supply chain issue - and doesn't result in death, injury or personal hardship. But if it's wider-reaching - for instance extreme weather, earthquake, flood, power failure, civil disturbance, terrorist incident or any of a whole host of potential events that affect the wider community - there's a major problem with it.

The fact is that people are likely to be thinking of themselves, their families and their homes, rather than the organization they work for. In which case, the business continuity plan is likely to rank somewhere near the bottom of the list of things on their minds. And their willingness to drop everything and come to the aid of the organization is, perfectly reasonably, likely to be somewhere between low and zero.

Most people have lives, and responsibilities, outside of work. But it's much easier to simply ignore this important fact when creating our business continuity plans, than to worry too much about it. So that's precisely what many planners do. The trouble with this approach, however, is that whilst our plans might look okay on paper, they could well be doomed to failure from the outset if we actually have to put them into operation.

Andy Osborne is the Consultancy Director at Acumen, and author of Practical Business Continuity Management. You can follow him on Twitter and his blog or link up with him on LinkedIn.

Saturday, 17 June 2017 17:37

BCI: Self, self, self...

The Business Continuity Institute

Employees who become distracted at work are more likely to be the cause of human error and a potential security risk, according to a snapshot poll conducted by Centrify at Infosec Europe.

While more than a third (35%) of survey respondents cite distraction and boredom as the main cause of human error, other causes include heavy workloads (19%), excessive policies and compliance regulations (5%), social media (5%) and password sharing (4%). Poor management is also highlighted by 11% of security professionals, while 8% believe human error is caused by not recognising our data security responsibilities at work.

According to the survey, which examines how human error might lead to data security risks within organisations, over half (57%) believe businesses will eventually trust technology enough to replace employees as a way of avoiding human error in the workplace.

Despite the potential risks of human error at work, however, nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents feel that it is the responsibility of the employee, rather than technology, to ensure that their company avoids a potential data breach.

This ties in closely with the theme for the recently ended Business Continuity Awareness Week, organized by the Business Continuity Institute, which highlighted that users can do more to play their part in cyber security. A report published during the week revealed six simple ways in which they can do this and this included better password control and more caution when clicking on links.

“It’s interesting that the majority of security professionals we surveyed are confident that businesses will trust technology enough to replace people so that fewer mistakes are made at work, yet on the other hand firmly put the responsibility for data security in the hands of employees rather than technology,” comments Andy Heather, VP and Managing Director, Centrify EMEA.

“It seems that we as employees are both responsible and responsible – so responsible for making mistakes and responsible for avoiding a potential data breach. It shows just how aware we need to be at work about what we do and how we behave when it comes to our work practices in general and our security practices in particular.”

The Business Continuity Institute

Airmic has launched a major new study to determine what resilience looks like in a digitally-transformed business world. According to the association, the digital revolution is fundamentally altering the ways in which organizations develop and execute strategy, which will impact business models and their approach to risk and resilience.

Julia Graham, Airmic's technical director and deputy CEO who is leading the project, said: "The digital revolution is moving at a lightning speed and will not only alter the risks our members have to manage, but also the way they have to manage them. At the moment, we - Airmic and the business world as a whole - do not fully understand this process so this project is about taking a leading role in the debate."

According to Airmic, several leading studies have highlighted the speed and disruptive nature of the digital revolution. KPMG's Now or never: 2016 CEO outlook, for example, warns: "The speed of change will be, quite literally, inhuman, as the advancement of data and analytics and cognitive and machine learning drive forward change more quickly than humans alone could ever achieve."

Airmic's study, Roads to Revolution, will be conducted jointly with Cass Business School and published in 2018. It will build upon Airmic's ground-breaking research, Roads to Ruin (2011), which analysed the common underlying causes of corporate failures, and Roads to Resilience (2014), which analysed the common underlying features of resilient businesses.

"Our previous research established what good and bad looked like in terms of organizational resilience, but little is understood about how this will be affected by the current wave of technological advancement," Graham said. "Through case-studies, focus groups and academic analysis, we will shed light on how organizations are transforming their business models and cultures to ensure resilience and growth in the digital age."

The Business Continuity Institute

Organizations are not doing enough to ensure their travel risk strategies are fit for the 21st century realities of business travel and fulfil their legal duty of care, according to a new report published by Airmic.

Travel risk management notes that business travel has grown by 25% over the last decade with businesses sending employees and other people they are responsible for to a wider range of territories, including high or extreme risk regions. They must be able to respond to the many possible factors that could convert even a low-risk destination into a high risk destination in a matter of hours, e.g. health, safety, security, political or social change, and natural disasters.

Businesses have a legal duty of care to protect their employees – which may include contractors and family members – and yet only 16% of Airmic members surveyed have high confidence in their travel risk management framework. To respond to this increased reliance on travel, organizations need flexible and evolving travel risk management strategies that go beyond purchasing travel insurance.

These strategies should respond to the different risks present in different territories and the requirements of the different individuals travelling. Businesses also need reliable sources of relevant intelligence and flexible and pre-rehearsed plans in place to ensure a quick and proportionate response to any crisis impacting its people.

“Sadly every week we are currently reminded why having an effective travel risk management framework in place is imperative. As the tragic events in Westminster, Manchester and more recently on London Bridge and Borough Market demonstrate, any destination can become high risk at an intense speed,” Julia Graham, Airmic’s deputy CEO and technical director, commented.

She added: “I urge all risk professionals to review, update and rehearse how they would respond should such an incident impact their organization. Knowing where your people are and how you can communicate with each other in the event of a crisis is especially important.”

The Business Continuity Institute

Overnight a fire raged through a 24-storey tower block in West London, completely destroying it, and claiming several lives. While this may have been a residential building, the speed with which the fire took hold is a clear warning that organizations must have plans to place to ensure the safety of their staff, as well as other stakeholders, should such an incident occur at work.

As land becomes more expensive, the number of high rise buildings being constructed is increasing all the time, with developers constantly striving to build taller and fit more office space on the same footprint of land. Many offices are also being redesigned to become open plan so an even greater number of people can be squeezed into the same square footage. This can come at a cost however. The taller a building gets, the greater the number of people who work within it, the greater the challenges are to find suitable escape routes for everyone should an emergency arise.

Had this building been an office block, had the fire swept through it in the middle of the day, how quickly could it have been evacuated? How quickly could your organization have made sure that all employees, and everyone else in the building, got out safely?

Some of the residents reported that they were only warned of the fire by other residents, not by the fire alarm system. If the fire alarms didn’t work then it is highly likely that the fire suppression system didn’t work either which is perhaps why the fire spread so rapidly. How frequently do you check the alarm system within your building? Can you say with a high degree of certainty that, if a fire occurred, everyone would be sufficiently warned?

It was also reported that some residents who were trapped in the building had resorted to flashing their mobile phone torches to gain attention and seek help. In desperation, this was all they could do. Organizations must have an effective emergency communications system in place so urgent two-way messages can be sent out to confirm that staff are safe, or, if they are not, then they can be located and made safe as soon as possible.

The safety of staff is paramount to business continuity and making our organizations more resilient. Office space and IT can easily be replicated elsewhere - staff cannot. Not to mention, of course, the moral duty to keep them safe. We must ensure that our buildings are safe environments to work in and that, should the worst happen, staff can safely exit the building. Furthermore, we must make sure that whatever plans, processes and procedures we have in place to safeguard our staff are exercised on a regular basis so any flaws can be found and resolved.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 14:48

BCI: Ensuring the safety of our staff

The Business Continuity Institute

When looking at the potential threats that could disrupt our organizations, it is often physical or virtual events that we first think of – adverse weather, supply chain failure, cyber attack, pandemic. But while we often consider an event or occurrence to be disruptive, do we also consider a lack of activity to be disruptive? Is there something we’re not doing that could lead to a disruption within the organization? In today's digital world, failure to keep up with technology could be just as damaging as any tropical storm.

A new study by Capgemini and Brian Solis has found that 62% of respondents see corporate culture as one of the biggest hurdles in the journey to becoming a digital organization. As a result, companies risk falling behind competition in today’s digital environment. Furthermore, the data shows that this challenge for organizations has worsened since 2011 by 7 percentage points, when Capgemini first began its research in this area.

The Digital Culture Challenge: Closing the Employee-Leadership Gap uncovers a significant perception gap between the senior leadership and employees on the existence of a digital culture within organizations. While 40% of senior-level executives believe their firms have a digital culture, only 27% of the employees surveyed agreed with this statement.

Cyril Garcia, Head of Digital Services and member of the Group Executive Committee at Capgemini, said: “Digital technologies can bring significant new value, but organizations will only unlock that potential if they have the right sustainable digital culture ingrained and in place. Companies need to engage, empower and inspire all employees to enable the culture change together; working on this disconnect between leadership and employees is a key factor for growth. Those businesses that make digital culture a core strategic pillar will improve their relationships with customers, attract the best talent and set themselves up for success in today’s digital world.”

The findings reveal a divide between senior-level executives and employees on collaboration practices with 85% of top executives believing that their organization promotes collaboration internally, while only 41% of employees agreed with this premise.

Corporate culture is equally as important in the business continuity profession, so much so that it features as one of the six professional practices referred to in the Business Continuity Institute's Good Practice Guidelines. Integrating business continuity into the day-to-day business activities is vital to a successful programme, but this can only be achieved with top management support.

The report highlights that companies are failing to engage employees in the culture change journey. Getting employees involved is critical for shaping an effective digital culture and accelerating the cultural transformation of the organization. Leadership and the middle management are critical to translating the broader digital vision into tangible business outcomes and rewarding positive digital behaviors.

“To compete for the future, companies must invest in a digital culture that reaches everyone in the organization. Our research shows that culture is either the number one inhibitor or catalyst to digital transformation and innovation. However, many executives believe their culture is already digital, but when you ask employees, they will disagree. This gap signifies the lack of a digital vision, strategy and tactical execution plan from the top”, said Brian Solis. “Cultivating a digital culture is a way of business that understands how technology is changing behaviors, work and market dynamics. It helps all stakeholders grow to compete more effectively in an ever-shifting business climate."

The Business Continuity Institute

Data is of incredible value to our organizations. The more we have, the more we can discover about our customers and our market. The more we know about these, the more we can fine tune our products and services to meet their precise needs. Of course that data doesn't just have a value to our own organizations, it also has a value to others, and that is why we need to make sure it is protected.

Over the last few years we've seen some big organizations receive fines of tens of millions of dollars as a result of a data breach, and we've also seen them suffer severe reputational losses. When the General Data Protection Regulations come into force next May, the potential for large fines will increase further for any organization that holds data on EU citizens.

It is important that organizations have processes in place to protect their data, and processes in place to be able to respond in the event of a breach. The BCI has now begun a new study, conducted in collaboration with Mimecast, that seeks to discover the attitudes, behaviours and business continuity arrangements in place related to information security.

Please do support this study by taking a few minutes to complete the survey, it should only take about ten minutes, and each respondent will be in with a chance of winning a £100 Amazon gift card.

The Business Continuity Institute

Like the terrorist attack in Manchester, the response by individuals to the London Bridge attack last Saturday made me proud to be British. The off-duty policeman rugby tackling one of the terrorists, the British Transport Police officer armed with just a baton fighting one of the knifemen and the people who threw bottles, chairs and tables to protect customers in one of the pubs nearby are all heroes who rose to the occasion.

One of the people interviewed about the incident was a gentleman from Royal United Services Institute, who made a comment about how during the incident he saw many people enact the government’s advice of ‘Run, Hide, Tell’. This got me thinking that the emergency services response to both recent attacks and the public’s use of ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ are very good examples of how exercising plans actually makes a difference.

I believe that a few weeks before the Manchester attack, the police had actually practised a very similar exercise to the incident they had to respond to. Last year, there was an exercise at The Trafford Centre, which involved 800 volunteers playing members of the public, in order to test the emergency response to a major terrorist incident. These extensive ‘live’ exercises require a lot of planning and are costly to run, but their worth was proved by the response to the Manchester bombing. In the media coverage of the incident, there was not one bit of criticism directed at the emergency services. This is very stark contrast to, although some time ago, the responses to Hillsborough and the Bradford fire.

In the same way, the ability of the police to respond to the attack in London and kill the terrorists within eight minutes, is again testament to the planning and professionalism of the police. I was training a Bank’s Country Crisis Management team this week and I used both examples as reasons why exercising plans is so important.

I think the public using ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ is important in three aspects. Firstly, it worked and helped to reduce the number of casualties. Secondly, I think as business continuity people we should be teaching this to our staff. A couple of years ago I thought that it would be alarmist and unlikely to be required, but, I think due to the threat level and the number of attacks, it is a useful drill to teach.

Thirdly, I think it illustrates the importance of embedding business continuity and shows that everyone needs to know what to do in an emergency. If employees hear about an incident which has affected your head office, instead of going home and waiting for instructions, they know what to do themselves. If they are a member of the crisis management team, they know to immediately go to the second team location or the work area recovery location if they have recovery roles. This will speed up the response, as lots of time and effort will not be spent telling staff what to do and where to go.

We as business continuity people don’t need to be convinced to exercise our plans, but often those who have roles in the team are reluctant!

P.S. Have a look at the citizenAID App, which has been produced with lots of useful information about how to respond to a terrorist attack.

Charlie Maclean-Bristol is a Fellow of the Business Continuity Institute, Director at PlanB Consulting and Director of Training at Business Continuity Training.

The Business Continuity Institute

New and evolving threats combined with persistent resource challenges limit organizations’ abilities to defend against cyber intrusions, and 80% of security leaders now believe it is likely their enterprise will experience a cyber attack this year. Despite this, many organizations are struggling to keep pace with the threat environment.

ISACA's State of Cyber Security Study found that more than half (53%) of survey respondents reported a year on year increase in cyber attacks for 2016, representing a combination of changing threat entry points and types of threats. IoT overtook mobile as primary focus for cyber defenses as 97% of organizations see a rise in its usage. As IoT becomes more prevalent in organizations, cyber security professionals need to ensure protocols are in place to safeguard new threat entry points.

62% reported experiencing ransomware in 2016, but only 53% have a formal process in place to address it - a concerning number given the significant international impact of the recent WannaCry ransomware attack. Malicious attacks that can impair an organization’s operations or user data remain high in general (78% of organizations reporting attacks).

Additionally, fewer than a third of organizations (31%) say they routinely test their security controls, and 13% never test them. 16% do not have an incident response plan.

“There is a significant and concerning gap between the threats an organization faces and its readiness to address those threats in a timely or effective manner,” said Christos Dimitriadis, board chair and group head of information security at INTRALOT. “Cyber security professionals face huge demands to secure organizational infrastructure, and teams need to be properly trained, resourced and prepared.”

The Business Continuity Institute

Two-thirds of UK businesses believe their organization to be highly protected from attempts by outsiders to gain access to their systems and data, and a similar proportion maintain they have the right processes in place to adequately react to privacy and security threats.

The Willis Towers Watson Cyber Pulse Survey also found that the disparity between corporate feelings of preparedness and the increasing number of cyber security incidents could be a result of lack of responsibility or accountability among employees, the human element of the cyber equation. UK employees ranked ‘insufficient understanding’ (61%) as the biggest barrier to their organization effectively managing its cyber risk. Nearly half (46%) spent 30 minutes or less on cyber security training in 2016, and over a quarter (27%) received none at all.

More concerning for employers is the discovery that, of the employees who did complete cyber training, nearly two-thirds (62%) admitted they “only completed the training because it was required”, and nearly half (44%) believe that opening any email on their work computer is safe. This suggests that the employees may not be engaged or feel the personal accountability necessary to drive long-term, sustainable behaviours.

Anthony Dagostino, Head of Global Cyber Risk, Willis Towers Watson, said: “As the world has seen with the proliferation of phishing scams, most recently highlighted by the global WannaCry ransomware attack, the opening of just one suspicious email containing a harmful link or attachment can lead to a company-wide event. However there appears to be a disconnect between executive priorities around data protection and the need to invest in a cyber-savvy workforce through training, incentives and talent management strategies.”

The survey also detailed additional barriers that companies feel impact their cyber preparedness and the degree to which corporations are providing cyber training to their employers. Nearly a third (30%) of employees surveyed have logged into their work-designated computer or mobile device over an unsecured public network (such as public Wi-Fi). Only 1 in 4 (40%) of the employers surveyed felt that they had made progress addressing cyber security factors tied to human error and behaviours in the last three years

It is issues such as these that were raised in the Business Continuity Institute's cyber security report, published during Business Continuity Awareness Week, and highlighted several areas in which users can leave their organizations vulnerable to a cyber attack.

“Hackers are exploiting the fact that while corporations are building walls of technology around their organizations and their networks, by far the biggest threat to corporate digital security and privacy continues to come from the employees within, often completely by accident,” said Dagostino. “A truly holistic cyber risk management strategy requires at its core a cyber-savvy workforce, however organizations first have to know where the vulnerabilities are in order to plug the gaps. Many organizations are facing talent deficiencies and skills shortages in their IT departments, which in turn are creating significant loopholes in their overall security measures.”

SEATTLE – A year following one of the nation’s largest domestic drills, lessons-learned continue to guide strategies that improve the Pacific Northwest’s ability to survive and recover from a catastrophic Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake and tsunami.

On June 7, 2016, more than 20,000 emergency managers in Idaho, Oregon and Washington kicked off Cascadia Rising 2016, a four-day, large scale exercise to test response and recovery capabilities in the wake of a 9.0 magnitude CSZ earthquake and tsunami. The exercise involved local, state, tribal and federal partners, along with military commands, private sector and non-governmental organizations.

Lessons learned from Cascadia Rising 2016

"I'm pleased the momentum from Cascadia Rising continues to gain speed," said Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, director of the Washington Military Department and commander of the Washington National Guard. "As a result of the exercise, our governor directed the formation of a Resilient Washington sub-cabinet, a multi-agency workgroup charged with improving our state's resiliency. Cascadia Rising also guided our decision to change our recommendation on preparedness, so we're now telling people to have enough emergency supplies to stay on their own for up to two weeks."

“Cascadia Rising was the largest exercise the State of Oregon has ever conducted. The complexity of the four-day exercise provided an unprecedented opportunity to examine and assess response and emergency management practices, and identify areas where we excel and where we can improve,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “The collaboration among all levels of government, and with our private sector partners leading up to and during the exercise, was outstanding. I believe these relationships were strengthened through this experience and will continue to grow as we work toward enhancing our preparedness posture.”

“In addition, Cascadia Rising served as a reminder to all Oregonians that individual and family emergency preparedness is key to an effective response to an earthquake or any disaster and begin the recovery process,” said Phelps. “As we constantly improve our capabilities, we ask all to be prepared for at least two weeks.”

Idaho’s participation helped raise awareness that the residual effects of an earthquake and tsunami along the coast would be felt in Idaho. That includes the possible need to accommodate tens of thousands of evacuees and displaced persons who were directly impacted.

“The countless strong partnerships we cultivated in the years leading up to the exercise proved invaluable to the success of Cascadia Rising in Idaho,” said Gen Brad Richy, of the Idaho Office of Emergency Management. “The collaboration with FEMA Region 10, and our Idaho counties, is proving indispensable as Idaho currently manages one of the most challenging flood seasons on record. Thirty-one of Idaho’s 44 counties have disaster declarations in place right now. When people ask about the importance of exercises, I like to point out that lessons learned during Cascadia Rising 2016 have improved our swift and effective response to the 2017 flooding disasters.”

“The Cascadia Rising 2016 exercise highlighted a number of critical areas that we, the emergency management community, should improve before this fault ruptures, which will impact large portions of our residents and infrastructure. It is exercises like this, that foster coordination and help build relationships before a real-world event occurs,” said Sharon Loper, Acting FEMA Region 10 Administrator. “The exercise highlighted a number of infrastructure interdependencies our residents have come to rely on, such as electricity, communications, fuel, water and our roads.  Most of these sectors would be heavily disrupted after a CSZ event and plans are being developed and exercised that focus on the efficient recovery of these essential services.  In this past year, FEMA Region 10 has made improvements in coordinating disaster logistics, family reunification strategies and mass power outage scenarios with our partners.” 

“Every exercise teaches us something and improves our response,” said Loper. “I’m pleased so many partners and community members collaborate on these important issues. We should continue to work together so that we are all better prepared to protect lives and property.” 


Lying mostly offshore, the plate interface that is the Cascadia Subduction Zone is a giant fault approximately 700 miles long. At this location, the set of tectonic plates to the west is sliding (subducting) beneath the North American plate. Friction prevents movement of these two plates; ultimately, these plates are stuck. The stress of these boundaries is continuously building until the fault suddenly breaks, resulting in a potentially devastating 700-mile earthquake and ensuing tsunami along the California, Oregon and Washington coastlines. Last year’s Cascadia Rising 2016 exercise was to test plans and procedures through a 9.0M earthquake and follow-on tsunami with expectations to improve catastrophic disaster operational readiness across the whole community.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of North America spans from northern California to southern British Columbia.
The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of North America spans from northern California to southern British Columbia. This subduction zone can produce earthquakes as large as magnitude 9 and corresponding tsunamis. Download Original

 Cascadia Rising 2016 was a four-day exercise focused on interagency and multi-state coordination following a 9.0M Cascadia Subductions Zone earthquake and follow-on tsunami. Emergency management centers at local, state, tribal and federal levels in coordination with military commands, private sector and non-governmental organizations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, activated to coordinate simulated field response operations.

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The Business Continuity Institute

When we're developing our business continuity programmes, do we consider political rows a threat to our organization? Do we consider whether a dispute between countries could filter down and affect us? Political tensions certainly exist worldwide, you only have to look at the relationship between the US and Mexico to understand this, or the tensions that are growing between the UK and the EU as Brexit looms closer.

Qatar has now found itself at the centre of such an issue as many of its neighbouring Gulf States are cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE and Yemen have all turned their backs on Qatar, leaving it in isolation, and Qatari citizens in those countries have been given two weeks to leave.

Qatar is the world's largest suppliers of liquefied natural gas, although exports don't seem to be affected so far. The problem is imports, which Qatar relies on for 80% of its food. With its only land border closed on Saudi's insistence, a backlog of lorries has now been held up and is waiting to be re-routed.

The problem is further exacerbated as many containers destined for Qatar arrive via Dubai where they are transferred to smaller vessels to complete the journey. With a ban all vessels travelling to, or arriving from, Qatar, this is no longer an option.

Added to this, many infrastructure and construction projects in Qatar use consultants from elsewhere in the Middle East, and those consultants are now unable to travel to Qatar to support these projects, meaning delays are inevitable.

Clearly the cause of the diplomatic tension is important, but organizations must think beyond this and consider how it will have an impact on them and their supply chains. While it is unknown how long this situation will last, a similar incident occurred in 2014 and went on for nine months, so it may not end any time soon.

Most people think of Mail-Gard in terms of disaster recovery support. It’s what we’re known for, and intuitively, people understand that during a flood, tornado, or major power outage, a backup partner is necessary to ensure important documents are still delivered to customers to keep your business running without interruption.

But bad weather and Acts of God aren’t always to blame for the times when a company’s in-house print and mail operations may be swamped. Seasonal volume swings or equipment upgrades can leave in-house operations overwhelmed, and they simply can’t keep up. That’s when Mail-Gard’s print outsourcing comes in, and it’s another area where we can be there for you in a time of need.



One of the biggest challenges with shifting applications from an on-premises environment into a public cloud is the sheer volume of data that often needs to be moved. The amount of time and effort involved in a cloud migration for many IT organization has been nothing less than daunting.

Veritas Technologies today announced it has significantly simplified those data migration issues with the launch of Veritas CloudMobility, which allows IT organizations to employ software that Veritas originally developed to back up applications to a cloud migration. Alex Sakaguchi, director of global solutions marketing for Veritas, says the difference now is that data migration into the cloud can be executed via a single mouse click.

“It’s based on the same technology we use for disaster recovery,” says Sakaguchi.

Veritas today also announced Veritas CloudPoint, which enables IT organizations to much more aggressively schedule the capturing of snapshots of data residing in multiple public clouds as part of an effort to accelerate recovery time and point objectives.



The Business Continuity Institute

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats’ manifestos all ignore the true potential impact of Brexit, a new report by academics from The UK in a Changing Europe shows. Brexit may impose significant economic costs, at least in the short-term, yet all the parties make pledges as if the post-Brexit world will be a case of business as usual.

The report, Red, Yellow and Blue Brexit: the manifestos uncovered, highlights the challenge Brexit represents for the British state. The civil service will need,among other things, to coordinate the negotiations, draft the Great Repeal Bill and prepare primary legislation while the necessary administrative and regulatory structures will need to be put in place before the UK leaves the EU. Yet the manifestos, with their ambitious policy pledges, fail to take account of the constraints this process will place on administrative resources.

Professor Anand Menon, The UK in a Changing Europe director, said: “The majority of the next parliament will be a post-Brexit one. It will have to deal with the implications of one of the most important and difficult decisions that Britain has ever taken. What a shame the parties did not factor this into their plans.”

The Conservative policy to reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands is also likely to have severe economic consequences. The party does not quantify the consequences of its immigration policies. However, the Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated the fiscal impact of a reduction of net migration from 265,000 to 185,000 at about £6bn a year by 2021.

Labour want to maintain membership of the single market but will end freedom of movement when the UK leaves the EU. Their position is thus fatally flawed as the EU will demand acceptance of all four freedoms in return for membership of the single market.

Labour states it would immediately guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK and ‘secure reciprocal rights’ for UK nationals in the EU. However, the EU has made clear there will be no final agreement on any one area until there is agreement in all areas. Also, there is no detail on how the huge administrative challenges will be met.

In foreign and security policy, the report notes that there is strikingly little of substance in any of the manifestos as to how Brexit might impact on Britain’s international role. Nowhere are strategic priorities laid out.

None of the manifestos comprehensively addresses what will happen in relation to EU public health law and policy. Nor are the profound challenges Brexit poses to the devolution settlement grappled with.

There is no mention of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the Conservative manifesto – previously a clear ‘red line’. Yet there is absolutely nothing in the Tory manifesto to reassure key sectors like pharmaceuticals, financial services, and the automotive industry, whose regulatory position, access to markets, or supply chains are threatened by Brexit.

Labour provides no detail as to why ‘no deal’ is the worst possible option for Britain, rejecting it as a viable alternative but failing to make clear how the EU27 could be made to agree to this.

A Liberal Democrat government would be caught between negotiating a very close relationship with the EU and arguing such a relationship would not be preferable to remaining.

Professor Menon said: “What is striking, is that while all three parties view Brexit as a major event, the manifestos treat it largely in isolation from other aspects of policy, rather than the defining issue of the next parliament.”

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 14:57

BCI: Manifestos Hide Truth About Brexit

The Business Continuity Institute

4 in 10 organizations believe that C-level executives, including the CEO, are most at risk of being hacked when working outside of the office, according to a new study by iPass. Cafes and coffee shops were ranked the number one high-risk venue by 42% of respondents, from a list also including airports (30%), hotels (16%), exhibition centres (7%) and airplanes (4%).

Compiling the responses of 500 organizations from the US, UK, Germany and France, the annual iPass Mobile Security Report provides an overview of how companies are dealing with the trade-off between security and the need to enable a mobile workforce. Indeed, the vast majority (93%) of respondents said they were concerned about the security challenges posed by a growing mobile workforce. Almost half (47%) said they were ‘very’ concerned, up from 36% in 2016. Furthermore, more than two thirds of organizations (68%) have chosen to ban employee use of free public Wi-Fi hotspots to some degree (compared to 62% in 2016), while 33% of organizations ban employee use at all times, up from 22% in 2016.

“The grim reality is that C-level executives are by far at the greatest risk of being hacked outside of the office. They are not your typical 9-5 office worker. They often work long hours, are rarely confined to the office, and have unrestricted access to the most sensitive company data imaginable. They represent a dangerous combination of being both highly valuable and highly available, therefore a prime target for any hacker,” said Raghu Konka, vice president of engineering at iPass. “Cafes and coffee shops are everywhere and offer both convenience and comfort for mobile workers, who flock to these venues for the free high speed internet as much as for the the coffee. However, cafes invariably have lax security standards, meaning that anyone using these networks will be potentially vulnerable.”

Man-in-the-middle attacks, whereby an attacker can secretly relay and even alter communications without the mobile user knowing, were identified by 69% of organizations as being of concern when their employees use public Wi-Fi. However, more than half of respondents also chose a lack of encryption (63%), unpatched operating systems (55%), and hotspot spoofing (58%) as chief concerns.

The dangers that using public Wi-Fi creates was an issue raised in the Business Continuity Institute's cyber security report, published during Business Continuity Awareness Week, which also highlighted several other areas in which users can leave their organizations vulnerable to a cyber attack.

Some of the other findings of the iPass report and regional trends include:

  • The US (98%) is most concerned by the increasing number of mobile security challenges – compared to France (88%), Germany (89%) and the UK (92%)
  • Nearly one in ten UK organizations (8%) said that they have no security concerns when employees use public Wi-Fi hotspots. In contrast, this figure is one percent in the US and Germany, and 2% in France
  • Similarly, UK organizations are the least likely to ban the use of public Wi-Fi. 44% said that they have no plans to do so, as opposed to 8% in Germany, 10% in the U.S. and 15% in France
  • Worldwide, 75% of enterprises still allow or encourage the use of MiFi devices. In France, however, 29% of businesses have banned them due to security concerns

“Organizations are more aware of the mobile security threat than ever, but they still struggle to find the balance between security and productivity,” continued Konka. “While businesses understand that free public Wi-Fi hotspots can empower employees to do their job and be more productive, they are also fearful of the potential security threat. Man-in-the-middle attacks were identified as the primary threat, but the entire mobile attack surface is getting larger. Organizations must recognize this fact and do their best to ensure that their mobile workers are securely connected.”

“Sadly, in response to this growing threat, the majority of organizations are choosing to ban first and think later. They ignore the fact that, in an increasingly mobile world, there are actually far more opportunities than threats. Rather than give in to security threats and enforce bans that can be detrimental or even unenforceable, businesses must instead ensure that their mobile workers have the tools to get online and work securely at all times.”

The Business Continuity Institute

84% of UK small business owners and 43% of senior executives of large companies are unaware of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation, despite there now being less than a year to go until the law comes into force, a law that is designed to bring greater strength and consistency to the data protection given to individuals within the European Union.

Shred-It's seventh annual Security Tracker survey also found that only 14% of small business owners and 31% of senior executives were able to correctly identify the fine associated with the new regulation – up to €20 million or 4% of global turnover. This is despite a large proportion of senior executives (95%) and small business owners (87%) claiming to have at least some understanding of their industry’s legal requirements.

Businesses which are unaware of the forthcoming legislation and its implications are not only putting themselves at risk of severe financial penalties, but also the reputational damage caused by adverse publicity associated with falling foul of the law. This can often have a greater impact than the fine itself. Research shows that 64% of executives agree that their organization’s privacy and data protection practices contribute to reputation and brand image.

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.

Of those respondents who claim to be aware of the legislation change, only 40% of senior executives have already begun to take action in preparation for the GDPR, in spite of 60% agreeing that the change in legislation would put pressure on their organization to change its policies related to information security.

The survey also highlights that companies feel the UK Government needs to take more action. 41% of small business owners (an 8% increase from 2016) believe that the Government’s commitment to information security needs improvement.

Robert Guice, Senior Vice President Shred-it EMEAA, said: “As we approach May 2018, it’s crucial that organizations of all sizes begin to take a proactive approach in preparing for the incoming GDPR. From implementing stricter internal data protection procedures such as staff training, internal processing audits and reviews of HR policies, to ensuring greater transparency around the use of personal information, businesses must be aware of how the legislation will affect their company to ensure they are fully compliant.”

“Governmental bodies such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), must take a leading role in supporting businesses to get GDPR ready, by helping them to understand the preparation needed and the urgency in acting now. The closer Government, information security experts and UK businesses work together, the better equipped organizations will find themselves come May 2018.” 

The Business Continuity Institute

Welcome to the age of disruption, uncertainty and opportunity.

The development of technology is transforming every sphere of our lives. Societies, government and organizations are seeing change at a velocity which has not been witnessed in the history of mankind. The rules of every industry are being rewritten while geopolitics, regulations and globalization are making the world an increasingly complex place to survive and succeed. No one is exempt - including our industry.

Poised at the crossroads of change stands an opportunity. It is called India.

A sixth of world's population is expected to grow at a pace faster than the rest of world. 1.25 billion Indians have unprecedented energy and hunger to make a difference to this planet. It is also said that the world is coming to India and will continue to do so for some time. As a country, we are excited and humbled by this massive opportunity. We are also looking forward to the benefits coming from this. This massive tide of opportunity has the potential to lift everybody, promising to benefit individuals, organizations and entire industries.

If India continues on its present growth course, it could have a US$5 trillion economy within the next 20 years. But our national ambition is to perhaps go beyond that. This journey will have its own set of challenges and will not guarantee growth by default. Multiple industries and sectors will evolve in parallel and not always in synergy. At the same time India’s ambition will also collide with global realities at play. In this context, resilience will take a whole new meaning for India.

It is now our time to create our unique point of view in our domain and shape the future of our profession. Navigating this means constant exploration of the strands, fragments, dynamics and even contradictions that form a part of this unfolding narrative. We are grateful to the Business Continuity Institute for helping us start the 20/20 journey in India.

India is one of the BCI’s growth markets, and David Thorp, Executive Director at the BCI, recently said: “the 20/20 Groups are an integral part of the BCI’s aim to shape the future of our profession. This is a space to engage in provocative thought, play with ideas and engage with fellow experts. India holds so much potential in leading our profession and shaping future practice, and I’m counting on the India 20/20 Group to bring out those ideas worth spreading to the rest of the world.”

As such, thought leadership has never been more relevant. We are looking for fresh, powerful thought leadership for the India 20/20 Group, and our mission to achieve this is based on three core beliefs.

  • New thinking can create a better future for business continuity
  • Our ideas have the power to influence global paradigms on business continuity
  • Modern day thought leadership requires a broad base, engaging a more global audience

We believe the challenge for us is how to lead our audiences and stakeholders so that they can explore, alter and shift their understanding about India’s business continuity story and also contribute to the global Think Tank of business continuity professionals.

As leading practitioners of business continuity in India, I invite you to be part of this exciting journey. If you are curious and are able to open new paths through your expertise we can enable you to explore, engage and launch your own thought leadership. If you would like to find out more about the BCI 20/20 Think Tank India Group, or if you would like to submit your interest in becoming a part of it, just click here.

Together let us take business continuity forward.

Arunabh Mitra MBCI is the Chief Continuity Officer of HCL Technologies. He is involved in the leadership of the BCI Hyderabad Forum and also leads the BCI 20/20 in India.


Director of Technical Marketing, iland

It only takes one storm to change one’s life and business. Natural disasters strike with little to no warning and can be devastating to an organization’s operational and economic infrastructure. In today’s world of 24/7/365 always available business, if a business is down, even for a few hours, customers will not wait for recovery. They will find someone else and continue their business. The total cost of not just downtime but brand, reputation, and lost customers is monumental. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and an additional 25 percent fail within one year. This failure rate is primarily due to business’ fundamental lack of preparedness.

Hurricane season officially began on June 1st and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expecting the 2017 season to be above average. Businesses should prepare for the hurricane season by educating their employees and examining what best practices need to be adopted to maintain business continuity through disaster situations.

IT business continuity and disaster recovery in today’s world is no longer shipping backups to another location. In the event of a hurricane, entire infrastructures can be down for hours or days. What happens if power to the building is out for three days? What happens if there is no internet for a week? In extreme cases, actual damage to equipment can happen. Insurance can recover the cost of physical damage, but your business needs to be up and running as soon as something happens.

True disaster recovery and business continuity means the ability to quickly and reliably be running within minutes somewhere else. This doesn’t mean restoring a backup to a server standing by in some closet in another state, but actually moving entire operations near real-time and continuing the business. This can be done with a variety of cloud and software services that provide up-to-the-minute changes being moved to this secondary location. In an ideal situation, businesses can actually fail over their operations with little disruption ahead of any storm hitting. Once business is up and running in a safe location, the focus can return to employee and community safety knowing that business needs are already taken care of.

When crafting a business continuity plan for an IT organization, I suggest a five-step approach. Step one, understand the technology options available. Are backups sufficient or is a true disaster recovery (DR) solution needed? Step two involves categorizing IT systems. Which systems are most critical to day-to-day operations? Often, organizations will take a hybrid approach to data protection, employing a DR solution for mission-critical applications while protecting less-critical applications with backups. Step three is implementation. When considering implementation of a business continuity solution, consider how – and how much – to invest. Once assessed what it will take to keep the business running, pair it with the appetite for on premise investment, capital and operating expenses, and ongoing management. Step four is to build the business continuity plan. At this point there are a number of decisions to be made – what sorts of situations constitute a disaster for the company? Who can declare a disaster and enact the plan? What are the formal procedures?

The final step is testing. Just like a test evacuating a building for an emergency, a test of resilient IT infrastructure is important to not only gain confidence that it will work but to gain an understanding of how to accomplish complete business failover so, that in the case of a disaster, it really is as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Unlike sudden natural disasters such as tornadoes or earthquakes, hurricanes do allow you some lead time in order to enact a plan. What can’t be planned for is how long it will be before you can have your data center up and running again. Make sure wherever operations are running – be it a secondary location or a third-party cloud – it meets performance, security, and compliance needs.

Here are two examples of customers who understand their risk and have enabled true business continuity solutions in their environment.

Woodforest National Bank Finds a Summertime Home for Its Data

Woodforest National Bank, headquartered in Houston, Texas, experienced disaster during Hurricane Ike in 2008 losing power at its primary datacenter causing it to remain on generator power for 10 full days. Not wanting to experience that level of catastrophe again, its IT team transitioned from disaster recovery to disaster avoidance by pre-emptively “failing-over” all production applications to a secondary site in Austin, TX every June with a planned return to the primary site once hurricane season wraps up at the end of October.

What makes this failover of an entire datacenter a seamless action for Woodforest is its virtualized infrastructure, which operates at 95 percent virtualized level with a hypervisor and Zerto hypervisor-based replication. This combination facilitates a much faster and more error proof DR process, creating a strategy that is prepared to overcome any disaster.

R’Club Strengthens Its DRaaS Plan to Care for Children of First Responders

R’Club Child Care, Inc. is a not-for-profit childcare provider in the Tampa Bay, Florida area that cares for more than 4,000 children of first responders. R’Club’s IT team runs all its servers through on premise VMware and supports more than a dozen applications, all virtualized. While they run Veeam in their environment and back-up systems to a local SAN, they found that utilizing the off-site backup option through Veeam Cloud Connect helped them maintain mission critical IT applications at an affordable cost for the non-profit during times of disaster.

Prior to adopting a secure DRaaS with Veeam solution, R’Club worked with a local partner to lease space for replication with a nearby data center. R’Club used an off-the-shelf NAS device to copy their backups off-site. The process was cumbersome and error-prone, as the device would repeatedly fail and required rebooting. Further, off-site backups didn’t provide the assurance of ongoing availability that R’Club required. It would take hours or days to recover a system – and with their charter supporting first responders in the hurricane zone in Florida, that was time they couldn’t afford.

Now, if R’Club’s data center is swept away by a hurricane, the service provider can restore data through its BaaS operation.

Careful planning and understanding worst-case scenarios for business can help organizations build a comprehensive business continuity plan and disaster recovery strategy. Many companies have good intentions and start these plans, but fail to follow through. Now is the time to reflect on what is in place and consider if the current DR plan will get businesses through an unplanned disaster.

It’s summer time and nothing typifies it more in the United States than a parade on one of its summer holidays. Keeping with this tradition, the Acronis 12.5 release rolls out a parade of new features that help differentiate it in a crowded market. Leading its feature parade is the introduction of security software to authenticate preexisting backups; the flexibility to customize the names of archived backups; and, event-based backup scheduling all caught my eye as features that few other backup software products currently offer.

These days almost any product briefing with any backup software provider starts with some mention of how they deal with ransomware and, really, how can you blame them? Management is usually more aware of the quality of the coffee in the break room than their company’s ability to recover from backup. Ransomware has changed all of that. Suddenly having viable backups from which one can quickly and easily recover from a ransomware attack has the attention of everyone from department level managers to executives in corporate boardrooms.

While it can be said with some level of certainly that any properly configured backup software product provides some level of protection again ransomware, the ability of each backup software product to do so varies. Further, ransomware is rapidly evolving. Acronis recently became aware of at least one iteration of ransomware that is corrupting/infecting older backups that reside on disk. In this variation, even possessing older backups may not guarantee a good restore since the ransomware may infect those backups.

This is how the Acronis 12.5 feature parade begins: by setting itself apart using security software to authenticate backup files. Part of its new Acronis Active Protection feature functionality, the security software actively monitors preexisting backup files for any changes to them and compares them to the original state of the backup. If unauthorized changes to older backups are detected, it creates an alert and restores the backup to its original state.

The second feature found in Acronis 12.5 focuses less on engineering and more on Acronis listening to its customer base. Its beta testing for 12.5 was done by nearly 3,000 of its customers. Feedback out of that testing was their desire to give archived backups more meaningful names. Up to that point, archived backups were given an automated, predetermined name assigned by the Acronis backup software. In version 12.5, users have flexibility to assign names to archived backups that are easier to identify and use by applications other than Acronis.

The third feature up in the Acronis 12.5 parade of features is its introduction of event-based backup scheduling. Almost every administrator has had a moment of concern or regret after he or she decommissions a server, or applies a patch or upgrade to it and realizes they did not think to do a backup of it to do a fail back or recovery if necessary. Event-based backup scheduling takes this worry about forgetting to complete this step off their plate. By configuring this feature within Acronis 12.5 for protected servers, as soon as they initiate one of these activities, Acronis detects this task and completes a backup before the server is decommissioned, patched, or upgraded.

Young or old, everyone seems to love a parade in the summer as they watch the participants and anticipate the next float coming around the bend. The Acronis 12.5 release contains a parade of features with three of them providing organizations new benchmarks by which to measure backup software in both innovative and practical manners. Whether it is helping companies to better detect and protect against ransomware or giving them better, more practical means to manage backups in their environment, Acronis 12.5 provides some of the key new features that organizations need in today’s rapidly evolving world of data protection.


The Business Continuity Institute

The Business Continuity Institute has provided further evidence that attaining the CBCI credential greatly enhances your career prospects. The latest Salary Benchmarking Report revealed that those who are certified BCI members, on average, get paid considerably more than their non-certified colleagues.

The BCI's Global Salary Benchmarking Report is a study of over 1,000 business continuity and resilience professionals that seeks to discover the remuneration packages that those in the industry receive, whether it is salary, bonus or other benefits. In addition to the global report, there are also region-specific reports for Australasia, Europe, North America, UK and USA.

In Europe, those who are members of the world’s leading Institute for continuity and resilience can earn, on average, 45% more than those who aren’t members, while in North America they can earn 21% more, and 19% more in Australasia. The study showed that Switzerland is the country to work in if you want to command the top salary, while North America was the top region overall.

“The CBCI credential has become the certification of choice for those entering the business continuity profession, and this is why 1,200 new professionals attain it each year,” said David Thorp, Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute. “The study shows just how highly regarded the CBCI is, with organizations willing to pay their employees more for successfully achieving it.”

There is an extremely healthy outlook for those in the industry, with the majority of business continuity and resilience professionals indicating their contentment with their career as more than half (54%) have a positive outlook, while only 6% have a negative outlook. More than 7 in 10 respondents (72%) express being either satisfied or very satisfied in their current role, while only 1 in 10 (10%) stated they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

It is perhaps this overall contentment that is the reason why only 14% of business continuity and resilience professionals have changed employers in the last twelve months, while more than 6 in 10 have no plan to change employers over the next twelve months.

The report did reveal, however, a considerable gender gap with males getting paid far more than females. The highest gap was in Europe with a 64% difference between the two.

The Business Continuity Institute

It’s true to say that without the many volunteers who give their time to the BCI globally we would not be where we are now; it is the efforts of volunteers that have fuelled the engine of our growth since our formation over twenty years ago.

Whatever stats show on the economic value of volunteers, it would be wrong to imply that the primary reason to use volunteers is to reduce the cost of paid staff. This organization is owned by its members and relies on the work they carry out across so many of our activities. Indeed it’s true to say that the paid staff of the Institute are here to help those members who volunteer their time and their skills and not the other way around. No measurement of economic value takes into consideration the knowledge and experience these volunteers bring with them.

Volunteers enable us to engage a more diverse range of people across the resilience community, and make the most of their expertise. As an organization headquartered in the UK but operating within a global environment, it is important that we are inclusive to ideas, local knowledge and cultural insight from all quarters, and volunteers support us in this. With members in over 100 countries and a Central Office of only 25 employees, even though they do represent several nationalities, it would be extremely difficult for the BCI to have the impact it does in many of these countries without volunteers from within our membership community playing a major part.

With over 70 community groups worldwide, there are hundreds of business continuity and resilience professionals offering up their own time to help enhance the reputation of the Institute, and the industry as a whole. These volunteers help promote the highest standards of both professional and technical competency, and facilitate networking opportunities to enable business continuity professionals to come together and share good practice, exchange ideas and build valuable relationships. Volunteers also act as our ambassadors, helping to support the regional growth of the BCI by extending our reach.

Volunteers help inform the development and delivery of our activities and services by bringing in fresh opinions, ideas and approaches, as well as subject matter expertise. This helps us to make sure we are relevant to the industry and those who work in it. Take our Good Practice Guidelines for example; these are currently being reviewed in order to launch a revised edition at the BCI World Conference in November, and this review has largely been carried out by volunteers, about 60 of them from across the world, each ensuring that global good practice is just that – global!

Of course, volunteering doesn’t just offer a benefit to the BCI, we’d like to think it provides value to the volunteer as well. There are many reasons why people choose to offer their time to support the BCI. For some it is simple altruism and the enjoyment of giving back to their community. For others it is the networking opportunities that volunteering brings. For many it is the chance to develop new skills, perhaps even to be able to include it on their CV. On top of that, from a well-being point of view, studies have shown that volunteering can lead to enhanced self-esteem, reduced stress and improved health.

We, as an Institute, are heavily reliant on the work carried by our incredible volunteers, and this is reflected in the responsibilities they are given. However, as an organization, we have a responsibility toward them too. A responsibility to invest in volunteering and ensure they are getting as much support from us as they need. I’m always open to ideas, so if you have any suggestions on what we can do to better support you then please do get in touch.

In the UK, we have just started Volunteers’ Week, a week-long celebration of all that volunteers do for the benefit of others. The theme of the week is ‘you make the difference’ and that is certainly the case with the BCI. We are extremely grateful for all our volunteers, and owe them a debt of thanks for everything they do to support the aims of the BCI.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute

The Business Continuity Institute

The latest Salary Benchmarking Report published by the Business Continuity Institute has shown a clear gender pay-gap across multiple demographics within the business continuity industry. The report suggests that the profession, and arguably society as a whole, contains some major disadvantages that need to be addressed urgently.

The BCI's Global Salary Benchmarking Report is a study of over 1,000 business continuity and resilience professionals that seeks to discover the remuneration packages that those in the industry receive, whether it is salary, bonus or other benefits. In addition to the global report, there are also region-specific reports for AustralasiaEuropeNorth AmericaUK and USA.

Perhaps the most alarming finding of the report is that Europe has the most notable pay-gap between genders as, on average, males earn a salary that is 64% higher than females. In North America they earn 24% more, while in Central and Latin America the gap is 19%. In Sub-Saharan Africa and Australasia the gap drops to 12% and 11% respectively. In the Middle East and North Africa, the gap is significantly reduced with only 3% difference between males and females. The report identified that only in Asia did females, on average, earn more than males.

When the results are broken down by level of education, regardless of whether the respondents had the equivalent of A-levels, an undergraduate degree or a postgraduate degree, males still earned more than females. For those with A-Levels, or their equivalent, there is a 7% gap, and for those with a postgraduate degree there is an 11% gap. However, for those with an undergraduate degree, males earn a third more than females.

Analysing the results on the basis of age shows that the difference in the ‘18-34’ category was marginal, but it increased to 16% in the ‘35-44’ category, and up to 25% in the ‘45-64’ category, showing that the gap widens as careers progress. Or, more to the point, it perhaps suggests that females are not progressing in their career at the same pace as males.

Experience also affected the gender pay gap. One of the few categories where females had a higher salary than males was in the ‘0-9 years' experience’ category, but this soon changed as males with ‘10-19 years' experience’ earned about a third more than females in the same category. The gap narrowed again as males with ‘20-29 years’ experience’ and ‘30+ years' experience’ earned 21% and 14% more respectively.

Whatever way the data is broken down, in the vast majority of cases, males receive greater remuneration than females, even when they are at the same level. Of course there may be other factors involved, but the results very much suggest an imbalance in pay between male and female business continuity professionals.

“As a profession we need to do more to ensure that there is diversity and equality,” said David Thorp, Executive Director of the BCI. “We should not have barriers in place that exclude 50% of the population from wanting to be a business continuity and resilience professional, and clearly taking home less pay at the end of the month is a barrier.”

Founded in 1994 with the aim of promoting a more resilient world, the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has established itself as the world’s leading Institute for business continuity and resilience. The BCI has become the membership and certifying organization of choice for business continuity and resilience professionals globally with over 8,000 members in more than 100 countries, working in an estimated 3,000 organizations in the private, public and third sectors.

The vast experience of the Institute’s broad membership and partner network is built into its world class education, continuing professional development and networking activities. Every year, more than 1,500 people choose BCI training, with options ranging from short awareness raising tools to a full academic qualification, available online and in a classroom. The Institute stands for excellence in the resilience profession and its globally recognised Certified grades provide assurance of technical and professional competency. The BCI offers a wide range of resources for professionals seeking to raise their organization’s level of resilience, and its extensive thought leadership and research programme helps drive the industry forward. With approximately 120 Partners worldwide, the BCI Partnership offers organizations the opportunity to work with the BCI in promoting best practice in business continuity and resilience.

The BCI welcomes everyone with an interest in building resilient organizations from newcomers, experienced professionals and organizations. Further information about the BCI is available at www.thebci.org.

The Business Continuity Institute

By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (BA Terminal Heathrow) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Both Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, two of the busiest airports in the UK, were in chaos last weekend as a "catastrophic IT failure" at BA caused many flights to be cancelled. About 300,000 passengers were affected as a result, showing once again how important it is for organizations to have a business continuity programme in place to help manage through such disruptions.

An outage like this shouldn't come as a surprise to organizations. After all, the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report, featured IT and telecoms outages third on the list of threats that business continuity professionals are most concerned about. For anyone trying to fly in or out of Heathrow or Gatwick, it is clear just how disruptive they can be. Organizations must therefore be prepared to deal with the possibility that one will occur.

While effective business management isn't necessarily about carrying on as normal, but ensuring that priority activities can still be carried out in the event of a disruption, it is hard to believe that one of the priorities for BA wasn't to keep its flights running at two busy airports, on a bank holiday weekend at the start of the half-term school holidays.

To be fair to BA, as an airline they must put passenger safety as their number one priority, and this could mean that the alternative arrangements other organizations would put in place simply aren't an option for them.

"This outage is yet another demonstration of how reliant we are on our IT systems and the severe disruption it can cause when they go down," said David Thorp, Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute. "With such reliance, we need to be prepared for the inevitability that at some point they will go down, and so have plans in place to prevent it turning into a crisis."

If an organization is so reliant on its IT systems, as BA clearly are, what processes are in place to ensure that, when the IT goes down, work can still continue? It was reported that the IT failure was the result of a loss of power, if this was the case, where was the back-up power supply? If there were processes in place, had they been tested to make sure that they work?

What has annoyed people most about this particular incident, and many others like it, is not the disruption itself, most people recognise that these things happen. Instead it was the lack of communications as those who experienced the worst of the disruption felt that they were not being told anything. Organizations need to make sure that crisis communications are part of the planning process so that when things go wrong, stakeholders are kept fully informed. While IT systems can soon be recovered, a damaged reputation can take even longer to recover.

The Business Continuity Institute

With only one year to go before the European Union General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) deadline, many US businesses with European customers are not fully prepared to comply with the new laws, which include ‘Right to be Forgotten’ customer consent mandates and regulations on how customer data is handled. US companies, or any organization that stores data on EU citizens, will face hefty fines or lawsuits if they don’t fully comply - up to 4% of annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater.

US large-company CIOs saying they are well-briefed on the impending laws, up from 73%, when asked the same question last year. However, only 60% have detailed plans in place to address the new laws’ requirements. This is up from 33% from last year’s survey, but suggests there is still significant work ahead.

94% of the large US company CIOs surveyed say their companies have personally identifiable information (PII) on EU customers, making the new mandates applicable to them.

Particularly challenging is the mandate to obtain customer permission to use PII in application testing, a critical part of software development. 55% of US firms have a plan in place to address this, but nearly one-third say they don’t fully understand the impact of this ruling.

The data complexity of modern systems is also an issue, as 85% admit it’s sometimes difficult to know exactly where all their customer data resides, an increase from last year’s survey with 78% then admitting that difficulty.

“US organizations are heading in the right direction on GDPR compliance, but there is still work to be done to improve data governance capabilities,” said Chris O’Malley, CEO of Compuware. “Manual processes that are used to locate and protect customer data must be replaced with automated capabilities that enable businesses to quickly, accurately and visually manage data privatization and protection.”

The findings also reveal US organizations are better prepared for the GDPR than their European counterparts. Compared to the 60% of US companies saying they have detailed and far-reaching plans in place, only 19% of UK companies have such plans prepared, a modest improvement of only 1% since last year.

US respondents ranked their biggest GDPR compliance hurdles to overcome as follows:

  • Design and implementation of internal processes (65%)
  • Securing customer consent to use their personal data and handling the process of data withdrawal if requested by the customer (64%)
  • Ensuring data quality (52%)
  • Cost of implementation (43%)
  • Data complexity (41%)
Thursday, 25 May 2017 14:35

BCI: US more prepared for GDPR than UK

The Business Continuity Institute

As companies outsource processes and services, they expose themselves to a plethora of third-party risks. Whether it's data security, business disruptions or compliance risks, organizations must have the relevant measures in place to mitigate their potential impact on business continuity and reputation.

A report my MetricStream however, shows that one in five respondents to a survey (21%) reported that their organization has faced significant risks due to third-parties during the last 18 months. Of those that shared financial impact data on the losses, a quarter said that the loss was greater than £8 million (generated through cost of downtime, regulatory fines and reputational damage).

How organizations are managing third-party risk also revealed that nearly three quarters (73%) of businesses do not track fourth-parties, meaning they have no visibility past their immediate suppliers. This finding emphasises some of the concerns raised in the Business Continuity Institute's latest Supply Chain Resilience Report which revealed that only two-thirds of organizations maintain adequate visibility over their full supply chain.

French Caldwell, chief evangelist at MetricStream, commented: “As companies continue to outsource their processes and services in order to decrease costs, streamline or scale up quickly, they are opening themselves up to risks. However, despite some supplier incidents costing upwards of £8 million, 44% of the respondents said that their business had no dedicated third-party risk management function. Furthermore, as enterprises rapidly adopt cloud services, entities that would have been third-parties when the services were managed in-house become fourth parties which are more difficult to monitor.

“Businesses can no longer plead ignorance. They are responsible for the actions of their third-parties and they will bear the brunt of any fallout. For example, if a business shares sensitive data with a third-party without checking if it has relevant cyber security, and that supplier suffers a data breach, under some rules the company could be liable. Not only will it suffer reputational damage, but new regulations such as the EU GDPR could see large fines imposed too."

Not All Emergency Notification Systems Are The Same

Does your company have a modern mass communication system? When I say “modern,” I am referring to one that doesn’t rely solely on email or phone; one that is able to contact employees on multiple devices simultaneously; one that can be activated in a matter of seconds and reach its intended audience within minutes. I’m going to add another feature in the mix because it is so invaluable when it comes to reaction time – interactive maps.Interactive maps use GPS to track and monitor employees and events – not in a creepy, big brother way but in a way that ensures employees are safe and accounted for no matter where they work. GPS can provide more immediate location information to help first responders to act quickly when seconds count. Think of it this way: if you were working in a location where an emergency struck, would you be uncomfortable or thankful that your employer was sending help to your exact location within seconds of the incident?



I have gotten some inquiries about where spending on artificial intelligence and cognitive technologies occur in our tech market numbers (see, for example, "US Tech Market Outlook For 2017 And 2018: Mostly Sunny, With Clouds And Chance Of Rain").  The short answer is that we include them in our data on business intelligence and analytics, though so far  spending on these technologies is still small -- probably than a billion dollars for 2017.

But even as artificial intelligence spending grows, it is likely to remain small in terms of visibility.  That's because artificial intelligence solutions are likely to be functions in existing software products, and not something that firms buy directly.  Put another way, the biggest buyers of AI will probably be software, services, and hardware vendors, who use AI to help their products and services work better.

There is precedence for this pattern in the BI and analytics market.  My Forrester colleague Boris Evelson has been collecting data from the leading BI vendors as to the percentage of their revenues that they get from end customers versus from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).  On average, about 10% of these vendors' revenues come from sales to OEMs.  And that could well be understated, because vendors like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, or SAP don't provide data on the explicit (or more likely implicit) value of their analytics products that are used in their applications.



Let me pose a question: “Is it a bad thing to give the average person a hand grenade with the pin pulled?” I think most of us would respond to that question with an emphatic “YES!”  No one in their right mind would think it's a good idea in any possible reality to allow anyone without extensive military or professional training to access an explosive--especially not one that is live and has no safety device in use. Bad things would happen, and people would probably lose their lives; at the very least, there would be damage to property. No matter what, this scenario would be a very bad thing and should NEVER happen.

OK, now let me change that question a bit: “Is it a bad thing for every person with a network connection to have access to extremely powerful nation-state-level cyber weapons?”  Hopefully you would respond similarly and say “YES!”

Just as the hand grenade juggling is a problem, so is the proliferation of nation-state-level exploits. These malicious tools and frameworks have spread across the world and are presenting a very complicated problem that must be solved. Unfortunately, the solution that we've currently been offered amounts to a variety of vendors slinging solutions and tools that, without good strategy, cannot effectively combat the myriad cyber artillery shells now being weaponized against every system that touches the World Wide Web. The bad guys have now officially proven that they can “outdev” the defensive technologies in place in many instances and have shown that it's highly likely that many installed legacy technologies are wide open to these weaponized attacks (anti-virus be darned) across the planet.



The Business Continuity Institute

In 2016 global supply chains continued to face a range of security, social responsibility, and business continuity risks, with many of these issues provoked by one another, according to BSI's Global Supply Chain Intelligence Report.

The report noted multiple incidents that started out as a security, social responsibility, or a business continuity risk that cascaded into other supply chain issues. The European migrant crisis is perhaps the best example of a type of event that began as a single security risk, before building into a business continuity disruption as countries imposed border controls, which in turn was exacerbated by blocked migrants looking for work, often falling victim to forced labour in certain nations. As risks, such as the migrant crisis, continue to evolve, it's imperative that organizations work together to take a holistic risk management approach to ensure they are informed and prepared to address multiple areas of concern.

In 2016, governments in Asia responded to increasing levels of supply chain risks, but many policies were merely reactive and often led to further threats to the integrity or continuity of the supply chain. BSI observed a shift in labour strike threats in China in 2016, driven mainly by concerted government efforts to limit strikes in the country following years of increasing labour disruption. Labour strikes still occurred in large numbers across China last year, but the number of strikes dropped in 2016 for the first time in recent years. Strikes at factories dropped by 31%; with two-thirds of provinces – including major apparel, consumer goods, and electronics production hubs – witnessing a decline in manufacturing strikes. An emerging area of concern is the growth in strikes in the logistics sector, including trucking, shipment processing, and delivery, which rose more than fourfold from nine incidents in 2014 to 40 last year.

Asia also saw an increase in labour rights concerns in Bangladesh in both the ready-made garments sector and in other industries. A December 2016 survey of the Dhaka slums found a far higher incidence of child labour than previous government studies had suggested, with 15% of children employed in formal and informal enterprises. Additionally, the survey found that a significantly larger proportion of children were employed in the formal RMG sector than had been previously believed. The study also documented abusive practices in garment factories that employed children. Over 37% of girls reported being forced to work overtime, while children employed in the formal garment sector earned only half the national minimum monthly wage for garment workers.

Europe experienced significant terrorist attacks in Nice, France in July and Berlin, Germany in December, along with dozens of counter-terrorism arrests across Europe in 2016. Those attacks in particular also underscored the threat that terrorists will exploit the supply chain to perpetrate attacks. In both cases, Tunisian men linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) used cargo trucks to ram into crowds of civilians. The Berlin attacker even perpetrated an explicit disruption of the supply chain before the attack by hijacking a Polish tractor-trailer carrying a shipment of steel beams. ISIS-linked plots involving similar timing and tactics are likely to continue challenging European security into 2017.

In Turkey, a faction within the military launched a failed coup against the reigning Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, leading to significant security and business continuity impacts in the short and long terms. The Turkish government's response to the coup attempt has exacerbated security and business continuity threats in the country. Days after the coup, the government began widespread purges of numerous government departments and agencies across virtually every ministry, as well as the military, police, and intelligence services. There have been 100,000+ officials removed from public duty, 70,000 investigated and 32,000 arrested in total.

Supply chains in the Americas faced a wide range of risks related to security, corporate social responsibility, and business continuity in 2016. Cargo theft remains a main concern for the Americas with the most dramatic increase in cargo theft rates in Rio de Janeiro last year. Already the second largest hotspot for cargo theft in the country, officials in Rio de Janeiro reported a total of 9,870 cargo theft incidents in 2016, 36% more incidents than those recorded in the state in 2015. The year-over-year increase in cargo theft incidents in both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, combined with minimal efforts to curb the rate of theft, suggests that Brazil could see another year of increased cargo theft in 2017.

BSI also recorded varying degrees of improvement in corporate social responsibility protections in Latin America in 2016. The BSI SCREEN Intelligence Team reduced the rating for the threat of child labour in both Ecuador and Panama due to each country's sustained efforts to drastically eliminate the problem. In Ecuador, the government reduced the rate of children working in the country from the 16% recorded in 2007 to now less than 3%, with Panama succeeding in reducing the rate of child labour in the country to about 4%, a number that represents a 50% reduction since 2012. Although most countries in Latin America improved upon their corporate social responsibility record, some nations, particularly Peru, failed to make much headway last year.

In 2017, BSI expects continued threats of cargo theft and drug smuggling in the Americas and Europe, protests over wage and other labour issues across Asia, and persistent risks of terrorism, including terrorist targeting of the supply chain. New initiatives to address security, social responsibility, and continuity risks in many regions will require close monitoring to assess their effectiveness at the ground-level.

The Business Continuity Institute

Switzerland, Luxembourg and Sweden are the three countries most resilient to the pressures of the 21st century according to the  2017 FM Global Resilience Index, with Nepal, Venezuela and Haiti making up the bottom three on their list. The study, which ranks 130 countries and territories by their enterprise resilience to disruptive events, also highlighted that the most pressing risks to business performance are cyber attack, natural hazards and supply chain failure.

For organizations concerned by the increasing incidence of cyber attack, oil-rich Saudi Arabia has emerged as a country with above-average inherent cyber risk. Its high internet penetration, combined with a limited cyber security industry, make it a more vulnerable target. Developing India, by contrast, with its growing information technology industry, emerges as a country with below-average inherent cyber risk.

For organizations aware of the heavy toll of natural disasters, Sweden has above-average resilience due, in part, to its lower-than-average exposure to hazards such as windstorms, flood and earthquakes. On the other hand, flood-prone Bangladesh, a major manufacturing hub for apparel and textiles, ranks toward the bottom of the index.

For organizations with global supply chains, Germany, a major exporter and importer, ranks near the top in resilience, driven in part by its strong ability to demonstrate where parts, components or products are in transit. Russia ranks below average in this respect.

The index also ranked countries in terms of overall enterprise resilience with wealthy Switzerland occupying the number-one spot. This reflects high scores for its infrastructure, local supplier quality, political stability, control of corruption and economic productivity. Hurricane-ravaged Haiti ranks at the bottom of the index due in part to its high natural hazard exposure and poor economic conditions.

Many of the insights originate from three new resilience drivers added to the index this year. Inherent cyber risk reflects a country’s vulnerability to a cyber attack and its ability to recover; urbanization rate serves as a proxy for stress (on water supplies, power grids and other infrastructure) that would be exacerbated by natural disasters such as windstorms, flood and earthquakes; and supply chain visibility – reflects the ability to track and trace consignments across a country’s supply chain.

Other drivers of resilience that form the index include: productivity, political risk, oil intensity, exposure to natural hazard, natural hazard risk quality, fire risk quality, control of corruption, quality of infrastructure and quality of local suppliers.

“Our clients have found the index valuable when making important decisions about their properties, business strategies and supply chains,” said Bret Ahnell, executive vice president at FM Global. “We upgraded the index this year to reflect escalating threats that can make a lasting impact on business performance. FM Global will continue to improve the index and make the data publicly available to any business, client or not.”

Recent incidents remind us that knowledge is power. Earlier this week, US President Trump shared classified information with foreign delegates — and by doing so, he potentially declassified it. When The Washington Post exposed the headline first, the article became the most viewed digital news story in the publication’s history. This comes only a few days after a sweep of global cyberattacks locked major corporations and governments out of their data and threatened to release stolen content (like a soon-to-be-released Disney film) in increments. These stories remind us that those who own and control information wield power — but also that the boundary between public and private information is becoming easier to transgress.  

Organizations and regulators are not the only ones contending with the power play of public and private information. Consumers are also becoming empowered as their knowledge of institutions’ inner workings and related data risks grows. As a result, consumers are striving to control their personal information. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals that consumers around the world are motivated to manage their data, and those in the US and UK are especially conscious:



In light of the very recent WannaCry ransomware cyber attack that has impacted more than 230,000 victims in over 150 countries since it began last week, it is more important now than ever to be thinking about your organization’s business resiliency, specifically your business continuity plan and IT disaster recovery plan. Should your organization experience any type of business disruption—such as a cyberattack—the best defense is having not only a plan, but also a crisis communications platform that will aid in the management of such an event.

Business Continuity Awareness Week 2017

Given the recent cyber attack, it’s perfect timing for Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW) which is happening now—May 15-19, 2017, and this year’s theme is dedicated to Cyber Security.

This annual global event is facilitated by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI). The purpose of BCAW is to provide a vehicle to raise the awareness of and to showcase the value of Business Continuity Management as an integrated part of an organization’s strategy.

BCAW opens up the doors to anyone who wants to find out more about what business continuity is all about and how it might benefit their own organization. The BCI educates organizations on the importance of business continuity planning by sharing experiences, knowledge, and best practices. This year they are focused on “Building Resilience by Improving Cyber Security.”



The Business Continuity Institute

Quite often with cyber security, the public sees what might appear to be a game of cat and mouse: the perpetrators (bad guys) attack, then the cyber security establishment (government, private companies, and so on; the good guys) defend and try to plug, patch, and repair the problem after the fact. What we are missing in this picture—what may not be reported, or underreported - is how many companies and organizations are unaffected, as well as those who may have been impacted but are hesitant to admit this and risk bad publicity.

The latest example of this is the WannaCry attack, which now looks like it came from the North Korean-affiliated Lazarus group. This attack would have been defeated if organizations simply allowed computers running Microsoft-based operating systems to install the update that would have fixed the vulnerability. With personal computers, most users allow this to operate automatically, but with corporate computers this task is generally taken care of by an IT department that often runs several versions of Windows behind.

It is interesting that, according to reports, this ransomware attack - which claims to encrypt all of users’ files and offers a payment-based decryption service to restore them - has only generated $50,000 in ransom. However, it is our guess that this number is severely underreported; we have found few people like to admit to having been a victim of this kind of attack, just as users affected by Nigerian scams often deny being victims. It’s also interesting to speculate whether people will continue to pay any ransom given that, according to reports, no one who’s paid the ransom thus far has had their files decrypted.

How can organizations break this vicious cat-and-mouse cycle? One way to effectively build and maintain organizational resilience on an enterprise level is creating a cyber security program that repels and recovers from cyber attacks, following the Four Rs of Resilience: Robustness, Redundancy, Resourcefulness, and Rapidity. For our purposes with regards to WannaCry, let’s focus on just two factors: Robustness and Redundancy.

Robustness is the ability of systems and elements to withstand disaster forces without significant degradation or loss of performance. The simple fix here is making sure all operating systems are updated, including any systems by vendors, home systems that may be used (or prevented from accessing corporate systems) and tertiary systems an organization relies on. More sophisticated solutions such as software defined perimeter would also have prevented the attack, by establishing a dark layer and credentialing process, restricting access.

Redundancy is the extent to which systems and elements or other units are substitutable or capable of satisfying functional requirements, if significant degradation or loss of functionality occur. Regular backups would remove the concern about having data encrypted or destroyed as users could just retrieve the same data from their backup.

So in short, what’s the best way to keep your personal and organizational data safe in the age of WannaCry? It may seem simple, but it’s the most basic cyber security advice for a reason: update and backup your files. Frequently.

Andrew Boyarsky and Douglas Graham are the academic director of the master’s program in enterprise risk management at the Mordecai D. and Monique C. Katz School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Yeshiva University and an advisory council member at the Katz School, respectively. The opinions expressed above are solely those of the authors and should not be attributed to Yeshiva University.

The Business Continuity Institute

Last week's ransomware attack, which affected 200,000 computer systems in 150 countries and crippled hospitals across the United Kingdom, is a frightening reminder of how much damage can be done by this type of malicious cyber attack. However, a new survey reveals that most people are ill equipped to deal with such an attack.

“It is simply unacceptable that people do not get the care they need because of cyber criminals attacking hospitals. We have a shared responsibility to collaboratively get this under control,” says Kathy Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Society which helped to fund the survey. “Law enforcement, IT professionals, consumers, business, and the public sector all have responsibility to act to keep enabling the good that the internet brings.”

According to the joint CIGI, ISOC and UNCTAD Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, conducted by global research company Ipsos, before the latest attack, 6% of internet users globally had already been personally affected by ransomware, with internet users in India, Indonesia, China and the United States the most likely to be affected. An additional 11% knew someone who has been hit by these malicious programmes.

"Cyber thieves now operate on a global scale, as the most recent attack illustrates, and just about anybody can launch a ransomware attack,” says Fen Osler Hampson, Distinguished Fellow and Director of Global Security at CIGI. “Ransomware attackers have discovered that they don't have to steal or destroy your data to enrich themselves, they just have to hold it hostage. Our survey data shows that many people are willing to pay to get their data back, which makes such attacks highly profitable."

People remain largely unprepared for this new form of cyber attack, which encrypts their data and renders it inaccessible until they pay a ransom. Nearly a quarter (24%) of people admit they would have no idea what to do if their computer were to be hit with ransomware.

Many would turn to the authorities with 22% contacting law enforcement, 15% contacting their Internet Service Provider and 9% contacting a private firm to try to retrieve their data. Unfortunately, the authorities are often unable to help. Once the data is locked, it is extraordinarily difficult to retrieve without either paying the ransom or restoring the files from a backup. Here again, internet users are woefully unprepared, as only 16% of people globally indicate that they would retrieve their data from a backup.

As individuals and as organizations, our data is important to us, and our time is important too. We do not want to lose either as it could be costly. We need to make sure that we have plans in place to be able to respond to such an attack and manage through any disruption that occurs as a result. Business continuity has played an important role is the response to this latest ransomware attack with many organizations invoking their plans and putting processes in place to ensure that it didn't turn into a crisis.

Organizations of all sizes need to develop a business continuity programme. If you haven't already done so, read the Good Practice Guidelines Lite Edition, which is free download published by the Business Continuity Institute that offers some basic guidance on the steps you will need to take.

BATON ROUGE, La. — Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and FEMA urges Louisianans to prepare. Getting ready now goes a long way in saving lives and reducing property damage later.

Readiness for the tropical season depends on preparing, planning and staying informed.


  • Update your disaster kit. Ready.gov recommends gathering a number of items such as: a three-day supply of non-perishable food and bottled water, a battery-operated radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, cash, medicines, a first aid kit, pet foods, and important family documents.
  • Cut down or trim damaged trees and limbs, clear out debris from pipes or culverts so that water doesn’t back up and cause flooding.
  • Tie down or take inside unattached outdoor toys and furniture when a severe storm approaches.


Be Informed:

  • Download the FEMA Mobile App for disaster-related information.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio  or local radio or TV stations for up-to- date storm information, and be prepared to take action.
  • Search the internet or log on to Twitter with the name of your metropolitan area and the word “alerts” to be connected to the latest information.
  • Wait until local officials say it’s safe to return home before doing so.

Those who live in FEMA manufactured housing units should know this temporary housing does not provide safe shelter during a hurricane or tornado. Here are some tips for those who live in FEMA MHUs:

  • Leave an MHU when there are tornado or hurricane warnings.
  • All FEMA MHUs come equipped with weather radios; listen for storm warnings.
  • Put important items on high shelves in case of floods.

More information may be found online at www.fema.gov/pdf/areyouready/areyouready_full.pdf.




Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide

Get A Game Plan App 

Louisiana 2-1-1 provides information about available health and human services.
National Flood Insurance Program or call or call FEMA at 1-800-427-4661.

Thursday, 18 May 2017 15:51

FEMA: Prepare Now for Hurricane Season

The Business Continuity Institute

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The recent ransomware attacks affecting about 200,000 networks across 150 countries, including the NHS in the UK, is a stark reminder, as if one were needed, of just how great the cyber threat is.

Our modern world is heavily reliant on IT systems, and although these systems provide many benefits, they also have their pitfalls. Research conducted by the Business Continuity Institute presents the inevitability of an attack with the Cyber Resilience Report showing that two-thirds of organizations had experienced an incident during the previous year, and 10% had experienced at least ten.

Collectively we must do more to make our organizations more cyber secure. While there are mechanisms that organizations can put in place to improve cyber security, there are also steps that individuals can take. Several studies have shown that the insider threat is as much of a concern as external threats. This may not necessarily be down to malicious activity, or even negligence, sometimes it could just be down to a simple mistake.

In a new paper published by the BCI – Building resilience by improving cyber security – it is revealed that several activities which many of us perform out of habit could be making our organizations more vulnerable to the cyber threat, and identifies six simple steps that each of us can take to help improve security.

  1. Use strong passwords – A study showed that ‘123456’ was the most common password used among a given sample, and the rest of the top twenty weren’t much better. By using weak passwords it makes it far easier for intruders to gain access to our systems.
  2. Keep passwords safe – It’s all very well having a strong password, but if we’re writing that password down on a post-it note and leaving it next to our computer then we are leaving ourselves extremely vulnerable.
  3. Lock unattended computers – With studies showing the insider threat to be as much of a concern as external threat, we need to be more careful of who has access to our computers.
  4. Be cautious of public Wi-Fi – By accessing a public network, you are also potentially allowing that network, and anyone on it, access to your computer. If you are on public Wi-Fi, use a VPN to help improve security, and don’t share sensitive information.
  5. Don’t plug in untrusted devices – The report revealed that even devices from reputable sources can contain malware, so never plug an untrusted device into your computer.
  6. Don’t click on unknown links – Many attacks such as ransomware take place because users have clicked on a link they shouldn’t have and invited the intruders in. We must develop a culture whereby we think twice before clicking on links, however enticing they may appear.

Download your free copy of 'Building resilience by improving cyber security' by clicking here.

The UK may not be hit by monsoons, but it has had its share of overflowing rivers and torrential rain wreaking havoc on British homes over the last decade.

It’s particularly England and Wales that have suffered from flooding issues; Hull in 2007, Cumbria in 2009 and many UK areas in the 2013/14 winter. The Environment Agency estimate that five million Brits actually live or work in flood danger zones.

Needless to say, if your home is listed as a flood risk, it’s important to protect the property as much as you can from any potential dangers. You should also be sure to have adequate home insurance in the event your property is affected by flooding. It’s also worth knowing a little about Flood Re, a collaborative project between the Government and insurance companies. This scheme, launching during 2015, will ensure home insurance is available and affordable for properties at high risk of flooding.

With that said, no insurance can cover you protect you from the disruption and emotional trauma caused from flooding in your home or business. What’s more, many people seem unsure how best to protect their properties. What action can you take to minimise the impact of flooding on your property?



The Business Continuity Institute

As business enters the digital age, cyber resilience must become a regular agenda item for boards and excos. Given the extent of the cyber risks companies face, and their extreme reliance on ICT, cyber security is only a partial answer. Nobody can identify and prepare for all the risks that threaten ICT systems, so it is essential that security and risk mitigation measures are part of a wider programme to ensure that the organisation can detect a cyber attack, respond appropriately and recover operational functionality.

There are signs however that the C-suite may not yet have come to grips with the nature of the challenge posed by the digitalisation of business, and thus the extreme need to look beyond cyber security.

Research from a leading consulting firm has shown that CEOs, CIOs and Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) alike remain confident about their cyber security measures - while security breaches are quite high. This misplaced confidence is surely one of the primary contributory causes for the belief that, at present, the bad guys appear to have the upper hand.

Despite financial service respondents admitting the number of detected incidents remaining relatively unchanged from 2013, last year saw that a 154% increase was evident in the number of detected security incidents against retail and consumer products companies, with the number of e-mail compromises and ransomware threats a growing risk, and phishing at the top of the log of these concerns. So much so, that research has shown security investments increased 11% in the last year, and 41% of these companies aim to address these concerns by increasing their budgets respectively. CISO’s roles are increasingly growing to become pertinent to Boards directly, as a matter of urgency to address the reality of cyber related incidents.

Regulatory authorities are far from unanimous about how data ought to be protected, as the current roll-back of existing US data privacy regulations by the Trump administration shows. These kinds of regulatory gaps offer unscrupulous operators plenty of opportunity.

The growing use of accelerometers on mobile devices to report on physical activity as part of health/ wellness programmes shows just how new threats are manifesting all the time. These and similar apps are insecure, and can allow hackers to 'eavesdrop' on keystrokes, and so access passwords and other sensitive information. The same vulnerability is multiplied across industrial systems as the Internet of things takes hold, and insecure sensors and similar devices proliferate. A hacker could thus use a sensor tracking the flow of chemicals or fuel to shut a plant down, dramatically affecting whole value chains or, in the case of a power utility, the national economy.

We must accept that event and technology based security is no longer adequate to protect the organisation’s very ability to function. Organisations must begin taking proactive action to subsume cyber security into the broader, strategic initiative of cyber resilience.

Cyber threats cannot be considered and provided for in isolation; they must be integrated into business and organisational strategic thinking, and specifically into the business continuity management lifecycle. In so doing, the organisation will move away from a compliance mindset, becoming better able to identify cyber risks and recover from cyber incidents. In other words, becoming a cyber resilient organisation. To achieve this, cyber resilience needs to be integrated into the very corporate culture. It must form part of existing policies, rather than a silo of new ones; very critically, a cyber recovery plan must be part of the overall recovery plan.

The end goal should be that the organisation have processes and procedures in place to identify the risks it faces, mitigate them and recover from the materialisation of any risk. Focusing on specific responses to specific threats becomes counterproductive when the risk is multiplying so rapidly.

Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW2017) [15-19 May] this year explores the issue of cyber resilience. Find out more about the series of webinars designed to explore this critical subject.

Karen Humphris CBCI is the Senior Manager Advisory Services at ContinuitySA, and Alex Ferguson is an Intern at ContinuitySA.

The Business Continuity Institute

“Maybe you are busy looking for a way to recover your files but do not waste your time.
Nobody can recovery your files without our decryption service.”

This is what users infected by the WannaCry virus read on their screens having accidentally let the malware in. Unfortunately, the criminals were not lying in this case, as most businesses are not equipped to decrypt their files following an attack like this within an acceptable timeframe. Some might be able to recover their files, especially when the malicious code is not too sophisticated, but it is likely that it will take a long time and thus incur significant financial losses to do so. Dealing with an infection once it happens can be painful; however, the good news is that by following the right guidelines it is possible to drastically reduce the chances of that happening.

At this regard, it is interesting to look at the threat, in order to better understand the response. According to Kaspersky lab, WannaCry is an encryption programme that uses an exploit, which is a piece of software that takes advantage of the weaknesses in an operating system (in this case Windows) in order to install malware. The main ways to bring the exploit into a computer include clicking on the wrong link or downloading a malicious attachment from an untrusted source. Once the malware is into the system, it encrypts all or part of its data and asks the victims to pay a ransom in bitcoins. If they do not pay within a few days, they can forget about all the hard work and long hours they spent in front of that machine and sadly they can start counting their losses.

The case of WannaCry shows once again how the weakest link in a computer system is the human operating on it. There is no firewall that will protect a computer from an employee clicking on the wrong link thinking it’s just another invoice. Industry research shows that the vast majority of ransomware is delivered through phishing and social engineering attacks, revealing the need for better education and awareness-raising programmes. Information security experts are doing an excellent job in designing the right technical solutions against cyber criminals, yet they might be struggling to deal with the human aspect.

In this respect, business continuity (BC) professionals can provide a great deal of help, as their job is to know a business from top to bottom, understand its weaknesses, and make sure everyone is aware of their role when preparing for a crisis. Continuity and recovery tactics place a big emphasis on resources, such as IT and information equipment, also taking into account people, premises, and suppliers. The strategies adopted for recovery by BC professionals include replication, which means being able to recreate the necessary conditions to keep the business running while the main site is not operational. Thus, a BC professional will always make sure business-critical resources such as data are backed up, in case something (such as ransomware) makes them suddenly unavailable. Backing up files is the most effective and quickest solution to get up and running after being hit, and it is sometimes neglected as a practice due to a lack of threat awareness, rather than technical ability. BC professionals will know how to embed a strong safety culture among staff members, having experience in managing awareness campaigns. This can go a long way when trying to educate employees on how to avoid falling for phishing or social engineering attacks. After all, organizations are already starting to move in this direction. According to a BCI survey, 75% of the respondents had business continuity arrangements in place to deal with cyber disruptions.

The recent attack presents a great opportunity for organizations to improve their response and make lasting changes to become more cyber resilient. In the next few weeks, 'ransomware', 'back-up' and 'disaster recovery' will probably be the buzzwords of the moment, but the real challenge will be not to forget about them in the long term. Business continuity professionals have been advocating for better arrangements to prevent disruptions of this kind for a long time, and they will keep doing so. Thus, if you’re looking for someone to thank for implementing the right measures the next time ransomware strikes, business continuity professionals are likely to be the right choice for your business.

Gianluca Riglietti CBCI is currently a Research Assistant at the Business Continuity Institute, where he provides support in managing publications and global thought leadership initiatives. He graduated at King’s College London in 2015, completing a Master’s in Geopolitics, Territory and Security.

The Business Continuity Institute

Despite the Wanna Decryptor ransomware attack affecting a reported 200,000 systems across over 150 countries, and despite the tales of disaster we are reading about in the media, the encouraging news from many organizations is that their business continuity process is preventing a disruption from turning into a crisis.

As a result of this latest attack, organizations across the world, including many NHS Trusts in the UK, have been invoking their business continuity procedures, ensuring that the priority activities are carried out, an appropriate level of service is provided to customers and any damage to reputation is limited.

“With a major incident now declared by NHS England, it is evident just how disruptive cyber attacks such as ransomware can be,” said David Thorp, Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute. “Organizations must have mechanisms in place so they are prepared to deal with the consequences of a cyber security incident, or in fact any other type of incident, and can continue as near ‘normal’ operation as possible, while maintaining the confidence of their stakeholders.”

The modern business environment is heavily reliant on IT systems, and although these systems provide many benefits, they also have their pitfalls, which stem from this reliance. Research conducted by the Business Continuity Institute presents the inevitability of an attack with the Cyber Resilience Report showing that two-thirds of organizations had experienced an incident during the previous year, and 10% had experienced at least ten.

The dramatic effects of an attack such as last Friday’s should not be underestimated, yet organizations, such as the NHS, have managed to keep operating under attack. All Trusts are required to have in place an effective business continuity plan, and it is testament to the effectiveness of this planning that disruption has not been more severe.

All businesses can develop similar levels of resilience. It is business continuity that makes an immediate difference during any kind of emergency, crisis or disruption. It is what makes an organization resilient, ready to respond and carry on, even amid difficult circumstances. Yet business continuity cannot be improvised. It requires specialised and trained staff as well as the support of everyone within an organization – from executive management to junior staff.

David Thorp added: “The Business Continuity Institute has a range of free resources, via our website, that can be accessed by businesses and other organizations that need to avoid damaging disruptions to their activities. If prevention fails it is essential that smooth operations are maintained.”

Founded in 1994 with the aim of promoting a more resilient world, the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has established itself as the world’s leading Institute for business continuity and resilience. The BCI has become the membership and certifying organization of choice for business continuity and resilience professionals globally with over 8,000 members in more than 100 countries, working in an estimated 3,000 organizations in the private, public and third sectors.

The vast experience of the Institute’s broad membership and partner network is built into its world class education, continuing professional development and networking activities. Every year, more than 1,500 people choose BCI training, with options ranging from short awareness raising tools to a full academic qualification, available online and in a classroom. The Institute stands for excellence in the resilience profession and its globally recognised Certified grades provide assurance of technical and professional competency. The BCI offers a wide range of resources for professionals seeking to raise their organization’s level of resilience, and its extensive thought leadership and research programme helps drive the industry forward. With approximately 120 Partners worldwide, the BCI Partnership offers organizations the opportunity to work with the BCI in promoting best practice in business continuity and resilience.

The BCI welcomes everyone with an interest in building resilient organizations from newcomers, experienced professionals and organizations. Further information about the BCI is available at www.thebci.org.

The Business Continuity Institute

NHS services across England have been hit by an IT failure caused by a significant cyber attack, with Trusts and hospitals in London, Blackburn, Nottingham, Cumbria and Hertfordshire all affected. Some GP surgeries have shut down their phone and IT systems while Accident and Emergency Departments have told people not to attend unless it is a real emergency.

NHS Digital said in a statement that a number of NHS organizations have been affected by a ransomware attack, believed to be the malware variant Wanna Decryptor, but it was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organizations from across a range of sectors.

At this stage there is no evidence that patient data has been accessed. NHS Digital say they are working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organizations and ensure patient safety is protected. The focus is on supporting organizations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively.

Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more commonplace with public sector organizations arguably receiving an unfair proportion of the attacks due to a perceived, or perhaps even an actual, weakness in their cyber defences. Threats to our organizations in the cyber world can be just as disruptive as any physical event. With healthcare providers across the country having to cancel services, it is clear that this is an alarming situation for the NHS.

“It doesn’t matter where the threat comes from, organizations must have plans in place to deal with the consequence of disruptive events” said David Thorp, Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute. “By putting plans in place to deal with such events, it means that organizations are better prepared to manage through them, lessen the potential impact, and still provide an appropriate level of service to their customers.”

So how do organizations prepare for a possible ransomware attack? First and foremost, they must make sure that their data is backed-up. If it data is backed-up and the organization experiences a ransomware attack then they can isolate the ransomware, clean the network of it, and then restore the data from the back-up. It’s not necessarily an easy process, but it means they don’t lose all their data and they don’t pay a ransom.

Make sure the operating system and installed software are up to date with the latest security patches, and that anti-virus and anti-malware tools are conducting regular scans of the network so they can pick up anything malicious before damage can be done. Configure access controls to the file directory so users can only access the files they need. The more restricted the flow of data is across the network, the better chance there is of stemming the spread of a ransomware attack.

They do say that prevention is better than cure, so one way to reduce the impact of ransomware is to stop it happening in the first place. The vast majority of the time, the user has to do something to install the software – click on a link, open an attachment – so if the user doesn’t do that, then the software can’t install. It may not be quite as simple as that, but it is important to develop a culture whereby users think twice about their actions.

With Business Continuity Awareness Week taking place next week, and event themed around cyber security and the need for organizations to make sure they prepared for disruptive events in the cyber world, the Business Continuity Institute is calling on all organizations to make sure they have plans in place to deal with such events so that disruptions don’t turn into disasters.

I recently heard a segment on WBUR (a public radio station in Boston) on the emergence of microgrids and I was amazed at how much the concept of microgrids closely aligned with the concept of microperimeters within our Zero Trust model of information security. Zero Trust is a conceptual and architectural model for how security teams should redesign networks into secure microperimeters, increase data security through obfuscation techniques, limit the risks associated with excessive user privileges, and dramatically improve security detection and response through analytics and automation. Zero Trust demands that security professionals move away from legacy, perimeter-centric models of information security - which are useless for today's digital businesses no longer bounded by the four walls of their corporation - to a model that is both data and identity centric and extends security across the entire business ecosystem.



The Business Continuity Institute

Gianna Detoni FBCI, from Panta Ray Consulting in Italy, being presented with her Industry Personality of the Year award by James McAlister FBCI, Chairman of the Business Continuity Institute

At an Awards Ceremony at the Principal Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland last night, the Business Continuity Institute presented its annual European Awards to recognise the individuals and organizations who have excelled in the field of business continuity and resilience throughout the year.

The European Awards are one of seven regional awards hosted by the BCI each year, and culminate in the annual Global Awards held in November during the Institute’s annual conference in London, England. They are designed to recognise the individuals and organizations who have excelled in the field of business continuity and resilience throughout the year.

Business continuity is an established industry across the continent, so the standard of entries to the BCI European Awards is always incredibly high, and this year was no different, giving the judges some tough decisions to make. All those who were on the shortlist can take great pride in their achievement, however there can only be one winner in each category, and those celebrating on the night were:

Continuity and Resilience Consultant
Petra Morrison MBCI, Daisy Group

Continuity and Resilience Professional Private Sector
Rob van den Eijnden AMBCI, Philips

Continuity and Resilience Professional Public Sector
Russ Parramore MBCI, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

Continuity and Resilience Newcomer
Timothy Dalby-Welsh AMBCI, Needhams 1834

Continuity and Resilience Team
Chief Fire Officers Association

Continuity and Resilience Provider (Service/Product)
ClearView Continuity

Continuity and Resilience Innovation

Most Effective Recovery
BPER Banca

Industry Personality
Gianna Detoni FBCI, Panta Ray

James McAlister FBCI, Chairman of the Business Continuity Institute and host of the Awards Ceremony, commented: "Once again I have been impressed with the high standard of entry we had for the BCI European Awards. Each and every one of the nominees has done an incredible job in helping to build resilience in a world full of disruptions. I would like to offer my congratulations to all the winners who are a credit to the industry, and I am delighted that the Business Continuity Institute is able to honour their hard work and dedication through these awards."

Keith Tilley, EVP and Vice-chair of Sungard Availability Services, said: "Sungard Availability Services has a long history in supporting the advancement and development of the continuity, resilience and availability industry, whether across standards development, proactive involvement in industry for a or rewarding attainment. To this end we’re delighted to be sponsors of this year's BCI European Awards, which are designed to recognise the outstanding contributions of business continuity, risk and resilience professionals and organizations."

The Business Continuity Institute

More than two-thirds (70%) of IT managers at small and medium sized enterprises say budget considerations have forced them to compromise on security features when purchasing endpoint security, according to a survey by VIPRE. Overall, price was the top factor in endpoint security purchases (chosen by 53% of respondents), followed by ease of use (47%), feature set (41%), support (34%), advanced detection technology (31%), cloud-based management (29%) and ransomware (2%).

"SME IT managers need to better recognize the security dangers facing their organizations," said Usman Choudhary, chief product officer at VIPRE. "Ransomware alone was responsible for $1 billion in cyber-extortion payments last year, according to the FBI, but only 21% of survey respondents considered ransomware as a factor when they purchased endpoint security. We understand that price and budgets are a factor but forgoing advanced protection features such as those available through VIPRE can put a company at risk."

As ransomware attacks and awareness of the threat increases, 53% of respondents would recommend negotiating a payment to the attackers. This represents a significant increase from a 2015 survey where only 30% of IT security pros said they would negotiate. The current study also noted that 82% of companies suffering a cyber attack in the last year would negotiate a ransomware attack.

With ransomware on the rise, perhaps it is no surprise that phishing attacks remain the most pervasive cyber security threat. About 45% of IT managers have had to remove malware from an executive's computer due to phishing, a figure that rises to 56% for larger companies (351-500 employees).

Meanwhile, survey respondents also cited visits to porn websites (26%), letting a family member use a company-owned device (22%), attaching an infected USB stick or phone (22%) and installing a malicious app (21%) as reasons they had to remove malware. Only 25% said they have never been asked to remove malware from an executive's computer.

Forrester has just published our updated forecast for the US tech market for 2017-2018 (see “US Tech Market Outlook For 2017 And 2018: Mostly Sunny, With Clouds And Chance Of Rain”). We are forecasting growth of 4.8% in 2017 and 5.2% in 2018 for US business and government spending on tech goods, services, and staff. This forecast assumes moderate US economic growth (2% to 2.5% real GDP growth, 4% to 4.5% nominal GDP growth). Considering  this economic outlook, our updated 2017 forecast is slightly less positive than our December forecast (4.8% vs. 5.1%) for US budget growth in 2017, with our new 2018 forecast pointing to a modest improvement next year.

Three main themes define our updated forecast:



The Business Continuity Institute


Despite rising awareness of the threats posed by users with privileged access permissions, most organizations still allow a myriad of internal and external parties to access their most valuable systems and data. Many are placing trust in both employees and third parties without a proven means of managing, controlling, and monitoring the access that these individuals, teams and organizations have to critical systems and networks.

Bomgar's 2017 Secure Access Threat Report revealed that 90% of security professionals trust employees with privileged access most of the time, but only 41% trust these insiders completely. Despite placing a lot of trust in employees by granting them privileged access, security professionals are paradoxically aware of the numerous risks that these individuals pose to the business. While most were not primarily worried about breaches of malicious intent, they were concerned that a breach was possible due to employees unintentionally mishandling sensitive data, or that employee’s administrative access or privileged credentials could easily be phished by cyber criminals. Yet, businesses are still falling behind with only 37% of respondents having complete visibility into which employees have privileged access, and 33% believing former employees could still have corporate network access.

Generally, employees want to be productive and responsible at work, suggesting that most employees are not malicious, but rather skirt security best practices to speed up productivity. This is driving the need for access solutions that prioritize both productivity and usability, without sacrificing security, that can be seamlessly integrated into applications and processes that employees already use.

“It only takes one employee to leave an organization vulnerable,” said Matt Dircks, Bomgar CEO. “With the continuation of high-profile data breaches, many of which were caused by compromised privileged access and credentials, it’s crucial that organizations control, manage, and monitor privileged access to their networks to mitigate that risk. The findings of this report tell us that many companies can’t adequately manage the risk related to privileged access. Insider breaches, whether malicious or unintentional, have the potential to go undetected for weeks, months, or even years – causing devastating damage to a company.”

The report also uncovered that data breaches through third-party access are widespread. External suppliers continue to be an integral part of how most organizations do business. On average, 181 vendors are granted access a company’s network in any single week, more than double the number from 2016. In fact, 81% of companies have seen an increase in third-party vendors in the last two years, compared to 75% the previous year.

With so many third-parties granted access to an organization’s systems, perhaps it’s no surprise that more than two thirds (67%) have already experienced a data breach that was ‘definitely’ (35%) or ‘possibly’ (34%) linked to a third-party vendor. While 66% of security professionals admit that they trust third-party vendors too much, action has not followed this recognition. Processes to control and manage privileged access for vendors remains lax, as evidenced by only 34% of respondents being totally confident that they can track vendor log-ins, and not many more (37%) confident that they can track the number of vendors accessing their internal systems.

“As with insiders, third-party privileged access presents a multitude of risks to network security. Security professionals must balance the business needs of those accessing their systems – whether insiders or third-parties – with security,” added Dircks. “As the vendor ecosystem grows, the function of managing privileged access for vendors will need to be better managed through technology and processes that provide visibility into who is accessing company networks, and when, without slowing down business processes.”

BATON ROUGE, La. — Kim Aucoin moved to Baton Rouge from Charlotte, North Carolina, in March 2016. She was raised in Lafayette and was happy to once again live in her home state of Louisiana. Little did she know that just five months later the area would be devastated by historical flooding.

“My landlord came to the house and said ‘Get out, we’re going to flood,’” said Aucoin. The home had never flooded before, even during a big flood event in 1989, but she said this time her landlord didn’t want to take any chances. Aucoin and her husband, Randy, evacuated to her boss’s home in Prairieville, but before leaving, they placed sandbags around the property. The sandbags didn’t help; the house took in 16 inches of water. 

Aucoin had hazard insurance for her rental home, but it didn’t include damages from rising water.  They did not purchase flood insurance. “I work for an insurance company so why I didn’t get it was just stupidity,” said Aucoin. She wasn’t alone, 39 percent of the residents who flooded in August were not living in a flood-prone area and some didn’t have flood insurance coverage.

While their landlord repaired and renovated the damaged home, the Aucoins lived in a small trailer they borrowed for a few weeks. Then they moved into a hotel and were pleased to find out FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP) would reimburse them for hotel expenses.  “We received FEMA money within five business days,” Aucoin said. The money was electronically deposited into their bank account which made the process fast and convenient.

Even though the Aucoins contents weren’t a total loss, they still qualified for FEMA assistance and filed a claim.  “It helped us start to replace things,” said Aucoin. Another big help was receiving a Louisiana Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. “We lost all of our food in the flood and neither the trailer or hotel had a kitchen so it was very helpful.” The $300 EBT card was reloaded once, totaling 600 disaster dollars to assist with grocery expenses.

The Aucoins are some of the fortunate flood survivors in the sense that they were able to move back into their rental house just two months after the August floods. And this time they have flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A smart move since hurricane season begins June 1st and there is a 30-day waiting period between purchasing a policy and the date it goes into effect.  Despite the unsettling start the couple plans to stay in Baton Rouge. Aucoin said, “It’s been a rough few months, but I’m glad to be here.”

NFIP Facts:

  • In Louisiana, flood-related events occur every year.
  • The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides contents as well as structure coverage for home and business owners.
  • The average annual cost of flood insurance is about $700. Depending on the policy, insurance holders may receive up to $250,000 for home damage.
  • NFIP policies offer coverage for flood damage that federal disaster assistance and most homeowners insurance policies do not cover.
  • NFIP payments are not dependent on state or federal disaster declarations.
  • New flood insurance policies go into effect 30 days after purchase.
  • More than 39 percent of structures flooded in August were located in low- and moderate- risk areas.
  • Properties outside of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) account for more than 20 percent of the country’s NFIP claims and receive a third of flood-related federal disaster assistance.

Go to www.floodsmart.gov to learn more about any property’s flood risk, estimate an NFIP premium or locate an insurance agent who sells flood insurance.

Visit Floods | Ready.gov for flood information and safety tips.

In our Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning, we spend much of our time assessing, documenting and developing strategies for when an event may occur. This is all to prepare for or prevent an outage. What is the point of all these preparations? When disaster strikes, you want to get back to normal as quickly as possible. It’s important to go through these three phases of disaster recovery.



Tuesday, 09 May 2017 15:11

The Three Phases of Disaster Recovery

Key Message:

  • Section 404 hazard mitigation and Section 406 hazard mitigation funding are distinct programs with  key differences in their scope, purpose and funding.

Section 404 – Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

  • The 404 funding is used to provide protection to undamaged parts of a facility or to prevent or reduce damages caused by future disasters.
  • The entire state - not just presidentially declared counties - may qualify for 404 mitigation projects.
  • The 404 grant is managed by the State under funding provided for in the Stafford Act. Section 404 mitigation measures are funded under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
  • The State receives a percentage of the Total Federal share of the declared disaster damage amount (20%), which it uses to fund projects anywhere in the State, regardless of where the declared disaster occurred or the disaster type.
  • Applicants who have questions regarding the Section 404 mitigation program should contact the State Hazard Mitigation Officer, Tim Cook, 253-512-7072, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • 404 grant funding may be used in conjunction with 406 mitigation funds to bring an entire facility to a higher level of disaster resistance, when only portions of the facility were damaged by the current disaster event.
  • All subapplicants for HMGP must have a FEMA-approved local or Tribal Mitigation Plan at the time of obligation of grant funds for mitigation projects.
    • The Regional Administrator may grant an exception to the local or Tribal Mitigation Plan requirement in extraordinary circumstances when justification is provided. If this exception is granted, a local or Tribal Mitigation Plan must be approved by FEMA within 12 months of the award of the project subaward to that community.

Section 406 – Public Assistance Program

  • The 406 grant is managed by the State under funding provided for in the Stafford Act. Section 406 mitigation measures are funded under the Public Assistance, or Infrastructure, program (PA).
  • The 406 funding provides discretionary authority to fund mitigation measures in conjunction with the repair of the disaster-damaged facilities, so is limited to declared counties and eligible damaged facilities.
  • Section 406 is applied on the parts of the facility that were damaged by the disaster and the mitigation measure directly reduce the potential of future, similar disaster damages to the eligible facility.
  • Applicants who have questions regarding the Section 406 mitigation program should contact the State Public Assistance Officer assigned to their projects.
The Business Continuity Institute

Research commissioned by Crises Control from the Business Continuity Institute for their annual cyber resilience report 2016 confirms much of what we already suspected about the changing nature of the cyber threat and the way that cyber criminals have found new ways past corporate perimeter security.

66% of respondents to the survey reported that their companies had been affected by at least one cyber security incident over the last 12 months. The costs of these incidents varied greatly, with 73% reporting total costs over the year of less than €50,000, but 6% reporting annual costs of more than €500,000.

The increased difficulty of breaching perimeter security and the increased human resources available to cyber criminals has combined to produce a new point of attack. This is focused on the weakest link in the corporate security chain, which is now human beings rather than technology.

The term “social engineering" describes this attack vector, which relies heavily on human interaction and often involves tricking people into breaking normal security procedures. The BCI research shows clearly that phishing (obtaining sensitive data through false representation) and social engineering is now the single top cause of cyber disruption, with over 60% of companies reporting being hit by such an incident over the past 12 months. A further 37% were hit by spear phishing (phishing through identity fraud).

The research has also confirmed that to effectively counter this threat companies now need behavioural threat detection, provided by a cyber security network monitoring solution. These plugin devices monitor your network for signs of suspicious insider activity and failed attempts to hack into the system. They can also provide invaluable intelligence to be acted upon proactively to nip a successful hack or insider threat in the bud.

Traditional anti-virus monitoring software is no longer enough. The BCI research shows that 72% of companies have this software in place, but only 26% of real cyber security incidents were actually discovered through this route. Much worse, 18% of incidents came to attention through an external source such as a customer, a supplier or the impact on a public website.

Network monitoring solutions are much more effective than anti-virus software in terms of alerting companies to a cyber breach, with 63% of companies having a network monitoring software in place and 42% of cyber incidents coming to attention through the work of the IT department to whom such systems report.

The scale of the cyber threat can feel overwhelming at times. But educating your own employees about the nature of the threat and then putting in place the right solutions can go a long way towards mitigating the social engineering threat and significantly enhancing your corporate cyber resilience. Act now before it is too late.

Sonny Sehgal and Adam Blake, from Crises Control partners Transputec and ThreatSpike, will be talking about the social engineering threat in their webinar on cyber security and the insider threat during Business Continuity Awareness Week 2017 on Tuesday 16th May.

The Business Continuity Institute

Having an effective business continuity programme does not just mean making sure your own organization has a plan in place to deal with disruptions, it also means ensuring that your supply chain is resilient too. How would your organization cope if your supplier was no longer able to supply, or perhaps their supplier and so on? As the saying goes: you’re only strong as your weakest link.

The 2016 Supply Chain Resilience Report, published by the Business Continuity Institute in collaboration with Zurich Insurance Group, showed that one in three organizations had experienced cumulative losses of over €1 million during the previous year as a result of supply chain disruptions. Furthermore, the report showed that 70% of organizations had experienced at least one supply chain disruption during this same time period, while 22% had experienced at least eleven.

Has your organization experienced a disruption to its supply chain? What were the causes and consequences of those disruptions? Help inform our next Supply Chain Resilience Report by taking a few minutes to complete the survey, and be in with a chance of winning a £100 Amazon gift card.

Tuesday, 09 May 2017 14:33

BCI: Managing the supply chain

The Business Continuity Institute

The vast majority of organizations worldwide (86%) are concerned that a failure to adhere to the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could have a major negative impact on their business, according to a study by Veritas Technologies. Nearly 20% said they fear that non-compliance could put them out of business. This is in the face of potential fines for non-compliance as high as €20 million or 4% of annual turnover – whichever is greater.

Intended to harmonize the governance of information that relates to individuals ('personal data') across European Union (EU) member states, the GDPR requires greater oversight of where and how personal data – including credit card, banking and health information – is stored and transferred, and how access to it is policed and audited by organizations.

GDPR, which comes into force on the 25th May 2018, will not only affect organizations within the EU, but extend globally, impacting any organization that offers goods or services to EU residents, or monitors their behaviour, for example, by tracking their buying habits. The study indicates that a whopping 47% of organizations globally have major doubts that they will meet this impending compliance deadline.

Data breaches are already a major concern for business continuity and resilience professionals according to the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report, and this is only going to be exacerbated over the coming year and beyond as organizations try to develop their understanding of what compliance means.

The Veritas 2017 GDPR Report found that more than one in five (21%) are very worried about potential layoffs, fearing that staff reductions may be an inevitable outcome as a result of financial penalties incurred as a result of GDPR compliance failures.

Organizations are also worried about the impact non-compliance could have on their brand image, especially if and when a compliance failure is made public, potentially as a result of the new obligations to notify data breaches to those affected. Nineteen percent of those surveyed fear that negative media or social coverage could cause their organization to lose customers. An additional one in ten (12%) are very concerned that their brand would be de-valued as a result of negative coverage.

The research also shows that many organizations appear to be facing serious challenges in understanding what data they have, where that data is located, and its relevance to the business – a critical first step in the GDPR compliance journey. Key findings reveal that many organizations are struggling to solve these challenges because they lack the proper technology to address compliance regulations.

There is also widespread concern about data retention. More than 40% of organizations admitted that there is no mechanism in place to determine which data should be saved or deleted based on its value. Under GDPR, companies can retain personal data if it is still being used for the purpose that was notified to the individual concerned when the data was collected, but must delete personal data when it is no longer needed for that purpose.

“There is just over a year to go before GDPR comes into force, yet the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality still exists in organizations around the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re based in the EU or not, if your organization does business in the region, the regulation applies to you,” said Mike Palmer, executive vice president and chief product officer at Veritas. “A sensible next step would be to seek an advisory service that can check the level of readiness and build a strategy that ensures compliance. A failure to react now puts jobs, brand reputation and the livelihood of businesses in jeopardy.”

The Business Continuity Institute

Lax approaches to popular threats such as email attachments, and inadequate threat-awareness, poor work-practices and out-of-date technology, are exposing organizations to hacking, ransomware and zero-day attacks, says a report published by Glasswall Solutions.

Your employees won't protect you noted that the vast majority (82%) of respondents to a survey usually or always opened email attachments if they appear to be from a known contact, despite the prevalence of well-known sophisticated social engineering attacks. Of these respondents, 44% open these email attachments consistently every time they receive one, leaving organizations highly vulnerable to data breaches sourced to malicious attachments.

"Employees need to trust their emails to get on with their work, but with 94% of targeted cyber-attacks now beginning with malicious code hidden in an email attachment, the security of major businesses should no longer be the responsibility of individual office-workers," said Greg Sim, CEO of Glasswall Solutions. "Conventional antivirus and sandboxing solutions are no longer effective and relying on the vigilance of employees clearly leaves a business open to devastating cyber-attacks that will siphon off precious data or hold the business to ransom."

A large majority of workers could at least identify characteristics of a phishing attack, with 76% acknowledging that they had received suspicious attachments. However, the survey also found that 58% of respondents usually opened email attachments from unknown senders, while 62% didn't check email attachments from unknown sources, leaving businesses open to breaches from documents carrying malicious exploits hidden inside common file-types such as Word, Excel, PDFs and more.

These findings help demonstrate why cyber attacks and data breaches are such a concern for business continuity and resilience professionals, as highlighted in the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon scan Report. It also reinforces the theme for Business Continuity Awareness Week which highlights that cyber security is everyone's responsibility, and with a little more awareness on the right policies and procedures, we can all play a part in building a resilient organization.

"This research confirms anecdotal evidence that, although security awareness campaigns have their place, all too often they fail to equip workers with effective strategies for protecting data and systems," said professor Andrew Martin at the University of Oxford. "Technology that's fit for purpose reduces risks without placing added burdens on those simply trying to do their jobs."

This implicit trust in both familiar and unknown emails stands in direct contrast to the scale of threats delivered via email. Despite thousands of attacks launched every year against businesses, only 33% of respondents maintained that they had been victim of a cyber attack. And almost a quarter (24%) said they did not know if they had been attacked or not.

Greyhound, the largest provider of intercity bus transportation, serving over 3,800 destinations across North America, has deployed AlertMedia’s emergency notification system. Greyhound sought out to find a communication tool that would be easy for both executives and staff to streamline the way they were communicating within their workforce. With thousands of employees who are always on the go, the bus carrier recognized the need for a speedy and reliable way to connect with their workers. With the help of AlertMedia’s intuitive interface and customizable platform, Greyhound can now communicate updates and notifications with their people instantly and across any device.

While Greyhound initially purchased AlertMedia to notify their employees of critical events like closures, accidents, and other emergency situations, the transportation company has also incorporated the software in various departments to overall improve business operations. They use AlertMedia the two-way messaging capabilities to notify employees of general company-wide communications, and to increase employee engagement and coordination.

AlertMedia’s cloud-based communications software helps Greyhound keep their people safe, informed, and connected.

To read more visit BUSRide Magazine!



Netflix recently experienced a third-party breach. The data lost is Season 5 of Orange is the New Black, which is original Netflix content. Many are calling it the largest entertainment industry hack since Sony. I guess that is right, but how bad is it really?

First, here is what happened. Netflix transferred season five to their post-production third party in Los Angeles, Larson Studios, for sound mixing and editing. Larson does the post work for at least 25 episodics that run on Fox, ABC, IFC and Netflix. It was Larson Studios that was hacked and, according to thedarkoverlord (TDO), they made off with not just Netflix content but network content as well, putting at risk the release of Documentary Now, Portlandia, Fargo and many others.  TDO contacted Netflix and asked for a bitcoin ransom or it would dump their content for download. Netflix refused to be extorted and TDO made good on its threat.

That got me thinking…was Netflix right to not pay the ransom? What was the real impact of that decision? Can networks and studios do the same thing? Are they inoculated from third party damage because of their industry or their product? Let’s find out.



Most companies have accepted the new market reality: customers are in charge, having digital chops is table stakes, and disruption is becoming normal. 

Although most companies have accepted this reality, they also admit that they are not prepared for it. In our Customer Obsessed Assessment, 62% of companies identified as being behind the power curve addressing current customer demands and an additional 25% are slightly behind where they want to be.

The results are not terribly shocking; there’s a lot of work to do. But it doesn’t make it any less scary once you realize we’re in the early stages of change.

The large-scale market response is still playing out - and the cycle of far-reaching (and sometimes painful) change will be playing out for many years to come. Arguably the large-scale market response is still to come. For example:



It happens often in conversations with clients that I realize they have disjointed initiatives going on to support their digital transformation. The most dangerous parallel initiatives are those where, on one side, they are changing their development teams to become more Agile, but a separate initiative in the same enterprise exists where their Operations folks are running a development and operations (DevOps) transformation. The first thing I recommend to those clients is to unify or tightly connect those programs with an underlining common lean strategy. But I don’t want to dig in here about Agile+DevOps and how overused and abused the term “DevOps” is. I will just recommend to you some reports we’ve published explaining how “Agile” and “DevOps” are two sides of the same coin (see, for example, “Faster Software Delivery Will Accelerate Digital Transformation”).  The Modern Application Delivery playbook I’ve co-authored for years is all about what it means to adopt Agile+DevOps. Check that out too.

But the second and equally important thing I realize with these clients happens when I start querying them about their testing capabilities and approach during those journeys towards more agility and DevOps. And that opens the next can of worms. Why? Because if Agile disrupts how we test applications, continuous delivery, which DevOps is a core enabler of, represents unprecedented disruption of testing. I just published a report on the  continuous testing (CT) services providers landscape, where I provide my definition of what continuous testing means and is. I think the figure here makes it very clear.



The cloud is still growing by leaps and bounds, but not as fast as it was at the beginning of the decade. But it is unclear if this represents a long-term trend as the market reaches the front end of a traditional bell curve, or just a minor pause in the technology’s ultimate takeover of the enterprise data environment.

According to IDC, vendor revenue from the sale of cloud-based infrastructure products grew by 9.2 percent in 2016. This represents a healthy market of $32.6 billion, but it still represents a drawback of about $4.5 billion from what the company had predicted based on earlier growth data. The company suspects that part of this is due to a slowdown in the hyperscale market, but it can also be attributed to the fact that many companies have migrated some of their workload to the cloud and are seeing how it performs before moving forward. And it is important to note that cloud revenues are increasing while spending on traditional data center infrastructure is declining on the order of about 9 percent per quarter.

But this isn’t to say that the enterprise is ready to give up on the local data center just yet. According to a recent survey from the Uptime Institute, the percentage of workloads residing in enterprise owned and operated facilities has been stable at about 65 percent since 2014. To the institute, this means that regardless of what happens with the public cloud, local data center infrastructure will remain as a critical asset for most enterprises as they pursue digital-centric strategies.



Tuesday, 02 May 2017 15:40

Cloud Growth Slows, Slightly

Despite the challenges of a slowed economy in an election year, a shifting risk landscape as a result of technological advances, and a slow to negative growth rate in some sectors, 2016 saw the total cost of risk (TCOR) decline for the third consecutive year, according to the 2017 RIMS Benchmark Survey.

Even in the face of such uncertainties, the TCOR per $1,000 of revenue continued to drop, ending at $10.07 in 2016. The main drivers were declines in all lines excluding fidelity, surety and crime costs, according to the report. TCOR is defined in the survey as the cost of insurance, plus the costs of the losses retained and the administrative costs of the risk management department.

The survey encompasses industry data from 759 organizations and contains policy-level information from 10 coverage groups, subdivided into 90 lines of business.



(TNS) - Powerful storms that generated flooding and tornadoes across the south-central United States killed at least 12 people over the weekend.

The National Weather Service said multiple tornadoes ripped through central Texas on Saturday.

The town of Canton, located about 50 miles east of Dallas, was hit especially hard. Mayor Lou Ann Everett said Sunday that at least four people died and almost 50 others were injured, according to local media.

The fire department said the death toll could rise as people continue to comb through the debris. Dozens of cars were reportedly tossed in the air on the interstate that runs through town.



If data center managers thought virtualization and cloud computing were challenging in terms of big shifts in architecture, they better get ready for the next big thing. The Internet of Things is likely to give you far more headaches in terms of volume of data to store, devices to connect with and systems to integrate.

Long-term data center managers have certainly borne witness to immense change in recent decades. From mainframes to minicomputers and client/server, then virtualization and cloud computing. The pattern seems to be as follows: at first, their entire mode of operation is challenged and altered. After a few hectic years, life calms down, only for yet another wave of innovation to sweep the world of the data center off its axis.

And, here we go again with the Internet of Things (IoT). The general idea is that sensors and microchips are placed anywhere and is subjected to advanced analytics to give business a competitive edge, and provide the data center with greater capabilities in terms of infrastructure management and security.



Have you ever gotten to the end of your journey to find you’re not in the place you thought you’d be – or wanted to get to?  It’s that way for many projects and programs, including BCM/DR initiatives.  Sometimes what you intended to achieve isn’t what you end up accomplishing – if at all.

Developing and the maintaining a Business Continuity Management (BCM) / Disaster Recovery (DR) program means managing – and sometimes juggling – multiple components.  You could be juggling Business Impact Analysis (BIA) reviews while starting to plan the next major Simulation Exercise.  This is common and in project management terminology, it’s a bit of an Agile approach; not your traditional ‘waterfall’ approach (e.g. end one task before starting another).   When this occurs, you do run the risk of overlapping initiatives and sometimes, overlapping approvals being required.   But don’t think that your approvals can be delayed or rebuffed; they are important.



Monday, 01 May 2017 14:30

BCM & DR: Managing Expectations

BATON ROUGE, La. — There is still time to apply for 100 FEMA reservist positions for Public Assistance (PA) Site Inspector Specialists.  FEMA has extended the application deadline by a week to 5/6/2017 and is looking for construction managers, building inspectors and disaster recovery specialists to work in various locations.

This week the Baton Rouge Joint Field Office (JFO) also kicked off a national pilot program designed to convert FEMA’s local hires to reservist status.  A robust team of FEMA reservists need to be available and ready to respond to disasters at anytime, anywhere in the nation. 

FEMA provides help and support to people in the midst of an emergency situation and those dealing with the aftermath. Reservists are brought to the site to assist in federally declared disaster operations. PA specialists will conduct site inspections of claimed disaster-related damage.  Essential knowledge for these positions include: understanding and experience related to general engineering and construction practices for public infrastructure, experience inspecting and assessing damaged infrastructure and general knowledge of building codes and standards.

Preferred professional certifications: construction management, construction and building inspectors, disaster recovery specialists, sewage and waste water treatment experts, roads and bridge work and customer service experience. 

Those who sign up for the Reservist Program must be able to deploy with little or no notice to anywhere in the United States and its territories for an extended period of time.  While activated and deployed reservists will serve in a federal travel status and be entitled to lodging, transportation and per diem reimbursement for authorized expenses in accordance with travel regulations. Expected hourly rate will be up to $24/hour, depending on experience.

All applications must be sent via e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following subject line: 2401 – Public Assistance Site Inspector Specialist – PA.  Again, applications will be accepted through 5/6/2017. For more information visit www.laworks.net.

We heard two very different perspectives on the future of on-premise enterprise data centers from top executives on this week’s earnings calls by two of the world’s largest cloud providers.

Microsoft, which has a huge – and growing – on-premise data center software business in addition to a quickly growing cloud one, is continuing to pursue a hybrid strategy, pushing the idea that companies will want to continue using their internal data centers while augmenting them with cloud services.

Alphabet subsidiary Google, which never had the need for an on-premise software business, is playing up wholesale shift of enterprise workloads from corporate data centers to its cloud. Here’s Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai on the company’s earnings call Thursday:



Over the years, I have had the opportunity to travel often for my career. Of all the cities I’ve visited, London is one of my favorites. On a recent visit, one thing became overwhelmingly clear; The city aims to build awareness in its citizens and visitors and to change their behaviors. How so? You have probably seen a version of the famous London Underground sign: MIND THE GAP.

If you aren’t familiar with it, this insignia is displayed at the edge of train platforms to remind passengers of the gap between the walkway and the train car. The purpose of the message is to boost awareness and ultimately, alter passenger behavior. Similarly, this is also the purpose of training in corporations – to increase the awareness of employees, to change their behaviors and increase their safety.

Over the last few decades, companies have reacted to legal and financial threats, as well as safety threats, by building a collection of mandatory training for their personnel. Following the founding of OSHA in the 70’s, we saw a rise in training around safety-related behaviors, both in the field and in the office. In the 80’s, sexual harassment was a hot topic, and even lawyers joined the business of training clients on both the law itself, and the behaviors that were and were not acceptable. Following major ethical lapses and the Enron failure in 2001, corporations set their sights on ethics training. Today, those training topics are the norm, and new topics continue to be added in, such as cultural sensitivity, and improving diversity in the workplace.



Business Intelligence (BI) pros continue to look for outside professional services. Forty-nine percent of decision makers say their firms are already engaging and/or expanding their engagements with outside data and analytic service providers, and another 22% plan to do so in the next 12 months. There are two main reasons for this sustained trend:

  • The breadth and depth of BI deployments cannot be internally replicated at scale. Delivering widely adopted and effective BI solutions is not easy. It requires rigor in methodology, discipline in execution, the right resources, and the application of numerous best practices. No internal enterprise tech organization can claim this wealth of expertise and experience; this only comes after delivering thousands of successful and unsuccessful BI projects — which we believe is solely the realm of management consultants and systems integrators. These partners have collectively accumulated such experience over many years and thousands of clients and projects.
  • Implementation partners help connect technology and business priorities. While business and technology pros ultimately work toward the same goal — improving their companies' top and bottom lines — they often use different approaches to get there. Business pros often have a preference for a particular BI tool and just want to get their jobs done quickly, efficiently, and effectively. It's not that they don't care about a single version of the truth, enterprise software standards, security, and procurement guidelines — it's just that getting their jobs done trumps everything else, while technology pros have different goals. Finding a middle ground between opposing priorities is tough. When all else fails, firms look for a reputable, well-respected professional services organization that can act as a referee and provide an objective road map to align business and technology management goals, objectives, and priorities.

Take a look at our recently published research report - The Forrester Wave™: Business Intelligence Platform Implementation Service Providers, Q2 2017 - where we review

  • Forrester recommended BI implementation service provider shortlisting and selection methodology and
  • Evaluate 13 top providers in this market


Today is World Day for Safety and Health at Work and the ideal time to consider a new International Standard due out early next year – ISO 45001 – ISO’s first standard for occupational health and safety management systems.

Latest estimates from the International Labour Organization (ILO) show that more than 6 300 people die each day (that’s over 2.3 million a year) as a result of work-related activities, and in total over 300 million accidents occur on the job annually. The burden to employers and employees alike is immense, resulting in losses to the wider economy from early retirements, staff absence and rising insurance premiums.

The ILO’s awareness-raising campaign, held annually on 28 April, is intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem and on how promoting and creating a safety and health culture can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.



MSPs are tasked with keeping everything running. They have an around-the-clock, constant flow of information, accessible at any time from anywhere. Each and every single business depends in some way shape or form on that network of information flowing. However, we often consider only a small subset of what users actually interact with to be the MSP’s responsibility--for example, desktops, servers, laptops and maybe some simple network monitoring.

We need to expand what we consider fundamental to our monitoring responsibilities. Today’s customers are more comfortable than ever with technology. With that comfort, their expectations for availability, performance and quality have grown. Moreover, large telecom providers have made information flow easier, unlimited and available all over with faster speeds than ever before--changing users’ expectations outside of their work lives.

When users arrive in the office, expectations have already been set. Your role as an MSP and manager of that network of information comes front and center. Clients begin to engage with phones over the network, wireless access points, data in the cloud, virtualized applications running in the data center and, of course, hosted email.



WASHINGTON – The application period for the 2017 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Awards is now open. The awards highlight innovative local practices and achievements by honoring individuals, organizations and jurisdictions that have made outstanding contributions toward strengthening their community to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate a disaster.

FEMA and partners from the emergency management industry will review all entries and select the winners in each of the following categories:

  • Outstanding Citizen Corps Council
  • Community Preparedness Champions
  • Awareness to Action
  • Technological Innovation
  • Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness
  • John. D. Solomon Whole Community Preparedness Award
  • Outstanding Private Sector Initiatives
  • Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Initiatives
  • Outstanding Citizen Corps Partner Program
  • Preparation in Action

Winners will be announced in the fall of 2017, and a series of webinars and local ceremonies will celebrate their achievements.

To be considered for this year’s awards, all submissions must be received by May 30, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EDT, and must feature program activities taking place between Jan. 1, 2016, and May 30, 2017. Applications are accessed online and should be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More information about the awards is available at www.ready.gov/preparedness-awards


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Acting Administrator Robert Fenton’s activities at www.twitter.com/bobatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

The world is changing fast, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and telecommuting are increasingly becoming the norm, not the exception. This increasingly mobile and flexible workforce creates new security challenges as more and different types of devices are being used in multiple locations. Security and risk professionals must ensure that only the right people get access to the right information at the right time and for the right reasons. Identity and access management (IAM) tools help evaluate who has authorized access to which resources and why.

In our recently published Forrester Data: World Identity And Access Management Software Forecast, 2016 To 2021 (Global), Forrester predicts that the IAM software market will grow to $13.3 billion by 2021, from $7.7 billion in 2016, implying an 11.5% CAGR.



North American insurers lead the way in IT spending globally and will invest $73 billion in tech areas such as data analytics, cloud, and insurtech in 2017.

Digital Insurance reports that global IT spending by insurers is slated to reach $185 billion by the end of this year, according to the Celent “IT Spending in Insurance 2017” report.

After North America, insurer technology spending by region is as follows: Europe ($69 billion); Asia ($33 billion); Latin America ($5 billion); then a group of territories comprising Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe (around $5 billion collectively).



There's a good chance you've considered the implications of machine learning for your security team. As data increases, the skill gap widens, and hackers' strategies get more complex, businesses struggle to detect and address cyberattacks.

Machine learning enables behavioral analytics and cognitive security to detonate attachments before they arrive in someone's inbox, or correlate types of activity across a network of thousands of users.

The ability to stop attacks before they occur is powerful, but how should security leaders start the process of making their systems smarter with machine learning?



The Business Continuity Institute

There is an alarming level of exposure for corporate and sensitive files across organizations, including an average of 20% of folders per organization open to every employee, according to a new study conducted by Varonis.

The Data Risk Report was the result of an analysis of 236.5 million folders containing 2.8 billion files, comprising 3.79 petabytes of data. Of that figure, 48,054,198 folders were open to 'global access groups', or groups that grant access to the entire organization. Nearly half (47%) of organizations had at least 1,000 sensitive files open to every employee, while one in five (22%) had 12,000 or more sensitive files exposed to every employee.

Failure to reduce the use of global access groups, lock down sensitive files and dispose of stale data exposes an organization to data breaches, insider threats and crippling ransomware attacks. A recent Ponemon study found that 62% of end users say they have access to company data they probably should not see, and a Forrester Consulting study found that 59% don’t enforce a need-to-know permissions model for sensitive files.

Business continuity professionals are all too aware of the damage a cyber security incident could cause, as identified in the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report. In this report cyber attack and data breach were ranked as the top two threats with the vast majority of respondents to a global survey (85% and 80% respectively) expressing concern about the prospect of them materialising.

“In data breaches and ransomware attacks, files are targeted because they are high value assets and usually vulnerable to misuse by insiders and outsiders that transgress the perimeter. While organizations focus on outer defenses and chasing threats, the data itself is left broadly accessible and unmonitored,” said Ken Spinner, VP of Field Engineering at Varonis.

Some IT security attacks start from the most innocent mobile apps and in ways that let cyber-criminals simply pick up confidential communications without having to hack into anything at all.

While it may sound surprising, many mobile apps leak user data to anybody ready to receive it. While some free apps rely on being able to harvest and resell such user data, other paying apps, some of them from highly reputable brands, are simply careless about the user IDs, passwords, user profile information, and other information they ask for via mobile permissions. And even consumer user IDs and passwords can move hackers a step along to getting into business systems. Here’s why.

The danger of leaky mobile apps may be indirect, but it is still very real.



The bedrock of the insurance industry is quaking. For decades, large North American insurers got bigger by dominating distribution and methodically mastering information technology.  But the confluence of changing customer demands, hundreds of insuretech startups and non-traditional competitors sniffing around the business of insurance is messing up the long-standing insurance equilibrium.  Insurance carriers--and their agents and brokers--must go digital or go bust.  

During the second half of 2016, my fellow Forrester analyst, Oliwia Berdak and I interviewed digital business strategy executives with traditional insurers and hot startups around the globe to get their take on the role that digital will play in the business of insurance over the coming decade.  What were the big takeaways from our conversations?  Consider that:



Attention to America’s immigration policies has intensified recently, with politicians and citizens wrangling over whether and how to control the number of foreigners entering the country. Emergency managers, however, largely don’t believe immigration is their issue. Except, in a sense, it is.

“I don’t see why or how [immigration] really relates to emergency management, which is distinct from homeland security,” said hazmat and emergency management logistics lecturer Bob Jaffin. “Why would that even come up … in a situation that is an emergency?” 

That sentiment holds true when evaluating the black-and-white definition of emergency management, but shades of gray exist in a number of areas. Immigration affects emergency managers in roundabout manners; instead of focusing on direct involvement — such as enforcement or policymaking — they attend to indirect effects, such as language barriers and population shifts.



The Business Continuity Institute

Cyber espionage is now the most common type of attack seen in manufacturing, the public sector and education, warns Verizon's latest Data Breach Investigations Report. Much of this is due to the high proliferation of propriety research, prototypes and confidential personal data, which are hot-ticket items for cyber criminals. Nearly 2,000 breaches were analyzed in this year’s report and more than 300 were espionage-related, many of which started life as phishing emails.

In addition, organized criminal groups have escalated their use of ransomware to extort money from victims with this year’s report showing a 50% increase in ransomware attacks compared to last year. Despite this increase and the related media coverage surrounding the use of ransomware, many organizations still rely on out-of-date security solutions and aren’t investing in security precautions. In essence, they’re opting to pay a ransom demand rather than to invest in security services that could mitigate against a cyber attack.

“Insights provided in the DBIR are leveling the cyber security playing field,” said George Fischer, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Our data is giving governments and organizations the information they need to anticipate cyber attacks and more effectively mitigate cyber risk. By analyzing data from our own security team and that of other leading security practitioners from around the world, we’re able to offer valuable intelligence that can be used to transform an organization’s risk profile.”

Cyber security is also a major concern for business continuity professionals, with cyber attacks and data breaches featuring as the top two threats yet again in the Business Continuity institute's latest Horizon Scan Report. It is for this reason that it was chosen as the theme for Business Continuity Awareness Week 2017 with the intention of improving an organization's overall resilience by enhancing its cyber resilience, and recognising that people are key to achieving this.

“Cyber attacks targeting the human factor are still a major issue,” says Bryan Sartin, executive director, Global Security Services, Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Cyber criminals concentrate on four key drivers of human behaviour to encourage individuals to disclose information: eagerness, distraction, curiosity and uncertainty. And as our report shows, it is working, with a significant increase in both phishing and pretexting this year.”

With 81% of hacking-related breaches leveraging either stolen passwords and/or weak or guessable passwords, getting the basics right is as important as ever before. Some recommendations for organizations and individuals alike include:

  1. Stay vigilant - log files and change management systems can give you early warning of a breach.
  2. Make people your first line of defence - train staff to spot the warning signs.
  3. Keep data on a “need to know” basis - only employees that need access to systems to do their jobs should have it.
  4. Patch promptly - this could guard against many attacks.
  5. Encrypt sensitive data - make your data next to useless if it is stolen.
  6. Use two-factor authentication - this can limit the damage that can be done with lost or stolen credentials.
  7. Don’t forget physical security - not all data theft happens online.

“Our report demonstrates that there is no such thing as an impenetrable system, but doing the basics well makes a real difference. Often, even a basic defence will deter cyber criminals who will move on to look for an easier target," concludes Sartin.

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