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"ROTTERDAM, HOLLAND - SEPTEMBER 5, 2010: Demonstration of handling of car crash victim by medics at the annual World Harbor Days in Rotterdam, Holland on September 5"

New York City completed a functional exercise to help the city’s hospital system prepare for emergency medical personnel to treat and transport children, like this young girl, after a catastrophic event.

Setting the Stage

Imagine this: Explosions across New York City target elementary schools. Hundreds of severely injured and traumatized children, teachers, and parents flood hospital emergency departments in the five boroughs. Municipal emergency medical services (EMS) are rushing to respond.

Fortunately this scenario wasn’t really happening – it was part of an exercise conducted on May 25, 2017. The exercise was designed to test the ability of the New York City (NYC) Healthcare System to respond to a massive surge of pediatric trauma patients, exceeding the usual resources of this large and complex healthcare system.

Identifying the Players

As a CDC Career Epidemiology Field Officer assigned to NYC, I worked with the experts in the Pediatric Disaster Coalition and the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). We designed an exercise that reflected the number of injured children who would need to go to the hospital and the type of injuries they might experience if a similar event really happened.

NYC has 62 acute care hospitals that participate in the 911 system. Of these, 16 are level 1 trauma centers designated by the NYC Department of Health  (this includes three pediatric level 1 trauma centers and 4 burn centers). A total of 28 hospitals care for pediatric patients and have, during the past seven years with the assistance of the NYC Pediatric Disaster Coalition, developed pediatric-specific components of their overall disaster plans to prepare them to receive pediatric patients from an incident like the one invented for this exercise. All 28 hospitals participated in the exercise.

Coordinating Resources

Hospitals who participated in the exercise were challenged to rapidly respond to more than 60 simulated patients with a range of injuries and conditions:

  • a 7-year-old boy unresponsive after a traumatic injury to his head

  • A toddler with burns to the face, chest, and abdomen

  • A 12-year-old distraught after witnessing another child lose arms in an explosion

Hospitals had to assess the resources that were available to care for the patients, including

  • What nursing and specialty staff could be made immediately available?

  • What medications and equipment, including imaging equipment and burn supplies, were needed to care for the children?

  • What communications and incident command processes would each hospital use to mobilize staff and other resources in the situation described in the exercise?

  • Which patients needed to be transferred to specialty hospitals to receive care for their injuries?

Coordination between FDNY and hospitals was critical to the success of this exercise – it supported interfacility transfers for patients who required specialty care or to better match hospital resources with patient needs. During the exercise, I met with FDNY leadership from EMS and Office of Medical Affairs physicians, and leaders from NYC Emergency Management and the Health Department at the Fire Department’s Operations Center. There, we tested the communications between hospitals, FDNY, and a volunteer pediatric intensive care physician who was trained to assist FDNY’s Office of Medical Affairs to prioritize patients for urgent interfacility transfers.

Measuring Success

Hospital Incident Command leadership discusses the availability of resources to make more pediatric beds available.

Hospital Incident Command leadership discusses the availability of resources to make more pediatric beds available.

This exercise revealed that 28 NYC hospitals were able to rapidly and dramatically increase their pediatric critical care capacity. It was the largest exercise NYC has done that was focused primarily on caring for injured children. During the exercise, these hospitals:

  • More than doubled the number of beds in pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) and added 1,105 pediatric inpatient beds, so children could stay in the hospital for an extended period of time

  • Opened 203 operating rooms that could treat children who needed surgery

During the exercise, we also identified some challenges, including

  • More than half of the hospitals did not have enough supplies that could be used to treat critically injured children

  • A limited number of pediatric specialists, including doctors who could perform brain surgery on children as well as ear, nose, and throat specialists

  • Hospital resources (beds, supplies, and staff) would have been further strained if the disaster scenario had also included large numbers of adults

We were able to identify ways to improve each hospital’s process and further develop our citywide plans to respond to any emergency that strains our healthcare system. As a pediatrician and a parent of two young New Yorkers, I’m grateful that so many dedicated people are working together to make sure that city and hospital plans account for the unique needs of children in disasters.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene receives federal funds used to support state and local public health and healthcare system preparedness through the aligned Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) – Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement. NYC used HPP funds to fund the NYC Pediatric Disaster Coalition to design and conduct the exercise, and coordinate participation of hospitals in the exercise.

Read our other National Preparedness Month blogs:

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 17:52

CDC: Preparing for the Worst-case Scenario

With floodwaters at four feet and rising, a family in Houston, Texas abandoned their possessions and scrambled to their roof during Hurricane Harvey to sit with their pets and await rescue. Unable to reach first responders through 911 and with no one visible nearby, they used their cellphones to send out a call for help through a social media application called Nextdoor.

Within an hour a neighbor arrived in an empty canoe large enough to carry the family and their pets to safety. Thanks to a collaboration with Nextdoor, we learned of this and hundreds of similar rescues across Harvey’s path.

This story illustrates the power of systems like Nextdoor, an app designed to make communication between neighbors easy. Survivors in Houston have been using social media platforms such as Facebook, Nextdoor and Twitter to connect to rescuers, organize food and medical supplies, and find places for people to stay.

These stories support our findings showing that social ties can save lives during disasters. They demonstrate why social media platforms should have pride of place among our preparations for and initial assessments of disaster damage.

...

http://www.govtech.com/social/Why-Social-Media-Apps-Should-Be-In-Your-Disaster-Kit.html

It’s always good to show how business continuity can be a net profit generator or produce other positive and measurable advantages.

While BC is crucially important anyway, it makes it easier to “sell” to sceptics if you can show that it puts more into the business than it takes out.

Yet our attention was caught by some recent figures on the impact of business continuity management on data breaches, and at the same time the effect as organisations move from traditional to next generation IT security.

Which one does more to help organisations get back to normal afterwards?

...

http://www.opscentre.com/business-continuity-management-relevant-data-breaches/

(TNS) — WASHINGTON — The devastating paths of hurricanes Irma and Harvey have stretched the Federal Emergency Management Agency to a point unlike any in recent memory as the country looks to recover from the damage caused by record-breaking winds and flooding across Florida, Southeast Texas and South Carolina, not to mention wildfires in the West.

The two storms have illustrated how the disaster agency — unable to be everywhere at once — has been forced to become more nimble. It has evolved from a command-and-control operation into coordinator that oversees and encourages help from outside groups, such as the private sector and nonprofits, and regular citizens in Houston who were called on to break out their canoes to help stranded neighbors when traditional search and rescue teams couldn't reach them.

"You didn't use to see that 10 to 15 years ago," said Katie Fox, acting deputy administrator at FEMA. "Government folks have recognized that there is a huge amount of capability out there in the population. Engaging those folks is a huge help. It often used to be seen as a hindrance that you'd have to manage."

...

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Record-Breaking-Hurricanes-Stretch-and-Strain-FEMA.html

Fitness trackers that measure your heart rate, map applications that know where you are – and calculate the best route to where you’re going, sensors that monitor diagnostics on jet engines 30,000 feet in the sky; ride-hailing apps that send a vehicle to you when summoned.

Many of us are familiar with the above services, why they’re useful and can probably even name the companies that have made them famous.

The dawn of the smartphone and the proliferation of quick LTE wireless networks paved the way for mobile applications over the last several years that are ready and able to serve right from one’s pocket.

As the “old” saying goes, there’s an app for that.

...

http://mspmentor.net/networking/are-service-providers-ready-mega-services

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 17:47

Are Service Providers Ready for Mega Services?

Online reviews are no longer simply something that trendy millennials look at before going out on the town.

Online reviews are everywhere – from Angie’s List to Yelp and beyond.

They have literally transformed how individuals and organizations evaluate goods and services providers – your MSP business, included.

Recently, I received an email from one of our clients.

...

http://mspmentor.net/best-practices/how-combat-negative-reviews-and-profit-positive-ones

Today marks the 16-year anniversary of 9/11, and as we remember those who perished and honor first responders on that day, it’s worth noting that we have not had a large-scale terrorist attack on U.S. soil since then.

From a recent discussion by property underwriters Gedion Amesias and Jeri Xu at the Swiss Re Open Minds blog:

“Since 9/11, the U.S. government and four of its allies (Five Eyes alliance) have been spending tens of billions of dollars each year on counter-terrorism. Even though it’s hard to accurately estimate, there are experts that approximate the U.S. spends around $100 billion a year on counter-terrorism efforts. Successful attacks since 9/11 have been carried out by either a lone wolf or a duo, for example the 2016 cargo truck attack in Nice by one driver, and 2013 Boston Marathon bombing by a pair of brothers. Plots that involve more people are more likely to be discovered through the surveillance of their communications, so organized large-scale plots are less likely to occur.”

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=5430

Global freight transport is a key component in the trade of goods and materials, but new demands on the transport network are creating fresh challenges for data. Transport companies are endeavouring to meet those new demands, but are they successful? Discover how an adaptive, intelligent supply chain – built around standards – accelerates innovation and drives change.

Imagine an advanced interconnected freight transport network that connects goods safely, quickly and cost-efficiently, a network that makes different modes of transport easier to use than ever before, and provides reliable, predictable and accessible information to enable moving a product from A to B to reach its final destination.

In today’s congested world, most would agree that the e-logistics related to movement of goods is a growing field, and one that will not plateau. Companies are seeking faster and better ways to get product to market and on consumer’s shelves or in their driveways. At the same time, many would agree that demand frequently outstrips the available capacity of transport infrastructure. There can be few companies that have not experienced sporadic load disparities, slow freight movement, or high transport expenses.

...

https://www.iso.org/news/ref2214.html

With Texas still dealing with the remnants of one major hurricane and Florida about to contend with another, Thursday’s Wall Street Journal called considerable attention to hurricane deductibles:

These deductibles were widely put in place after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and have been standard in many states for years. But they have rarely been triggered on a large scale because few hurricanes have landed in the U.S. over the past decade.

The Journal article called them “little known provisions that allow insurers to shift thousands of dollars of damage costs” onto homeowners. Most industry experts would quickly point out that this reduces premiums – by hundreds of dollars a year in hurricane-prone states like Florida.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=5418

Monday, 11 September 2017 15:57

Understanding Hurricane Deductibles

Sounds obvious? When you’re knee deep in metrics, reports, and audits, it’s not always easy to remember that without people doing their jobs, nearly every organisation will rapidly cease to function.

Does that mean you need to be socially extroverted, a psychologist, and an HR expert all wrapped into one?

No, of course not. On the other hand, a passing knowledge of some key concepts about working with people may come in handy, if you want to encourage them to build business continuity into their professional activities.

...

http://www.opscentre.com/people-important-business-continuity/

Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane forecasting team, and I.I.I. non-resident scholar delivers this perspective.

After a relatively mild start, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has become drastically more active over the past couple of weeks. Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing devastating rains to the Houston metropolitan area, causing at least 70 fatalities and economic losses estimated as high as $108 billion.  Following hot on its heels, Hurricane Irma developed off of Cabo Verde and has intensified into a devastating Category 5 hurricane.  Irma has wreaked death and devastation across the northern Leeward Islands, and after brushing the northern coast of by Puerto Rico, the cyclone is tracking across the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and appears headed toward Florida and the southeast United States.  While landfall of a major (Category 3+ on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale – maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or greater) hurricane in the United States seems likely at this point, it is important to realize that other years in the recent past brought major storms in rapid succession.

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=5393

The Business Continuity Institute

 

In the news, we see posts about terrorism, unstable financial markets and pandemics, however of late, natural disasters appear to be taking centre stage.

Just two weeks ago, on the 25th August, we saw the disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Yesterday, images of the ongoing devastation of Hurricane Irma across the Caribbean begun to emerge, and today, an earthquake off the Pacific coast of Mexico takes more lives and threatens further disruption.

For individuals, natural disasters can be catastrophic; homes are damaged, at times beyond salvage and as we see during many large-scale disasters, lives are lost.

For businesses, natural disasters are equally catastrophic and damaging. Their staff may suffer physically and mentally and it’s likely that their critical infrastructure will be damaged as well as supply chains becoming disrupted for extended periods of time. 

There are many things these organizations can do to reduce the ongoing damage relating to this type of disruption. Preparation and collaboration are key. Preparing for a natural disaster isn’t a science. There’s no right or wrong way to ensure your business can continue but by ensuring you have considered the importance of your infrastructure, people welfare of all staff, and how your supply chain will be affected, you can aim to continue business within a reasonable period of time. 

When planning, by looking at collaboration opportunities, local businesses can work with others from further afield to obtain urgent supplies. They can work closely with the community to not only continue their business but to begin repairing the affected area. These local businesses can repair homes and buildings, they can provide transport for critical supplies and help to repair critical services when they’re disrupted. 

Whilst continuing business during a disaster may seem like a low priority for communities, the reality is that the quicker businesses can start supplying products and services to the community, the quicker the area can begin to recover as a whole. Whilst planning and collaboration can’t stop a disaster from happening, business continuity professionals use it as a tried and tested method to ensure their communities are restored as quickly as possible.

Download the attached files

PDF documents 

Riverbed SteelCentral and SteelHead identifies and solves application issues and provides quick access and improved uptime for critical applications

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Riverbed Technology today announced that Rockwell Collins Interior Systems, a leader in aviation cabin design and manufacturing, is using Riverbed® SteelCentral™ and Riverbed®SteelHead™ to ensure quick access to centralized applications and to improve uptime for critical applications. According to the company, SteelHead cut the time to access applications by half while simultaneously reducing bandwidth requirements by 60% and SteelCentral delivers the intelligent analytics needed to identify and resolve application issues quickly, allowing aviation specialists to spend more time developing safer, more comfortable airplanes.

“We used to get a lot of complaints about network performance from the users, and we don’t hear that anymore.”

Tweet This: Riverbed helps @RockwellCollins deliver safe and comfortable aircraft interiors to travelers worldwide: http://rvbd.ly/2vuVmT7

The Interior Systems division of Rockwell Collins, operating in 50 locations worldwide, is a leader in the design and manufacture of aviation interior cabin components such as oxygen systems, comfortable seating, cabin lighting, galley systems (including food and beverage preparation), advanced lavatories, and more.

The division houses all of its major applications in a co-lo data center in the U.S. delivering them across an MPLS network to remote sites. Major applications include Oracle, three ERP systems, and two Siemens PLM Software solutions: Teamcenter and NX design. The division also relies heavily on a number of proprietary .NET applications.

After centralization, access to the data was slow across the board, especially for locations that were furthest away or with limited bandwidth. “Everything took a lot longer to respond. Engineers would click on a drawing and then wait for it to download,” explained Chris Elder, senior manager of enterprise networks and data center operations for Rockwell Collins Interior Systems. “We can’t have engineers sitting around half the day waiting for things to happen on the network.”

Customer Storyhttps://www.riverbed.com/customer-stories/rockwell-collins-interior-systems.html

With productivity taking a hit, the division decided to deploy Riverbed SteelHead WAN optimization appliances throughout most of the organization, immediately boosting application performance while simultaneously reducing WAN bandwidth requirements by 60%. Elder also decided to improve visibility into the network to more quickly identify and resolve issues. He chose Riverbed SteelCentral AppResponse, a network-based application performance management solution that is integrated with the SteelHead appliances. “I’m a big fan of Riverbed,” Elder said. “We used to get a lot of complaints about network performance from the users, and we don’t hear that anymore.”

The division also needed to address nagging application performance issues. “We are primarily a .NET shop,” explained Derek Turner, Senior .NET and SharePoint developer for Rockwell Collins Interior Systems. “We have 12 custom high-availability, internal and external facing .NET applications, and nine times out of 10, when I’m troubleshooting, it’s a .NET issue.”

Turner chose Riverbed SteelCentral AppInternals, which captures and analyzes all user transactions, end to end, from the user device to the back-end while capturing system metrics every second. This complete application visibility allows IT to reconstruct incidents in the detail needed to quickly diagnose problems. Powerful analytics helps pinpoint issues down to code level allowing for faster problem solving. “Now if I get a report that something is timing out, which generally means it’s taking longer than 90 seconds to respond, with the information available to me with this tool, I can isolate the offending component in minutes,” Turner said. “This is the power of SteelCentral AppInternals.”

Gone are the days when Turner faced an unknown amount of time to first recreate a problem, then identify the root cause, and finally fix the code. “I can't explain how good AppInternals really is,” he added. “There’s nothing that I can't see or explain [with it]. Having a tool like this is life changing. Our development response time to deliver a solution to the business unit has been vastly improved.”

Riverbed Delivers Solutions for Cloud and Digital World

Riverbed is delivering solutions to help companies transition from legacy hardware to a new software-defined and cloud-centric approach to networking, and improve end user experience, allowing enterprises’ digital transformation initiatives to reach their full potential. Riverbed’s integrated platform delivers the agility, visibility, and performance businesses need to be successful in a cloud and digital world. By leveraging Riverbed’s platform, organizations can deliver apps, data, and services from any public, private, or hybrid cloud across any network to any end-point.

Riverbed SteelHead™ is the industry’s #1 optimization solution for accelerated delivery and peak performance of applications across the software-defined WAN. Riverbed SteelCentral™ product family is a performance management and control suite that combines user experience, application, and network performance management to provide the visibility needed to diagnose and cure issues before end users notice a problem, call the help desk, or jump to another web site out of frustration.

Connect with Riverbed

About Riverbed

Riverbed enables organizations to modernize their networks and applications with industry-leading SD-WAN, application acceleration, and visibility solutions. Riverbed’s platform allows enterprises to transform application and cloud performance into a competitive advantage by maximizing employee productivity and leveraging IT to create new forms of operational agility. At more than $1 billion in annual revenue, Riverbed’s 28,000+ customers include 97% of the Fortune 100 and 98% of the Forbes Global 100. Learn more at www.riverbed.com

Riverbed and any Riverbed product or service name or logo used herein are trademarks of Riverbed Technology, Inc. All other trademarks used herein belong to their respective owners.

Interstate Restoration directing resources to victims of Harvey, Irma

FT. WORTH, Texas – One of the nation’s leading disaster-recovery companies has positioned its resources in anticipation of restoration demands in both Texas and Florida.

Offering assurance to businesses already affected by or preparing to be affected by dual, massive hurricanes, Chief Executive Officer Stacy Mazur of Interstate Restoration said his company is ready to handle the unusual confluence of events.

Interstate Restoration already has 125 employees in the area devastated by Hurricane Harvey, along with 35 trucks and tractor trailers, plus about 1,500 subcontractors. Now Interstate is expanding its Florida resources, using its Boynton Beach office as a base, to help businesses get back in operation following any flooding or wind damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Interstate also has an equipment repository in Orlando, from which the company will launch operations.

“We believe we’re better positioned than anybody in the industry to fight this hurricane battle on two fronts,” said Mazur.

One of the largest concentrations of Interstate clients is in Florida, and the company recently merged with a Boynton Beach-based restoration company to increase Interstate’s capacity.

“We’re taking this (two-front challenge) seriously, with proper preparation and responsiveness,” he said.

Initially, Interstate will have more than 50 people in Florida, with more than 20 trucks and tractor trailers. Hundreds of subcontractors have already positioned themselves to join the effort.

Interstate began its preparation for Hurricane Irma last week and shared advice for clients and the general public in the path of the storm.  Mazur added a few additional items for businesses to keep in mind, with safety as a top priority:

  • Create an emergency action plan that includes instructions for both employees and customers.
  • Think about the ways you are going to communicate before the storm’s impact, during and after.
  • Download a severe-weather app onto your smartphone so you can track developments.

He added that clients in previous disaster situations have expedited recovery by posting notices on their business doors, alerting public safety officials that they should allow access to restoration companies like Interstate, and thus speeding up the recovery process.

 

About Interstate Restoration

Founded in 1998, Interstate Restoration LLC is an emergency restoration and general contractor specializing in repairing commercial property nationwide. Ft. Worth-based Interstate helps businesses recover quickly from fire, flood, and other natural and manmade disasters. This means companies and people can focus on the important stuff - like getting back to business and back to life.

Thursday, 07 September 2017 19:48

Recovering on Two Fronts:

 

Esri, the leader in spatial analytics and mapping, has created a new Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones Story Map that identifies the potential impact of the storm through a variety maps, including:

  • Public Information Map - identifies the current and recent location of Harvey as well as forecast positions and probable track; additionally, the shaded area is called the "cone of uncertainty," the likely path of the center of Harvey.
  • Impact Summary Map - shows the storm surge by identifying locations most at risk for life-threatening inundation from storm surge; accordingly, to Esri's data, the total population at risk is 248k people, 99k households, and 10k businesses.
  • Forecast Precipitation Map – forecasts the amount of rain expected within the next 72-hour period

This map is provided by the Esri Disaster Response Program.

Thursday, 07 September 2017 19:41

Mapping the Impact of Hurricane Irma

(TNS) - As thousands of cars streamed north on Florida's roads Wednesday, carrying residents fleeing the approach of Hurricane Irma, the Category 5 storm maintained its powerful 185 mph winds on a path towards the Bahamas today and eventually, forecasters predict, a landfall Sunday afternoon on the state's southeast coast.

The latest projected track from National Hurricane Center forecasters Wednesday night had shifted east from earlier predictions on where the storm would go, based on conclusions that the system will eventually shift course from its present west-northwest trajectory and head north, along or just off Florida's east coast. However, experts underscored that the entire Florida peninsula remained within Irma's potential path, and noted that the margin of error for predictions this far out ranged from 175 to 225 miles. A shift either east or west would have dramatically different results for Florida residents, including those in Southwest Florida.

As a result, many local governments ramped up their emergency preparations, while schools set plans to close on Friday and canceled activities. Highways, gas stations and stores saw firsthand how seriously residents were taking officials' warnings. Meanwhile, mandatory evacuations began in southeast Florida.

...

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Hurricane-Irmas-Path-Continues-Shift-Toward-East-Coast.html

Integrating Dangerous Goods Software into Your ERP System

Shipping hazardous materials is a complicated, time-consuming process, and today’s ever-evolving regulations make the task even more challenging. Integrating ERP and dangerous goods software systems simplifies hazmat shipping to streamline supply chain operations and maintain regulatory compliance.

Dangerous goods (DG) software should be standard for any organization that ships hazardous materials regularly. However, a recent survey shows that just having this software doesn’t automatically inspire confidence in shipping hazmat compliantly.

According to Labelmaster’s 2016 survey of DG shippers, 77 percent of participants do not consider their shipping technology to be forward-thinking, and 31 percent do not believe their companies have the right technology in place to meet emerging regulations.

In today’s rapidly changing world of regulations and complex logistics, keeping up means having the right technology and infrastructure in place. Today’s shippers should consider fully integrated DG software as a solution to help meet regulatory compliance and streamline supply chain operations.

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/ensuring-compliance-hazmat-regulations/

Thursday, 07 September 2017 15:43

Ensuring Compliance with Hazmat Regulations

(TNS) - Floridians hit the highways, scrambled for scarce supplies and hammered plywood over windows as a monster hurricane made landfall in the Caribbean, where it was blamed for at least four deaths.

Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes, set a wild, wind-churned course toward Puerto Rico, with the U.S. mainland in its sights, probably over the weekend.

Amid an overnight assault of battering waves and 185-mph winds, two deaths were reported in French island territories, a third in Anguilla, a British territory, and a fourth in Barbuda, part of a tiny independent nation.

In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott implored constituents to obey calls to flee the storm’s path when the time came

...

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Four-Deaths-Reported-as-Hurricane-Irma-Rakes-Caribbean-With-Florida-Likely-in-Crosshairs.html

Hurricane Irma begins its assault, while Texas and Louisiana begin the long road to recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

No one, of course, knows exactly what damage Irma will unleash, but it is likely to be quite different from what Harvey wrought. That’s because no two storms are alike.

Business Insider touches on the differences:

...

http://www.iii.org/insuranceindustryblog/?p=5383

Thursday, 07 September 2017 15:39

Harvey vs. Irma: Every Hurricane is Different

Fifty percent of employees say they are more productive and motivated when their bosses share information. In fact, 76 percent don’t trust bosses who fail to communicate. Obviously, internal communications are a big deal when it comes to employee engagement and satisfaction. Is there such a thing as too much communication?

Related: Employee Engagement Starts with Communication

With 24-hour access to news and social media, we have become a culture of instant and all-encompassing information. We are increasingly expecting to know it all, or at least thinking we deserve to. However, companies must sometimes make decisions about what information they believe to be appropriate for their employees and what could cause damage to morale, revenue, reputation, or retention.

This isn’t always easy. To tell or not to tell can be a dilemma. Disclose too much and you can have an internal crisis on your hands. Offer up too little and your employees may rebel, or at best grumble. The truth is, every situation requires different evaluation, but we can safely place certain issues into “Tell” and “Don’t Tell” buckets.

We offer up the top 4 things employees need to know and need not to know:

...

https://www.alertmedia.com/4-things-you-shouldnt-notify-your-employees-about/

WAYNE, Pa. – Sungard Availability Services® (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, has appointed Kathy Schneider as Chief Marketing Officer reporting directly to Andrew A. Stern, Sungard AS' Chief Executive Officer.

Schneider will have global responsibility for Sungard AS' marketing, market strategy and corporate communications. In this role, she will drive the company's global go-to-market approach and brand strategy to further strengthen Sungard AS' market relevance and recognition, and to accelerate revenue growth. Schneider will also represent the voice of the customer, ensuring customer experience is integral to all Sungard AS' business decisions. As such, she will assume leadership responsibility for Sungard AS' European and North American Customer Advisory Boards (CABs).

"We are delighted to welcome Kathy to the Sungard AS leadership team as our CMO," said Andrew Stern. "Kathy has extensive experience developing global marketing strategies that have helped to achieve growth for both established and emerging IT businesses. As a proven marketing leader, Kathy will help Sungard AS elevate our brand, ensure that we are developing solutions aligned with customers' evolving needs, and generate increased demand to drive growth."

Schneider joins Sungard AS after more than two decades of technology and business-to-business marketing experience at country, regional and global levels in both pre-IPO and Fortune 500 companies. Her most recent role was at Level 3 Communications, where she served as Senior Vice President, Product and Marketing, EMEA. Prior to Level 3, she led global Marketing and Communications at Criteo, a leader in digital marketing and big data. Schneider also spent 14 years at Dell Inc. where she held a variety of marketing leadership roles in the U.S. and EMEA.

"For more than 35 years, Sungard AS has been reputed as the market leader for delivering recovery solutions that keep enterprises and organizations 'always on' and able to meet their business objective," said Kathy Schneider. "Over the last several years, the company has transformed its solutions portfolio to offer fully resilient production and recovery services. I am thrilled to join Sungard AS at such a pivotal time as it continues to evolve its solutions portfolio and help customers across their entire IT deployment."

About Sungard Availability Services:
Sungard Availability Services ("Sungard AS") is a leading provider of critical production and recovery services to global enterprise companies. Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe to understand their business needs and provide production and recovery services tailored to help them achieve their desired business outcomes. Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help customers manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. Visit Sungard Availability Services at http://www.sungardas.com/en/ or call 1-800-468-7483. Connect with us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

Sungard Availability Services is a trademark or registered trademark of SunGard Data Systems or its affiliate, used under license. The Sungard Availability Services logo by itself is a trademark or registered trademark of Sungard Availability Services Capital, Inc. or its affiliate. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

The Business Continuity Institute

Explore the latest business continuity and resilience trends at the inaugural BCI India Conference. Open to both new and experienced practitioners, this conference will focus on the theme of business continuity excellence through personal accountability and process effectiveness, and will feature interactive sessions, case studies, plenary addresses and thought leadership from industry experts.

The BCI would like to thank Sungard Availability Services who are the headline sponsor, Send Word Now from OnSolve who are the gold sponsor, and Emreach and Regus who are silver sponsors. Thanks are also extended to NASSCOM who are ecosystem partner, and BSI who are knowledge partner. 

Thursday, 07 September 2017 14:41

BCI India Conference Sponsors

(TNS) - Almost before the rain started in Houston, economic prognosticators started trying to figure out how much Hurricane Harvey was going to cost.

The numbers kept mounting as the rainfall totals piled up. In the first few days of the storm, investment research firms estimated the total property damage at between $30 and $40 billion — not even approaching the toll of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

By Wednesday, Enki Research had pegged it at between $48 and $75 billion. Toward the end of the week, as the flood receded and its carnage became clear, many analysts were hailing Harvey as the nation's most destructive storm ever.

...

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Harvey-Might-Have-Been-Fiercer-Than-Katrina-but-its-Effects-Could-Fade-Faster.html

This is the conclusion to a 4-part series on Business Transformation.

Recent studies tracking the progress of digitizing enterprises indicate two key trends:

  1. The number and proportion of organizations with an enterprise-wide digital strategy has increased significantly in three years.
  2. Companies are struggling to cultivate and advance their digital strategies.

Numerous causes have been cited to explain the lag in many companies’ efforts to successfully execute their digital strategies, including leaders not being fully equipped to lead digital initiatives, resistance to change, being bound by strategic decisions made 10 to 20 years ago, and many other factors.

...

http://www.enaxisconsulting.com/ready-to-launch-building-your-digital-team-blog/

Wednesday, 06 September 2017 14:29

Ready to Launch: Building Your Digital Team

It almost seems that there are as many definitions of the “blended attack” in IT security, as there are experts willing to give them.

At one end of the scale, the blended attack is defined as a piece of malicious code using a variety of delivery methods to infect systems.

About halfway along the scale, a blended attack is defined as a combination of different malwares or virtual attacks, used in combination to attain a target. And at the other end of the scale, the blended attack “gets real” in the sense that it not only has virtual components, but can be combined with physical attacks as well.

Each case needs to be assessed for the potential impact on your organisation.

...

http://www.opscentre.com/worrying-definition-blended-attack/

Many organizations consolidate their disaster recovery and IT security recovery plans into one package without asking if this approach makes sense.

Security and disaster plans are related but they are not the same, and at MHA Consulting, we advise against combining them.

How Disaster Recovery and IT Security Recovery Plans Differ

DR and IT security recovery plans appear to be very similar. Both plans include a procedure to minimize the impact of an event. They also have procedures to recover from the event and return to production, and will likely have a process to minimize the possibility of a similar event occurring again. Yet, beyond that, disaster and IT security recovery plans are fundamentally different.

The core difference between these plans is that disaster recovery is about business continuity, while IT security is about information protection. Therefore, disaster recovery plans tend to be actionable while security plans tend to be more validation and configuration driven. Part of the recovery tasks performed to make applications or environments available include the necessary security architecture and settings.

...

https://www.mha-it.com/2017/09/separate-security-disaster-recovery-plans/

Having a business continuity plan in place is all well and good, and an important part of preparing for any potential disruption in business, but if the plan sits on a shelf collecting dust, what good is it really doing? For a BC plan to truly thrive, it needs to be practiced, regularly.

Why Exercise

Organizations that perform well-planned exercises get better results when faced with the real event. It makes sense, but often companies fail to move forward with exercising plan implementation. When you regularly run tabletop, functional and even full scale exercises, drilling on all aspects of your plan, it becomes nearly muscle memory for your staff in the event of an actual incident.

...

http://www.missionmode.com/importance-regular-drills-practices-bc-managers/

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is raising awareness that Hurricane Harvey disaster survivors, and their friends and family, must be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft, and fraud. Although many Americans are working hard to help their neighbors now, during chaotic times, some will always try to take advantage of the most vulnerable. 

To dispel some of the false rumors circulating on the internet and social media, FEMA created a dedicated website to address some of the most common themes. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Visit https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-harvey-rumor-control to get the most accurate information from trusted sources.

Here is how to protect yourself, or someone you care about, from disaster fraud:

  • Federal and state workers do not ask for, or accept, money. FEMA staff will never charge applicants for disaster assistance, home inspections, or help filling out applications. Stay alert for false promises to speed up the insurance, disaster assistance, or building permit process.
     
  • In person, always ask to see any FEMA employee ID badges. FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams may be in impacted communities providing information and assisting survivors with the registration process or their applicant files.
     
  • A FEMA shirt or jacket is not proof of identity. All FEMA representatives, including our contracted inspectors, will have a laminated photo ID. All National Flood Insurance Program adjusters will have a NFIP Authorized Adjuster Card with their name and the types of claims they may adjust.
     
  • If you are unsure or uncomfortable with anyone you encounter claiming to be an emergency management official, do not give out personal information, and contact local law enforcement.
     
  • If you suspect fraud, contact the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
     
  • More information on disaster-related fraud is available at the Texas Attorney General’s Office website at texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/disaster-scams or call -800-252-8011.
     
  • In Louisiana, disaster-related fraud information is available on the State Attorney General’s Office website at http://www.agjefflandry.com or contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s hotline at 1-866-720-5721.

##

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.twitter.com/femaspox, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Brock Long’s activities at www.twitter.com/fema_brock.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

The media will bring you the facts. Houston has been hit by one of the largest storms of the century. Despite this catastrophe, Houstonians have come together demonstrating compassion for their neighbors in need.

The community at large has come together like never before. #HoustonStrong has begun to trend on Twitter, offering up numerous examples through pictures and videos of what it means to be a strong Houstonian. The hashtag was made in honor of the city of Houston’s collective birthday. This hashtag highlights the resilient spirit of the city and its citizens throughout the many years of its existence. People from all over Houston and beyond are volunteering to help in the relief of victims caught in the path of the storm.

Multiple posts have shown evidence of people from around Texas bringing their boats to the Houston area to assist in amateur search and rescue operations. Other posts show more personal stories, one being of a Houston officer purchasing emergency supplies and food for victims of the tremendous flooding (this might be a good spot to put a link to the source). The Cowboys and Texans have officially canceled their Thursday preseason game so players can return to Houston to further help their community.

While official government funding for the relief effort is still being debated, others have taken up the mantel in an unprecedented way. Both MLB Texas teams, the Astros and the Rangers, have pledged $4 million and $1 million, respectively, in showing their support for Houston during this difficult time.
in addition to organizations and citizens, celebrities have also contributed to humanitarian efforts with their money and time. Kim Kardashian West, for example, has donated $500,000 to the relief of Houstonians. Despite how you may personally feel about certain celebrities, their contribution and their compassion for those in need have made a difference for the people in Texas.

The hashtag isn’t exclusively for content showing humans helping humans; it also includes anything that inspires hope for the people affected by the storm. The spread of positive news has inspired those in Texas and around the nation of the hope that still lingers on the horizon. Clear skies have opened up over Houston as the storm has started to migrate to southwestern Louisiana, and the sun is shining down on a different Houston, a damaged but still standing one.

Through this crisis, we have seen the resilient spirit of the American people, the unquestionable durability that America is known for. Houston is a shining example of how different people can come together and help one another. We now have confirmation that everything is indeed bigger in Texas, even their hearts.

http://resqdr.com/hurricane-harvey-houstonstrong/

Friday, 01 September 2017 15:01

Hurricane Harvey and #HoustonStrong

NEW YORK – CA Technologies (NASDAQ:CA), today announced it has been named a Leader in the prestigious “The Forrester Wave™: Continuous Delivery and Release Automation, Q3 2017” report by Forrester Research. The report evaluates 15 of the most significant continuous delivery and release automation vendors.

New #ForresterWave names @CAinc @Automic "Leader" in continuous delivery& release automation http://bit.ly/2x7JVAD

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Vendors were evaluated on 26 criteria on their ability to support major DevOps processes for continuous delivery and release automation, including: integration with CI tools, package creation and modeling, pipeline modeling and governance, API coverage, vulnerability rectification and out-of-the-box integrations.

“We are delighted to be named a Leader in Forrester’s latest Continuous Delivery and Release Automation Wave report,” said Ayman Sayed, president and chief product officer, CA Technologies. “We believe this achievement testifies to CA Technologies success in empowering enterprises with the speed and agility they need to achieve continuous delivery and adopt digital transformation as an important strategic initiative.”

Per the report, Forrester states, “Automating the movement and deployment of infrastructure, middleware, and applications through testing is a key pain point for I&O teams today. CDRA [Continuous Delivery and Release Automation] tools remove errors from manual deployment and release processes by standardizing and automating the movement of applications between environments; this is a critical step in the delivery pipeline of applications and has a direct impact on customer experience.”1

According to the report, “CA Continuous Delivery Director and CA Automic Release Automation demonstrated good pipeline management across all pipeline stages, movement of complete releases including applications, infrastructure and middleware, remediation of vulnerabilities, defect tracking, and out-of-the-box integrations with a broad range of third party solutions including configuration management, database management tools and testing tools.”2

CA Continuous Delivery Director and CA Automic Release Automation received the highest scores possible in the deployment flexibility, deployment scenario support, advanced model creation and deployment, pipeline health and orchestration, scalable governance, planned enhancements, consulting, training and support, and innovation in delivery models and pricing criteria.

CA Automic Release Automation is the most flexible, yet scalable release automation product on the market. It is also environment agnostic, making CA Technologies uniquely positioned to help transform any enterprise for the digital age.

To learn more, visit:
CA Automic Release Automation: https://automic.com/products/application-release-automation
CA Continuous Delivery Director: https://www.ca.com/us/products/ca-continuous-delivery-director.html

1 Forrester Research, The Forrester Wave™: Continuous Delivery And Release Automation, Q3 2017, Stroud, Gardner, et al., 30 August 2017.

2 Forrester Research, The Forrester Wave™: Continuous Delivery And Release Automation, Q3 2017, Stroud, Gardner, et al., 30 August 2017.

Tweet this: New #ForresterWave recognizes @CAinc @Automic as a “Leader” in continuous delivery & release automation: LINK @Automic #DigitalTransformation

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About CA Technologies

CA Technologies (NASDAQ:CA) creates software that fuels transformation for companies and enables them to seize the opportunities of the application economy. Software is at the heart of every business in every industry. From planning, to development, to management and security, CA is working with companies worldwide to change the way we live, transact, and communicate – across mobile, private and public cloud, distributed and mainframe environments. Learn more at www.ca.com.

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Copyright © 2017 CA, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All trademarks, trade names, service marks, and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies.

Derived from the old proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”, this axiom was top of mind for me this past weekend as I prepared to lift a 20-foot section of trunk and root ball from a downed cottonwood that was blocking my creek. I carefully examined each link of the 40 feet of logging chain, I examined the winch mechanism of my “come-a-long” (read manual) winch, I searched for the right tree to which to attach my winch, I cleared the ground around me to have ample foot room, and thought through my “escape route” should the chain break.

On one of my many breaks, I started thinking about how this old adage can impact your cyber security strategies. (Yes, I really do think about this stuff all the time, even when covered in mud, creek water, and sweat!) ‘You are only as strong as your’ weakest link is something that should be on the mind of every CISO, CIO and Risk Manager.

Hackers are getting smarter. They are attacking the weakest link.

...

https://www.bluelock.com/blog/strong-weakest-link/

Thursday, 31 August 2017 20:31

You are only as strong as your weakest link

(TNS) — As scientists, engineers, and victims of Harvey try to grasp exactly how a storm got that big and destructive, some say that there might never be one answer — but that climate change, sea rise, sprawl, and randomness all converged with a vengeance on Houston.

“They are mysterious unto themselves,” William Sweet, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oceanographer, said of storms like Harvey and Sandy.

“Climate change aside, rare events happen,” Sweet said. “Oftentimes it’s not very well understood that your area might be prone to these major events. Just because you haven’t seen a storm like it in 30, 50 years doesn’t mean they aren’t prone to occur. If your region is prone to these kind of events, you need to be prepared.”

...

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Five-Reasons-Harvey-Has-Been-so-Destructive---its-Not-Only-About-Climate-Change.html

Ideally, business continuity means no discontinuity.

Interruptions are prevented or avoided, and the business keeps ticking, no matter what the circumstances.

But as savvy business people know, such perfection is rarely achievable and even if it is, the costs can be astronomical.

Excellence may be a better goal, but does this mean that the occasional BC imperfection is acceptable – and if so, to what degree?

...

http://www.opscentre.com/business-continuity-prevention-detection-repair/

(TNS) - The biggest rainstorm in the history of the U.S. mainland made a second landfall Wednesday on the Gulf Coast, slowly moving away from Houston and dousing southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

While Tropical Storm Harvey no longer has the power of the Category 4 hurricane that slammed the Gulf Coast late Friday — it is expected to weaken as it moves north toward Mississippi and Tennessee — the National Hurricane Center warned of continued “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding.

The Texas National Guard has made more than 8,500 rescues and 26,000 evacuations, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference Wednesday.

...

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/The-Worst-is-Not-Yet-Over-for-Southeast-Texas-Governor-Declares.html

Whew! I’m safe! I’m in the cloud, I don’t need a disaster plan!

Please don’t agree with me. I had chills just writing that. Look, it is very exciting to be out of the datacenter business. No more worries about cabinets, cables, or cooling. No more pesky power issues, counting rack units, or server procurement. 100% software defined datacenter, baby! It’s a dream and the conclusion of a many-year strategy for many. Or perhaps you’re one of the new, hip kids living the dream with containers and continuous integration.

Sure, many clouds can offer uptime SLAs, security, and features that many individual businesses could not duplicate, and we can assume, if you are now all-in-cloud, that your business uptime requirements are met when the cloud meets their SLA. However, the most important questions to ask is: “Is the business uptime requirement met if my provider doesn’t meet their SLA?” And, if they broke the uptime SLA, you’re out of guarantees. Is the business willing to risk uptime based on that SLA?

...

https://www.bluelock.com/blog/im-cloud-now-dont-need-disaster-recovery/

AUSTIN – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a November 15, 2017 deadline requiring all Medicaid and Medicare providers and suppliers to have an emergency preparedness plan in place for their facility. These new rules can mean changes to familiar processes and procedures – causing headaches and added stress for healthcare compliance professionals.

But the good news is these guidelines are designed to make healthcare facilities safer, more efficient, and better at communicating around emergency situations. Meeting the program requirements may seem overwhelming, but the best way to approach the new regulations is to find a way to make them work best for your organization and to find a solution you can implement quickly and easily. New technologies such as AlertMedia’s emergency mass notification system can assist you in a big way.

1. Build an Emergency Plan

This is the first item the CMS regulations address and the best place to start when building a CMS compliance strategy. Begin with researching relevant material that will apply to your facility such as local emergency requirements and important emergency personnel contact information.The assessment checklist published by CMS recommends gathering the following information:

  • Copies of any state and local emergency planning regulations or requirements
  • Facility personnel names and contact information
  • Contact information of local and state emergency managers
  • A facility organization chart
  • Building construction and Life Safety systems information
  • Specific information about the characteristics and needs of the individuals for whom care is provided

CMS guidelines requires your emergency plan also include a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) for hazardous situations. CMS specifies that facilities should develop this plan with an all hazards approach taking into consideration events such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, fire, bioterrorism, pandemic, etc. If the event could disrupt the flow of your facility’s service in any way, it must be planned for.

Collaborate with local emergency services, analyze all hazards, discuss with suppliers, and set up a hierarchy for decision criteria for your emergency plans.

2. Put in Place Policies & Procedures

This portion of the requirements should be specific to your organization and based on the facility’s risk assessment and emergency plan. Policies and procedures must be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

The key to fulfilling this requirement is to fully develop and document your emergency policies and procedures with a schedule for review, update, and maintenance built in to remain compliant. Build policies and procedures that work for your organization and make ongoing compliance as easy as possible.

3. Develop an Emergency Communications Plan

Proper communication before, during, and after an emergency is the key to your emergency preparedness plan. It will inform employees, patients and visitors of the situation at hand and where and what they should be doing during the event. But communicating on this scale can be a logistical nightmare.

Your organization must gather, store and update a large amount of contact information to communicate efficiently during an emergency situation. A comprehensiveemergency notification systemcan help you gather and maintain this data in a safe, efficient manner, making it a great option to use for your compliant communications plan.

AlertMedia, the fastest-growing emergency mass notification system provider in the world, has helped numerous healthcare organizations meet the Emergency Communications Plan regulations included in the CMS guidelines. Organizations use AlertMedia’s web and mobile applications to interact with their audience from any device, over any communication channel – such as voice call, text, native mobile apps, email, social media, and Slack – keeping their people safe and informed with just a few clicks.

4. Training & Testing Program

To meet the training and testing portion of the new CMS Guidelines your facility must provide:

  1. Initial training for new and existing staff in emergency preparedness policies and procedures
  2. Annual refresher training so that staff can demonstrate knowledge of emergency procedure

This section in the emergency preparedness guidelines allows for a more tailored approach that works best for your facility and the hazards your organization specifically faces. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the processes you've put in place work well, are fully compliant, and are understood by the members of your team. If you've put solid systems in place, you’ll simplify your program training and testing.

Summary

The new CMS guidelines are designed to ensure patients, visitors, personnel and government officials are safe and informed during natural and man-made critical events. Improved emergency communications help ensure the safety of your facility and your people. One of the best technological investments your healthcare facility can make in preparation for these new guidelines is a multi-layered mass communication system like the AlertMedia platform. You can keep your people safe when you keep them informed.

About AlertMedia

As a mass communications and monitoring company, AlertMedia helps hundreds of global organizations securely and effectively monitor threats, streamline notifications, and improve employee safety. The company’s cloud-based platform delivers communications that protect organizations, improve operations, and mitigate loss from any location, at any time, using any device. For more information, call (800) 826-0777 or visit www.alertmedia.com.

The Business Continuity Institute

On Friday 25th August 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, in the USA. The natural disaster has brought record levels of rainfall causing widespread flooding.

The level of disruption in Houston has hit unprecedented levels, affecting health, homelessness and economy. Hospitals have had to be evacuated, homes have become damaged and uninhabitable and businesses have been forced to close. With widespread power cuts, emergency services have been relying on backup systems to continue offering care to those most in need.

Could anything be done better at this stage of the crisis? Looking back to 2005 and Hurricane Katrina, in New Orleans; evacuation led to congestion, lack of resources resulted in poor health and social care, and widespread panic lead to looting and damage to businesses. More than a decade later, New Orleans still hasn’t recovered. Their population is significantly lower than pre-Katrina and their businesses still struggle to trade.

12 years on however, the military are on site to reduce disruption to people and businesses in the affected areas of Texas. Supplies and generators have been shipped in, and engineers are onsite in an effort to restore Houston’s critical infrastructure whilst evacuation efforts are planned and prioritised around those most at risk. On the surface, the response effort appears more coordinated.

Whilst the efforts will continue to focus on the safety of residents, the effects on businesses will not be clear until much later. It does seem that businesses were better prepared with emergency response and business continuity plans already in place. Renovation and restoration organizations prepared for the storm by safeguarding their stocks and have put a lockdown on service inflation in the area. Farmers and traders worked tirelessly to protect their crops and although not a failsafe approach, have managed to bring at least some of their produce to safety. Local businesses have invoked their disaster recovery plans and are preparing to repair damage in disrupted areas as soon as possible, however with supply chains disrupted and entry roads blocked, this is likely to be a lengthy and difficult task.

At this early stage, it would seem that lessons were learned relating to preparedness, however whether the response has been proactive enough to ensure the regeneration and continuity of Houston and affected areas will only be seen over time.

Download the attached files

PDF documents  

Companies today know they need to fully and effectively leverage all data—including the increasing digitization of human communications and the data being generated by everything from light bulbs to smartphones. They know they must capture a wide variety of data, store it in a way that makes it accessible, and query it based on the rapidly changing needs of the business. They also know that they can’t get by with rigid, predetermined schemas . What they are finding, however, is that this is much easier said than done.

What’s standing in their way? Many things, unfortunately; but there are five big challenges that companies must overcome in order to fully exploit their data along with partner data, and other external data sources.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2017/08/29/five-challenges-companies-must-overcome-make-use-data/

“89 percent of IT leaders are planning in implementing more cloud-based disaster recovery in the next year.” -Lauren Cooke, 

Within the decade, the adoption of cloud computing and hybrid-cloud computing applications in organizations has risen exponentially. Businesses are realizing the cost effectiveness of having business continuity and disaster recovery cloud-based solutions. From enterprise to small business, 75 percent of teams recognize the cloud’s ability to offer them offsite backups and stronger business continuity. (source)

...

http://www.bcinthecloud.com/2017/08/bcdr-in-the-cloud-are-you-behind-the-curve/

Wednesday, 30 August 2017 14:33

BC/DR in the Cloud, Are You Behind the Curve?

An architectural risk assessment is not a penetration test or merely a vulnerability scan. It is an engineering process with the aim of understanding, defining, and defending all the functional output from customers, line workers, corporate staff, and client-server interactions. Architectural risk assessments include ethical hacking, source code review, and the formation of a new network design.

As Fred Donovan wrote in the Cutter Consortium Executive Update, Architectural Risk Assessment: Matching Security Goals to Business Goals, “Performed correctly, [an architectural risk assessment] will empower the technology staff and enable the business to focus less on security and more on customers.”

According to Donovan, the first step of an architectural risk assessment is to conduct interviews with line workers — the people who interact daily with customers. These line workers who know many of the issues — without understanding the technical details — that may negatively affect customer interaction with a running application. This knowledge will benefit the redesign of the network architecture.

...

http://blog.cutter.com/2017/08/29/conducting-an-architectural-risk-assessment-step-1/

Establishing your business continuity strategy starts with considering your organization’s objectives, legal and regulatory requirements, personnel, and products or services, along with your customers and clients. Before jumping in to identify and develop your strategy and plans for business continuity, there are some preparations you can perform to help you successfully implement a functional program. These are:

  • Seek support from senior management.
  • Engage a competent third-party BCM consultant.
  • Develop a basic plan if nothing exists.
  • Appoint your BCM team.
  • Perform a business impact analysis (BIA).
  • Develop the BC strategy.
Seek Support from Senior Management

Without management support and engagement, it is difficult for a BC program to provide value and succeed in its goals. Management should form a steering committee to assist with funding and facilitation of cross-departmental issues. Providing regular status updates and reports on the added value of the program will help you garner support and understanding from senior management.

...

https://www.mha-it.com/2017/08/business-continuity-strategy/

It’s a common misconception many businesses have that sever weather incidents won’t drastically change the way they operate even if this unexpected severe weather occurs in their geographic area. However, according to FEMA, this simply isn’t the case. In fact, FEMA estimates 40% of all businesses are forced to close immediately after a disaster and another 25% of businesses will fail within one year. Knowing these sobering statistic begs us to take a closer look at exactly how severe weather may impact your business.

Building Damage/Loss of Facilities

The most obvious way severe weather can hit home is when it causes structural damage to your company’s building or even destroys the facility all together. Whether it’s a flood, tornado, hurricane, fire, or any other terrible act of mother nature, losing the place your staff reports to every day to perform their work has a tangible impact on your business operations. You’ll need a plan in place for backup facilities and/or remote work options.

...

http://www.missionmode.com/closer-look-severe-weather-can-disrupt-business/

(TNS) — Heeding orders not to evacuate but instead to shelter in place, hundreds of Houston residents found themselves trapped in their homes Monday as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rose around them.

“We have no power, no water. We’re flooded in. We need help,” said Dana Godfrey, 46, who was stranded with her 24-year-old son in an apartment complex surrounded by water in the Lake Houston neighborhood. “They never told us to evacuate. It’s never flooded over here.”

Godfrey said she was terrified over reports that robbers were casing homes in flooded areas. Her calls to overwhelmed emergency services had failed to yield any response by Monday evening. Across the city, residents were reporting 911 calls that went unanswered, or being put on long holds, then told that emergency personnel could not immediately be dispatched.

...

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/They-Were-ordered-Not-to-Evacuate-Now-Many-Families-in-Houston-Find-Themselves-Trapped-in-their-Homes.html

FEMA may provide Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) to applicants who are unable to return to their pre-disaster primary residence because their home is either unihabitaable or inaccessible due to a Presidentially-declared disaster. TSA is intended to reduce the number of disaster survivors in congregate shelters by transitioning survivors into short-term accomodations through direct payments to lodging providers. TSA does not count toward an applicant’s maximum amount of assistance available under the Individuals and Households Program (IHP).

TSA is funded under Section 403 of the Stafford Act and is subject to a state cost-share. The State may request that FEMA authorize the use of TSA for the declared disaster in specific geographic areas.

The affected state, territorial, or tribal government may request TSA. This form of assistance may be considered when the scale and projected duration of the declared incident results in an extended displacement of disaster survivors. The state, territorial, or tribal government, in coordination with FEMA, identifies areas that are inaccessible or that incurred damage which prevents disaster survivors from returning to their pre-disaster primary residence for an extended period of time.

Under TSA, disaster survivors may be eligible to stay in an approved hotel or motel for a limited period of time and have the cost of the room and taxes covered by FEMA. For those who are eligible, FEMA will authorize and fund, through direct payments to participating hotels/ motels, the use of hotels/motels as transitional shelters.  The applicant is responsible for all other costs associated with lodging and amenities, including, but not limted to  incidental room charges or amenities, such as telephone, room service, food, etc.

The initial period of assistance will be 5-14 (adjustable to 30 days, if needed) days from date of TSA implementation. FEMA, in conjunction with the state, territorial, or tribal government, may extend this period of assistance, if needed,  in 14-day intervals for up to six months from the date of disaster declaration.

Individuals and households who are not eligible for TSA will be referred to local agencies or voluntary organizations for possible assistance.

Individuals and households may be eligible for TSA, if:

  • Register with FEMA for assistance
  • Pass identity and citizenship verification
  • Their pre-disaster primary residence is located in a geographic area that is designated for TSA
  • As a result of the disaster, they are displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence
  • They are unable to obtain lodging through another source

FEMA provides eligible applicants access to a list of approved hotels in their area, and applicants may choose to stay at any approved hotel or facility identified by FEMA. The list of approved hotels is available at http://www.femaevachotels.com/index.php or the FEMA Helpline. FEMA provides applicants with access and functional needs additional assistance in locating approved hotels to meet their needs.

FEMA bases the amount of TSA on the maximum lodging rate plus taxes for the locality, as identified by the General Services Administration (GSA).

Extending TSA

When FEMA extends TSA eligible applicants are allowed to remain in transitional sheltering through the end of the extended interval if they are otherwise eligible for IHP Assistance, or both

of the following apply:

  • FEMA is currently considering the applicant’s eligibility for Temporary Housing Assistance or is waiting for documentation from the applicant needed to consider eligibility
  • They meet other conditions of eligibility established by FEMA and the coordinating state, territorial, or tribal government

Ending TSA

  • If an applicant who is receiving TSA is approved for Rental Assistance, their TSA-eligibility will terminate at the end of the 14-day interval.
  • Applicants who are not eligible for IHP Assistance may only remain in transitional sheltering until their TSA interval expires.

###

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.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017 17:11

FEMA: Transitional Shelter Assistance

FEMA may provide financial assistance to individuals and households who, as a result of the disaster, have immediate or critical needs because they are displaced from their primary dwelling. Immediate or critical needs are life-saving and life-sustaining items including, but not limited to: water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items, and fuel for transportation. Critical Needs Assistance (CNA) is awarded under the Other Needs Assistance provision of the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) and is subject to a state cost share. It is a one-time $500 payment per household. The State must request that FEMA authorize CNA in a disaster for specific geographic areas that are expected to be inaccessible for an extended period of time (i.e., seven days or longer). The eligibility period for CNA corresponds to the standard registration period for IHP, which is 60 days from the date of the Presidential disaster declaration.


Individuals and households may be eligible for CNA if all of the following have been met:

  • A registration is completed with FEMA;
  • The applicant passes identity verification;
  • At registration, the applicant asserts that they have critical needs and requests financialassistance for those needs and expenses;
  • Their pre-disaster primary residence is located in a county that is designated for CNA; an
  • The applicant is displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence as a result of the disaster.

###


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.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017 17:09

FEMA: Critical Needs Assistance

Once upon a time, IT security was all about building the highest wall possible to keep attackers out and corporate users and systems safe.

Collaboration, cloud computing, and data mobility changed all that.

Although the list of bad actors may not have changed, their methods have and so have the relative levels of risk associated with each one. Insider threats are now only equalled in diversity and range by cyber terrorists. It’s time to take the insider threat seriously.

Key cyber threat sources can be categorised as nation states, cyber criminals, cyber terrorists, hacktivists, hackers, competitors, and insiders.

...

http://www.opscentre.com/rise-rise-insider-threat-it-security/

Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to structuring a business continuity program.

A centralized structure involves leading and executing the business continuity planning process within a single team and engaging the business as needed.

A decentralized structure involves leveraging a small number of centralized resources that offer consultative assistance and performance measurement while resources dispersed throughout the business execute the actual planning process.

...

http://perspectives.avalution.com/2017/business-continuity-planning-centralized-and-decentralized-approaches/

This has been quite the extraordinary week with the solar eclipse (amazing) on August 21 followed only a few days later by Hurricane Harvey (horrific), which is causing "epic, catastrophic" flooding in Houston, Texas,  the 4th most populated city in the US. 

The path of the hurricane can be viewed here. 

To emphasize the significance of this natural disaster, which has been called a one in a 500 year flood, major news sites such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, have all removed their paywalls, which is also being already referred to as the worst natural disaster to ever hit Texas.

You may ask, why worry about what is happening in Texas? First of all, this natural disaster hits "close to home." As an academic,  I know many faculty at universities in Texas and to see some closing down, making tough decisions as to what to do with students, and when to reopen,  reminds me of Hurricane Sandy back in October 2012 when my daughter was a college freshman and her college (as did many in the affected areas of the Northeast) closed, and she could not even make it back to Amherst because there was no public transportation due to fuel shortages. A niece of mine had just started her freshman year at Tulane University in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck but she had had sufficient warning that she was able to get a flight back to Kansas and that university was closed for an entire semester. And my daughter had spent the summer before her senior year of college as an intern researcher at the marvelous Lunar and Planetary Institute, which is located in Houston. I remember her flying from Sweden where she was visiting me when I had an appointment as a Visiting Professor at the University of Gothenburg and flying then to Houston, which had had some rain, and I was worried at that point about flooding. Now, because of Hurricane Harvey, there are very few passable roads in the surrounding Houston area, flights are halted at both Houston airports (how would crews and workers even make it there?), hospitals are without power and running water, and folks are being told to shelter in place and to bring axes to their attics so that they can break through attics to the rooftops to be rescued. 911 operators are overwhelmed with calls.

...

http://annanagurney.blogspot.com/2017/08/hurricane-harvey-texas-and-all-of-us.html

Tuesday, 29 August 2017 16:51

Hurricane Harvey, Texas, and All of Us

Protect your health and safety, follow state, local and tribal official instructions to shelter in place or evacuate

WASHINGTON – The federal government’s emergency responders continue to respond to states, local communities, and tribes as impacts continue across southeast Texas.

FEMA’s priority continues to be protecting the lives and well-being of those in affected areas; the federal government is focusing on search and rescue and first responder operations to ensure people who need help get assistance.   

FEMA urges those in the affected areas to follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials, including instructions to shelter in place or evacuate. Evacuees should not return to evacuated areas until they are told by local officials that it is safe to do so.

Federal resources are positioned closer to the impacted areas of Texas and Louisiana, and are ready to provide assistance as needed and requested by federal, state, local and tribal partners.

As of last night, FEMA had more than 900 Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) personnel working to save lives in south Texas.

Commodities are being strategically located at Incident Support Bases (ISB) near the impacted areas. As of yesterday, more than 1,000,000 liters of water, 1,000,000 meals, 20,520 tarps, and 70 generators are at the ISBs and staging areas in Texas and Louisiana. FEMA is providing around-the-clock staffing at its distribution center in Fort Worth, Texas, and is shipping additional commodities to ISBs and staging areas.

The overall federal response includes:

  • The National Emergency Medical Services activated a contract for 100 ambulances and 15 air ambulances for advanced and basic life support, and are staged in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and equipment are on the ground in Texas and Louisiana to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services for emergency response communications needs. The following teams and assets are on the ground in Texas:
    • 65 MERS personnel
    • 10 mobile communication office vehicles in support of US&R, IMAT, ISB, and survivor assistance.
  • The Incident Management Assistance Teams are in place at the Texas and Louisiana state emergency operations centers in Austin, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to support requests for federal assistance. Additional teams continue to deploy as the response continues.
  • The National Business Emergency Operations Center remains activated and is facilitating critical life-saving and life-safety information to private sector stakeholders as they are communicating with employees in the impacted area and preparing to send additional relief supplies.
  • The National Flood Insurance Program has General Adjusters situated in Texas and Louisiana to support initial damage assessments and assist with positioning adjuster resources.
  • FEMA has more than 1,800 FEMA employees deployed in support of the response. They are supplemented by an additional 341 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees deployed as part of our surge capacity force. These surge capacity individuals begin rapid strike training today, and will be in the field shortly.

Ongoing Support and Preparedness Efforts:

The American Red Cross (ARC) continues to mobilize massive relief efforts to provide shelter, food and comfort. More than 1,800 people took refuge Saturday night in 34 Red Cross and community shelters in Texas.  In Louisiana, one shelter is open with 8 people there Saturday night.  Red Cross is directing people in need of shelter to call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit http://www.redcross.org or download the Red Cross App.  Local officials can also provide information on shelters. Anyone who plans to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs. Red Cross is also directing people in life-threatening situations who need rescue to call 9-1-1 or the U.S. Coast Guard at (281) 464-4851.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has three divisions and five districts actively involved in the response. USACE has deployed liaison officers and subject matter experts to state and FEMA facilities to provide technical assistance, and a Prime Power Planning and Response Team, which includes temporary power restoration assets to the immediate vicinity. Additionally, USACE districts in affected areas continue flood-fighting activities such as stockpiling and issuing flood-fighting materials (sandbags and materials/fabrics that keep soil in place) to local government entities, and monitoring flood risk reduction projects in an effort to mitigate the effects of flooding in the area.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is working with industry and state and federal agencies, to report the evacuation of offshore oil and gas platforms and rigs due to the storm. Personnel have been evacuated from 89 production platforms and four drilling rigs.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has over 420 personnel conducting operations in South Texas.  The Coast Guard had confirmed rescues of 2,000 multi-person cases in the Houston and Galveston area, with 16 helicopters in the air and 8 more inbound. The Coast Guard also has an additional nine teams onsite doing shallow water rescues. More information on USCG rescue operations is available on their website at:  http://www.news.uscg.mil/.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) deployed more than 225 AmeriCorps members to the region to support American Red Cross shelter and feeding operations, and FEMA’s disaster damage assessments and logistics. These teams are trained to provide expert manpower for shelter operations, debris removal, and volunteer and donations management.

The Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is deploying the DLA Distribution Expeditionary depot package to FEMA’s ISB at Randolph Air Force Base, near Seguin, Texas.  DoD will provide a Search and Rescue (SAR) package to include two SAR planners, nine SAR rotary wing aircraft, two fixed wing aircraft, pararescue teams, and associated command and control elements. These SAR assets are deploying to Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas. The DoD Defense Logistics Agency provided Logistics Management and Resource Support to include 11 generators, 50,000 gallons of motor fuel, and 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

The U.S. Northern Command is providing a Defense Coordinating Officer with supporting staff element (DCO/DCE) to support DoD regional knowledge, requirements validation, and liaison services, including State/Emergency Preparedness Liaison SEPLO/EPLO Teams as necessary.  DoD also provided Randolph-Seguin as an ISB/Federal Staging Area to support forward distribution of supplies/equipment to the affected area.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) responders remain active at its sites in Washington D.C. and Texas. DOE is continuing to assess the situation, impact and needs in affected areas, and is continuing to provide situation reports at https://www.energy.gov/oe/downloads/hurricane-harvey-situation-reports-august-2017. Patience will be essential, since it may take time to both complete damage assessments, and for energy repair crews to begin their critical work of restoring energy supplies to affected communities. DOE is also working closely with the Energy Information Administration to assess any potential impacts to oil and natural gas from Tropical Storm Harvey.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, in coordination with DOE’s Secretary Rick Perry, yesterday requested to expand Texas’s emergency fuel waiver signed on Saturday. The waiver now includes the four-county Dallas-Fort Worth reformulated gasoline (RFG) area, the 98-county area required to use low volatility fuel, and the 110-county area required to use Texas Low Emission Diesel (TxLED).  The waiver helps ensure an adequate supply of gasoline is available in the affected areas until normal supply to the region can be restored.  EPA is continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation as a result of the storm, and is ready to act expeditiously if extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist in other areas.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to monitor the status of communications networks and is coordinating with providers and government partners on communications status and restoration in the affected areas. The FCC released its first communication status report for areas impacted, the information is available at www.fcc.gov/harvey.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price declared a public health emergency for Texas on Saturday to allow health care facilities to provide care unimpeded. In addition, HHS has more than 500 personnel on the ground in Texas and Louisiana and more than 1,000 on alert. They deployed approximately 53,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies to support medical and public health needs in the affected areas. HHS helped arrange for evacuation of three Texas hospitals Saturday, and has begun working with state and local agencies to assess damage and needs of mental health centers, dialysis centers, pharmacies, and other critical health infrastructure.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is expanding its support activities through six mission assignments, including the U.S. Geological Survey providing advance support, real-time field measurements, and daily reporting of water heights via deployed storm-tide sensors to help public officials assess storm damage, discern between wind and flood damage, and improve computer models used to forecast future floods. USGS is also supporting collection of remote-sensed imagery, updating coastal change forecasts based on storm surge forecasts, and liaising with the Texas State Emergency Operations Center.

The National Park Service (NPS) and Office of Aviation Services are expanding search and rescue activities, including use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) for search and rescue operations and to provide imagery for identifying high priority search areas.

The National Guard Bureau (NGB) has over 1,000 service members in the region ready to move in for various assessment, search and rescue, and recovery missions, with approximately 3,000 service members activated last night.  NGB is closely coordinating with the Texas and Louisiana National Guard to ensure all requirements are met for forces and equipment. Guard members in Texas are prepared to support civil authorities by saving lives, preventing injuries and protecting property. NGB has also been messaging safety on social media at https://twitter.com/ChiefNGB.

The U.S. Postal Service is updating employees, residential and commercial customers through telephone call centers, traditional and social media. They are maintaining emergency operations centers to assess and direct resources and assets for mail support.  They have security and damage assessment of facilities underway, and are reviewing conditions for restoration of service on a case by case basis.  

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Operating Administrations are actively monitoring Hurricane Harvey and its impacts.   DOT has proactively issued emergency declarations to remove restrictions in order to hasten the delivery of emergency equipment and supplies to the region.   All of the Department’s administrations are poised to support the State of Texas with post storm recovery efforts.

The USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov are supporting federal agency messaging efforts on the USA.gov & GobiernoUSA.gov home pages and compiling federal agency updates and messaging on Tropical Storm Harvey pages, found at https://www.usa.gov/hurricane-harvey and https://gobierno.usa.gov/huracan-harvey.


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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.twitter.com/femaspox, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Brock Long’s activities at www.twitter.com/fema_brock.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

(TNS) - Bobby Lopez first tried calling 911 at about 3 a.m. Sunday.

The floodwaters that had gushed into his parents’ Houston garage were rising. The table where his mother, a partially blind and diabetic 60-year-old, sat with Lopez’s father and their 3-year-old grandchild would soon be engulfed.

He’d tried driving to them in his truck, but the roads were impassable.

Lopez said he tried calling again, and each time, he was told that dozens of people were ahead in line for help. His parents, too, had dialed 911.

So Lopez did what countless others have done in the wake of a storm that has devastated a region and overwhelmed emergency dispatchers: He took to social media in hopes that someone — anyone — would see the plea and come to his family’s rescue.

...

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/When-911-Failed-Them-Desperate-Harvey-Victims-Turned-to-Social-Media-for-Help.html

How would you rate your organization’s GDPR readiness? Hanzo CEO and Chairman Kevin Gibson offers five questions every compliance officer should be considering ahead of next May’s deadline for GDPR compliance. Specializing in heavily regulated industries, Hanzo is the world leader in the legally defensible capture, preservation and analysis of web and social content. Herein Kevin provides some concrete guidance on compliance in the face of the data protection regulations.

On May 25, 2018, the European Union (EU) will see a seismic shift in data security practices as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect. Proactively working toward GDPR compliance before the deadline may be the difference between smooth or choppy waters, as any failure to comply with GDPR exposes organizations to fines of up to €20 million (US $23.5 million) or 4 percent of global revenue — whichever is higher. This is true not only for organizations headquartered in the EU, but also for any entity around the world whose business involves providing goods and services to EU citizens and therefore is privy to their personally identifiable information (PII).

Knowing the answers to five key questions will prove essential to becoming and remaining GDPR compliant and avoiding both fines and potential loss of business.

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/5-questions-compliance-asking-gdpr/

In theory, IT should be a boon for business continuity. Speed, reliability, automation, efficiency, productivity, all these things are positive effects available by moving to a digital environment driven by information technology.

However, IT also brings its own risks of interruption and breakdown. These can then compromise the continuity of an entire organisation.

Consultancy firm EY published a report a little while back. Here’s an overview of some of the main drawbacks in using IT, with a few pertinent updates:

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http://www.opscentre.com/is-it-getting-in-the-way-of-business-continuity/

Industry experts assert that because the manipulation and communication of information is now a core function of most organizations, comprehensive data management strategies are vital. But despite being mission critical, the data center often remains siloed –  a necessary, but not strategic, business service.

However, in an economic landscape defined by digital disruption, and where businesses are transforming at lightning speed, this is finally set to change. The innovations revolutionizing business – cloud computing, social media, mobile apps, the “big data” explosion and on-demand services – can only be delivered from purpose-built highly efficient data centers.

Getting the data center strategy right means that companies have an intelligent and scalable asset that enables choice and growth. But getting it wrong means their entire business could fail. For data center managers across the world, the pressure is unprecedented.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2017/08/24/why-business-continuity-is-the-final-word-in-the-build-vs-buy-debate/

 

Tropical Storm Harvey could be a hurricane with wind speeds of at least 111 mph and is expected to hit Texas Friday. Widespread flooding is a risk for Texas and neighboring states as public safety groups and communities prepare.

Esri, the leader in spatial analytics and mapping, has created a new Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones Story Map that identifies the potential impact of the storm through a variety maps, including:

  • Public Information Map - identifies the current and recent location of Harvey as well as forecast positions and probable track; additionally, the shaded area is called the "cone of uncertainty," the likely path of the center of Harvey.
  • Impact Summary Map - shows the storm surge by identifying locations most at risk for life-threatening inundation from storm surge; accordingly, to Esri's data, the total population at risk is 248k people, 99k households, and 10k businesses.
  • Forecast Precipitation Map – forecasts the amount of rain expected within the next 72-hour period

This map is provided by the Esri Disaster Response Program.

The Business Continuity Institute

More of us are moving to cities than ever before, especially in the developing world, and this migration to urban centres and the growth of cities results in more complex challenges in urban planning such as traffic management, sanitation and healthcare, thus requiring smarter management. In the latest edition of the Business Continuity Institute's Working Paper Series, Gianluca Riglietti offers an overview of smart cities today, exploring the opportunities as well as the challenges they bring.

In the paper, Gianluca concludes that cyber resilience strategies will have to be implemented in order to mitigate the risks that could disrupt a smart city, and that business continuity is also necessary, alongside other management disciplines such as information security, to ensure ensure they operate smoothly. The analysis has shown that there is ground for collaboration and an overlap in terms of good practice across disciplines.

"This technology-driven approach is not always well received," says Patrick Alcantara, Research & Insight Lead at the Business Continuity Institute. "The reliance on connective technology raises questions related to resilience given its susceptibility to outage, failure or breach. Gianluca Riglietti’s paper addresses these concerns and provides an excellent foundation to explore how smart cities can change our lives. Using business continuity principles as a framework for building cyber resilience, he suggests a way forward for managing these smart cities."

Download your free copy of 'Exploring business continuity implications of smart cities vulnerable to cyber attack' to understand more about smart cities and the complexity of making them more cyber resilient.

The Business Continuity Institute

The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) recently conducted a large-scale industry-wide exercise for the financial sector involving simulated terrorist and cyber attacks (code-named Exercise Raffles) to test their business continuity arrangements.

The exercise was the fifth in the Exercise Raffles series with 139 financial institutions including banks, finance companies, insurers, asset management firms, securities and brokerage firms, financial market infrastructures, industry associations, the Singapore Exchange as well as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) participating in the Exercise.

The Exercise was also conducted with the support of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Singapore Police Force, the Ministry of Communications and Information, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the building and facilities management from approximately 50 buildings.

Mr Ho Kai Weng, Chief Executive of the General Insurance Association, said: “Recent developments in many countries around the world have highlighted the danger from cyber and physical threats. This exercise has emphasised the importance for the general insurance industry to collaborate in sharing information, undertaking active discussions and testing threat response and business continuity plans.”

During the Exercise, financial institutions practised established crisis management and contingency plans in response to simulated scenarios on terrorist attacks and cyber attacks that had disrupted operations and resulted in the unavailability of financial services.

Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, Director of ABS, said: “The Exercise was valuable and provided an opportunity to practise coordination amongst the financial institutions, including crisis responses and sharing of information. The exercising of communication and co-ordination between financial institutions and authorities was intense and challenging. There are good lessons that the industry gained which will contribute towards enhancing the responsiveness and resilience of Singapore’s financial sector.”

Validation is one of the six main stages of the BCM Lifecycle according to the Business Continuity Institute's Good Practice Guidelines, and is essential for ensuring an effective business continuity programme. By regularly exercising your programme, you can find out where any vulnerabilities are and make improvements, and you can help ensure that people know what is expected of them.

Ms Pauline Lim, Executive Director of LIA Singapore added that, “As Singapore strives towards achieving our Smart Nation ambition, it also becomes increasingly critical for us to ensure that the level of protection we provide members of the community, and the integrity of our systems are not compromised. Today’s exercise highlights the importance of being crisis response-ready, and it is heartening to note the level of preparedness and swift actions of life insurers in effectively tackling the simulated crisis.”

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You’ve finally got the right executive management team in place. Sales are at all all-time high, projections are better, and you’re running on all cylinders. Your CIO has provided an efficient platform to support the business. You are prepared to stifle the competition.

You and your team have thought of everything. However, there may be one consideration that you are missing. How will you deal with the inevitable discontinuity that may confront your business? Terrorism, weather conditions, civil disturbances, and fire are among the considerations that may force you to have alternate plans in place. If you leave the office at the end of business on Monday evening, and the workplace is not available on Tuesday morning, how will you conduct business? How will you interface with your customers, and more importantly, how will you prevent them from directing themselves to your competition? The answer is obvious, and rather simple. You need to have a business continuity plan, and to maintain an alternate site to do business in the event of a disruption. If you’re not doing the following, you are putting your company in real jeopardy.

During more than a dozen years in which I served as senior vice president of operational risk management at AXA Equitable, an insurance giant, we were faced with eight significant crises. Five of these involved loss of use of a principal facility. The major culprit was weather, but I was sure that we had appropriate plans in place to deal with any eventuality. Fortunately, we were able to sustain the business with no interruption in all these instances due to extensive prior planning.

Here are five key considerations to building a strong business continuity plan:

1. Conduct a business impact analysis

What are the core functions of your firm that have little or no tolerance for downtime? Obviously, your customer-facing functions fall within this category, but there are also a host of financial functions which do as well. At the conclusion of this analysis you should determine the number of “seats” to allocate to each critical business area. Remember that support functions such as Procurement, Facilities, and Human Resources can be critical in sustaining business operations, and also in the process of getting you back on your feet.

2. Identify a business continuity plan (BCP) strategy

You’ve identified the critical pieces of your operation. Now it’s time to be able to staff these functions at an alternate location. For example, if you’ve determined that your treasurers department needs to be allocated 24 workstations, you’ve got to build these “seats” at an alternate location, appropriately geographically dispersed from your primary location. The desktop at each seat must be individually imaged with the applications and software to enable that function to perform.

Determine whether you want to host your own BCP plan, or outsource. Outsourcing is generally more expensive. We hosted our own plan. I preferred self-hosting because we were operating in a company owned facility, with our own equipment. We had complete control of the space, and also the quality of the data residing on the desktops. I felt that we controlled our own destiny.

Again, ensure that your BCP site is a proper distance from your primary site. It should also be supported by a generator. On 9/11, a number of Wall Street firms found that their BCP sites, also located in Downtown NYC locations, were not inhabitable due to an area-wide lockdown in the aftermath of the tragedy. Ensure that you have a transportation plan to get employees to the recovery site.

3. Practice, practice, practice ...

The only thing worse than not having a plan, is having one, and not being able to properly execute. In 2004, NYC hosted the Republican National Convention. The two largest hotels in the city were occupied by a large number of convention delegates. Based upon reports that the delegates may be targeted at these locations, and the residual impact due to our proximity, a determination was made to run the business for two weeks from our recovery site. The feared protests never materialized, but in the end, we conducted an exercise which validated our crisis management and BCP programs. On an annual basis, we conducted an all-hands BCP drill. This continued to validate the functionality of our plan, and contributed to the overall “buy-in.”

I’ve often told my employees that we were in the business of sales. Our job was to convince our internal business folks to supporta mandate of preparedness in addition to their core responsibilities. This mindset ultimately became part of our culture.

4. Develop a remote access program

This is a great complement to your recovery site. It enables you to bring more people back to work quickly. Do an inventory of those employees who are assigned laptops. For employees not assigned laptops, remote access software enables employees to mirror a workplace computer via their home desktop. This is also a useful strategy for instances where employees are not able to travel due to weather or other conditions.

5. Communications

I believe that communication is the single most important aspect of crisis management. Effective communication helps to control the intensity of a crisis. Employees can be directed, and kept in the loop with an automated notification system, such as Onsolve or Everbridge. Crisis managers, who previously depended on manual process, can now use a tool, GroupDoLists, which serves as a repository for all BCP and CM documentation. It pushes out tasking to team members during a crisis, and reports their progress in real time. An effective way to keep executive management in the loop on their smartphone or laptop.


A 26-year career in the Secret Service has infused a mindset of preparedness. The keys to success in this discipline are advanced preparations, training, and the smart use of technology. I strongly believe that companies seeking a competitive edge must be prepared to deal with unforeseen events. Every move a business makes is transparent today. Customers watch how your company is handled in a crisis. If your company fumbles a disaster, your customer may decide to shop elsewhere.

Author Info:
Dowling PeterPeter Dowling, 26-year veteran of the Secret Service, 12 years in operations risk management with AXA. Today, Dowling works as a special advisor to the CEO for GroupDoLists, Powered By Centrallo.

The Business Continuity Institute

Employer confidence in the UK economy has moved into negative territory, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). The net balance fell from +6% last month to -3% in the latest report, as a third of employers (31%) now expect the economy to worsen, while only 28% expect it to improve.

On a positive note, employers are still looking to hire, with one in five (19%) planning to increase their permanent headcount in the next three months. Confidence in making hiring and investment decisions remains positive with a net balance of 10%, but is at its lowest for the past year. The study also showed that four in ten (40%) employers have no spare capacity and would need to recruit to meet additional demand.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive at REC, commented: “This drop in employer confidence should raise a red flag. Businesses are continuing to hire to meet demand, but issues like access to labour, Brexit negotiations and political uncertainty are creating nervousness. Employers in the construction sector are especially concerned as they rely heavily on EU workers to meet the growing demand for housing and to support the government’s infrastructure plans.

"The added factor of dropping consumer confidence is putting some businesses on edge. If people reduce their spending, businesses will be impacted. The government must do more to create an environment where businesses have clarity. That means clearly laying out what Brexit plans look like and how employers can keep recruiting the people they need from the EU.”

Cisco partners will be able to resell Veeam backup products beginning this fall, Veeam announced in a new blog post.

The move is set to become official in early October, when Veeam is added to the Cisco Global Price List.

“This will enable Cisco and its resellers to deliver Veeam Availability solutions as easily and simply as any Cisco hardware or software product,” Veeam co-president and CEO Peter McKay wrote in the blog post.

...

http://mspmentor.net/vendor-relations/cisco-adding-veeam-global-price-list-october

Although it seems that enterprises are flocking to the cloud for their IT needs, data storage in particular, a new survey from DataCore Software suggests that a good number of organizations are running into trouble during the transition.

"Challenges and false starts with technologies have introduced reluctance in the industry to fully commit to software-defined, hyperconverged or a hybrid data storage infrastructure," wrote Paul Nashawaty, product evangelist and director of Technical Marketing at DataCore Software, in a blog post. "Until recently, the promise of cloud, ease of use, and faster application performance have fallen short of expectations."

Some of those expectations include storage services that don't break the budget.

...

http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/storage-management/enterprises-encounter-cloud-storage-cost-and-management-challenges.html

According to Webster, resiliency is:

1. the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2. an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

I think that the word has more depth to it which can best be seen by looking at some examples that history provides us with.

To me, resiliency is defined as General Washington and his exhausted men, many of which didn’t even have shoes, dealing with brutal winters and endless setbacks and still managing to defeat the British in the decisive battle at Yorktown to win the Revolutionary War. Washington and his men’s’ resiliency won that war.

...

http://resqdr.com/resiliency/

Thursday, 24 August 2017 14:41

Resiliency

The Business Continuity Institute

There is considerable room for improvement in both public and private schemes that could help encourage risk reduction behaviours and reduce losses in future disasters, according to a study conducted across Austria, England and Romania. The study, published in the journal Risk Analysis, provides a detailed look at different public and private incentives for risk reduction and their association with actual risk reduction behaviour.

"Currently neither insurance nor governments successfully encourage risk reduction. Increased and more targeted efforts particularly from local authorities will be important, and have the capacity to change the picture. This will be exceedingly important considering extreme events from climate change," says IIASA researcher Susanne Hanger, who led the study. "This in turn is important for insurance to remain viable and for governments to not overspend on disaster aid."

The study also finds little support for the idea that compensation for flood damage make people less likely to take personal risk reduction measures, such as taking actions to prepare for an eventual flood or installing structures or technologies that can help protect homes from damage. Instead, the study finds that neither private insurance nor public compensation after a disaster is linked to less risk reduction at an individual level.

In Austria for instance, post-disaster relief is available from the government in the form of a catastrophe fund. Yet Austrians had taken more structural measures to protect their homes (45%) than Romanians (23%) or the English (19%), who have less access to public assistance after disasters. For awareness and preparedness measures, Austrians were equally likely to have taken awareness and preparedness measures compared to the English and Romanians.

While the researchers found no link between post-disaster compensation and reduced individual preparation, they did find a connection between public infrastructure measures such as flood dams, which may be linked to a sense of increased safety. In both England and Austria, the researchers found that public risk reduction infrastructure, such as dams and levees, were associated with a lower rate of individual investment in risk reduction measures.

Interestingly, in Romania neither insurer nor government efforts showed any effect on household risk reduction behaviour. Hanger speculates that this may be a result of insufficient public capacity to provide this kind of support. In England, the study shows that national efforts by the UK government to inform the public about disaster risk reduction have reached many households, which is positively associated with preparedness. In Austria, where national level information efforts are limited, households respond almost exclusively to local awareness raising and support.

Across all countries, the researchers find room for improvement in both public and private schemes that could help encourage risk reduction behaviours and reduce losses in future disasters. Instead of increasing efforts to privatize all flood risk insurance, Hanger says, "We need to better coordinate public and private schemes in order to design not only efficient, but also socially just and politically feasible solutions."

Key Considerations to Facilitate Smooth M&As

As the list of cybersecurity breaches grows daily and headlines grow more shocking – think Home Depot, Target, Anthem, Yahoo!, WannaCry – the importance of cybersecurity in M&A due diligence has correspondingly increased. Do you want to purchase a company that’s been compromised? How would you know even know if it’s been breached? 

Corporate directors have cited the importance of cybersecurity for M&A targets as increasingly significant, according to 77 percent of a recent study’s respondents, but it continues to be treated generally, putting companies at risk.

At the highest level, buyers should ask the following questions as it relates to cybersecurity during the due diligence process:

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/5-hidden-pitfalls-cybersecurity-due-diligence/

In last week’s blog, we discussed why you should invest in a business continuity (BC) program. One point we made was that insurance against loss is typically not enough, so the additional value provided by a business continuity plan and program are needed. It’s important to know the differences between business continuity and insurance, and why insurance should be a part, but not the entirety of your business continuity plan.

The Difference Between Business Continuity and Insurance

Before we consider the differences, it is relevant to understand that business continuity is a form of insurance. The insurance we are comparing BC to is a contract of coverage where a party agrees to indemnify or reimburse another party for a defined loss under specific and defined conditions.

...

https://www.mha-it.com/2017/08/business-continuity-and-insurance/

Rackspace, one of the major forces behind the open source cloud infrastructure project OpenStack, this week announced general availability of its new Rackspace Private Cloud, which is built on the VMware Cloud Foundation virtual stack.

The new Rackspace Private Cloud enables scalable, software-defined data center (SDDC) capabilities, including compute, storage networking and security.

A hosted model allows customers to hand off their IT infrastructure operations and take advantage of around the clock Rackspace support for help with migration, architecture, security and overall operation.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2017/08/22/rackspaces-private-cloud-built-on-vmware-now-in-ga/

(TNS) — In 1992, we were glued to our transistor radios or battery-powered TVs as weatherman Bryan Norcross guided us during and in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Andrew. Old school? You bet. Now, when another hurricane strikes, a whole army of technology will attempt to take his place.

In the early 1990s, the World Wide Web was in its infancy and the Miami Herald and other media companies weren’t online yet. Cellphones weren’t prevalent, and they sure weren’t smart. And social media? Facebook and Twitter weren’t even around for a test drive in the 2004-05 hurricanes.

Today, the experts get the lights back on, the cellphones ringing and the internet connections restored with the help of COWS (Cell on Wheels), drones and other smart technology to pinpoint problems and speed recovery.

...

http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/When-the-Next-Hurricane-Strikes-Much-More-Technology-Will-be-on-Our-Side.html

Many companies boast about having a culture of innovation, but, as Cutter Consortium Fellow Steve Andriole writes, they in fact don’t. Instead of breaking free of their cultural constraints to truly innovate, they continue innovate in the past; that is, toward business models, processes, and technologies that are anchored solidly in the 20th century. To break through and become truly innovative Andriole advises organizations study what the best innovators have done and try to repeat their successes by following the formulas that have worked for the most successful innovators.

So what do the best companies do? How do they make the list of most innovative companies? In The Heart of Innovation: Best Practices from the Best Companies, Andriole offers a list of some of the best practices, especially as they apply to digital transformation:

...

http://blog.cutter.com/2017/08/22/wondering-what-are-the-best-innovation-practices/

Investing in private data centers isn’t as much of a priority for IT organizations as it was just several years back. That’s a takeaway from IT researcher Computer Economics’ annual IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks report, which for 28 years has taken a deep-dive into the financial and strategic management of information technology. For this year’s study, more than 200 IT organizations were surveyed during the first half of 2017.

According to the report, data centers now have the lowest priority for new spending among a list of five categories. Top priority is given to the development of business applications, a category in which 54 percent of respondents plan increased spending. However, only 9 percent have plans to increase data center spending, which the study attributes to increasing reliance on cloud infrastructure, cloud storage, and SaaS, a conclusion borne out by 32 percent of respondents indicating they plan increased spending on network infrastructure.

“As a sign of the data center’s demise as a priority, end-user technology, including PCs and printers, has passed the data center, and for the first time data center is the spending category with the lowest priority,” the report said.

...

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2017/08/22/survey-on-prem-data-centers-lowest-investment-priority-for-it-shops/

If you’re a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Managing day-to-day business operations along with strategy for growth can leave you spent. Adding concern about infrastructure capabilities to your list of to-dos can be overwhelming. Simply put, is time spent worrying about changing infrastructure needs the most productive use of your time?

Utilizing an MSP who specializes in infrastructure as a service can minimize technology spend, provide scalability and agility, and enhance your business offerings. When your business grows, you should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor rather than worry about whether or not your technology can keep up with demand. Trusting your infrastructure needs to a team of experts who are well versed in scalability allows you freedom to focus on growth.

What motivates you to consider trusting an MSP with your infrastructure needs? Most commonly, companies look to an MSP to cut costs, manage capacity, scale solutions, and provide disaster recovery and business continuity.

...

https://continuitycenters.com/use-managed-infrastructure-reach-new-heights/

The Business Continuity Institute

The UK's top firms and charities urgently need to do more to protect themselves from online threats, with 1 in 10 FTSE 350 companies operating without a response plan for a cyber incident, and only 6% of businesses completely prepared for new data protection rules, according to the UK Government's FTSE 350 Cyber Governance Health Check.

Undertaken in the wake of recent high profile cyber attacks, the survey of the UK’s biggest 350 companies found more than two thirds of boards had not received training to deal with a cyber incident (68%) despite more than half saying cyber threats were a top risk to their business (54%).

There has been progress in some areas when compared with last year’s health check, with more than half of company boards now setting out their approach to cyber risks (53% up from 33%) and more than half of businesses having a clear understanding of the impact of a cyber attack (57% up from 49%).

Separate research which looked at cyber security in charities has found that third sector organizations are just as susceptible to cyber attacks as those in the private sector, with many staff not well informed about the topic and awareness and knowledge varying considerably across different charities. Other findings show those in charge of cyber security, especially in smaller charities, are often not proactively seeking information and relying on outsourced IT providers to deal with threats.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: "We have world leading businesses and a thriving charity sector but recent cyber attacks have shown the devastating effects of not getting our approach to cyber security right. These new reports show we have a long way to go until all our organizations are adopting best practice and I urge all senior executives to work with the National Cyber Security Centre and take up the Government’s advice and training. Charities must do better to protect the sensitive data they hold and I encourage them to access a tailored programme of support we are developing alongside the Charity Commission and the National Cyber Security Centre."

Where charities recognised the importance of cyber security, this was often due to holding personal data on donors or service users, or having trustees and staff with private sector experience of the issue. Charities also recognised those responsible for cyber security need new skills and general awareness among staff needs to raise.

Helen Stephenson CBE, Chief Executive at the Charity Commission for England and Wales, said: "Charities have lots of competing priorities but the potential damage of a cyber attack is too serious to ignore. It can result in the loss of funds or sensitive data, affect a charity’s ability to help those in need, and damage its precious reputation. Charities need to do more to educate their staff about this threat and ensure they dedicate enough time and resources to improving cyber security."

The Horizon Scan Report, published by the Business Continuity Institute, showed that it didn't matter whether an organization was private, public or third sector, by and large they will all share the same risks, and the greatest of those being cyber attacks.

In a 2017 survey across six major industries, 51% of executive leadership and IT managers rated ransomware as the biggest security threat to their organizations. Why is this?

A single ransomware attack can halt an organization with sophisticated encryption methods that lock computers and make data inaccessible. When IT departments and business leaders don’t act fast in this scenario, they risk losing sensitive information and assuming a significant reputational impact if news of the breach leaks to the public.

So how does Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) fit into ransomware mitigation? Bluelock has created a white paper on the subject that explains how. With tips to recover from any cybersecurity breach, readers will learn how to manage risk, ensure recovery and—most importantly—establish a strategy to secure data for the future. Read it here.

...

https://www.bluelock.com/blog/resolve-ransomware-draas/

Monday, 21 August 2017 20:44

How Do You Resolve Ransomware with DRaaS?

The Business Continuity Institute

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Business Continuity Institute

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the third piece of our Business Continuity 101 Series, we delve into why organizations invest in business continuity, dispelling common BC misconceptions, and explaining value-based BC investment.

A common point of confusion for new BCM practitioners is the why and how of implementing a business continuity (BC) program. What are, or should be, the drivers for implementation and on-going, continual improvement? Most organizations consider business continuity as a form of insurance or a cost to be minimized. We agree that BC is related to insurance; it is there to ensure that an organization remains whole during an emergency event. We would say that costs associated with BC should be appropriate. There is no reason to overspend on recovery solutions, but it is risky to underspend as well. BC should be implemented as any other function that is not profit generating.

...

https://www.mha-it.com/2017/08/why-organizations-invest-in-business-continuity/

BATON ROUGE, La. — A public-private partnership continues to help Louisiana communities recover from the August 2016 floods and become better prepared for future disasters.

The partnership includes members of the private sector, local and state governments and various federal agencies. Recovery accomplishments include:

  • The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Alliance created a guide of available resources to help families and communities recover from the August 2016 floods. The alliance is a group of philanthropic organizations and state and federal recovery partners.
  • The state created the Louisiana Supply Chain and Transportation Council to make the state’s transportation systems more resilient. The council consists of officials from state and federal agencies, academic institutions and private sector leaders.
  • The state also launched the Louisiana Housing Heroes initiative. This governor-championed initiative identifies landlords, property owners and managers in disaster-designated parishes who agree to make affordable homes, apartments and other housing units available to displaced flood survivors.  
  • Recovery partners continue to meet with communities to help them implement resiliency and recovery strategies.

The partnership’s various federal agencies work with communities to address recovery challenges. Specialists have coordinated with community leaders and recovery partners to find solutions to housing needs, rebuilding the economy and infrastructure, preserving heritage and maximizing resiliency.

Below are the federal agencies consulting with affected communities and what they’re helping with:

  • Community planning and capacity building, FEMA;
  • Economic recovery, U.S. Department of Commerce;
  • Health and social services issues, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development;
  • Infrastructure systems, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and
  • Natural and cultural resources, U.S. Department of Interior.

 

Security incidents within law firms have been growing as a threat because cybercriminals are recognizing the pivotal role firms play in housing sensitive client information for legal proceedings. Because of this, attackers have begun to target the legal industry with unprecedented force. Even the largest and most prestigious firms with best-of-breed cybersecurity solutions are no longer immune to intrusions.

Clients and auditors have recognized this increased attention on the legal industry, and have begun to pressure their law firms for more evidence of protection and recoverability. For example, a recent survey* of the legal industry found that 42% of respondents stated an increase in client concerns about IT operations and data retention, and 51% agreed that audits and regulations are an increasing pressure. Law firms must now provide proof to these constituents of a robust cybersecurity stance.

For this reason, Bluelock now offers a Cyber Threat Health Review, a professional service engagement for law firms seeking to mitigate risk from ransomware and other cyber threats. This review is a low-commitment, high-impact analysis of current data protection technology and policies designed to minimize data loss and operational downtime. It covers the core components of the firm’s threat protection, detection and recovery response strategies.

With over a decade of experience helping clients maintain and protect critical workloads, Bluelock’s expert team reviews existing security practices with a specific focus on how to respond to threats. Organizations that engage in the service receive face-to-face education and practical guidance to increase resilience and protect customer confidence.

The Cyber Threat Health Review process includes the following steps:

  1. Survey and Interviews: Relevant information is collected via surveys and phone interviews
  2. Onsite Education: Our team provides education to staff and executives for best practices
  3. Detailed Analysis: Our team reviews policies and technology for gaps and opportunities
  4. Onsite Delivery of Action Plan: Details risk profiles and action plan from our analysis

For more information, visit https://www.bluelock.com/cyber-health/.

* “2016 IT Disaster Recovery Planning and Preparedness Survey.” ALM and Bluelock, October 2016.

...

https://www.bluelock.com/blog/bluelock-now-offers-cyber-threat-health-review-law-firms/

The Business Continuity Institute

When the United Kingdom exits the European Union, the four freedoms that currently exist will be no more. The free movement of goods, services, capital and people will probably be gone, and more restrictions will be placed on their movements across borders. The free movement of people is the primary reason that many people voted to leave the European Union in the first place.

With mainland Britain, it is relatively easy to be restrictive with what comes in and out of the country as there are no borders with another country so anything or anyone coming in or out is funnelled through a specific location – airport, port or station. In Northern Ireland however, which obviously will exit the EU, the situation is slightly more problematic as the country shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland stretching over 300 miles (or 500 kilometres depending on what side of the border you are on).

There are now many different possibilities for what could happen to this border in a post-Brexit world, and these range from the status quo with people free to cross without any restriction, to a hard border with checkpoints at all the crossings, although building a wall might be a little bit extreme. With the former, this undermines the whole point of Brexit which was to end the free movement of people between the EU and the UK, and so prevent too many people from entering the UK. With the latter, it will undermine the peace process brought about by the Good Friday Agreement that sought to remove border infrastructure and checkpoints that were symbolic of threat of violence that existed during The Troubles.

A middle option that has been suggested is a soft border between the north and the south, but a hard sea border. This would effectively keep Northern Ireland within the EU, but out of the UK, so is not likely to be a preferred option for any Unionists who will see this as a stepping stone toward reunification with the south.

A hard border between the north and the south may not be an issue for big businesses who I'm sure will find an adequate solution regardless of the outcome. The issue will mostly be with the small businesses situated near the border that rely on trade with the other side of the border – a local market in which the border, for now, is an irrelevance. Figures suggested that 80% of trade across the Irish border is carried out between SMEs.

Organizations on both sides of the border need to consider how the different options would affect them and then consider what measures they could put in place to lessen the impact. Organizations need to monitor the negotiations closely to see how the potential for disruption is developing to ensure that they are ready to face any challenges that come their way.

Of course it is also worth noting that this is not just an issue for the Irish border, it will also become an issue at the border between Spain and Gibraltar where people routinely cross on a daily to trade or work on the other side of the border. Arguably it will be more problematic in this situation as tensions are slightly greater between the two countries on either side of the border.

So what steps has your organization taken to prepare itself for Brexit?

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 15:39

BCI: Controlling the Irish border after Brexit

The Business Continuity Institute

Such is the high calibre of the Business Continuity Institute’s research output, that its latest publication – the 2017 Cyber Resilience Report – is to be used as part of the teaching programme by Cranfield University, the UK’s only exclusively postgraduate university, and a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

The BCI’s Cyber Resilience Report, a study of the cause and consequence of cyber disruptions affecting organizations across the globe, will be used as part of the teaching programme for the MSc in Cyber Defence and Information Assurance. The report will form the basis of in-class and online discussions as part of the degree’s focus on real-life issues.

Dr Ruth Massie MBCI, Programme Director for the Cyber Masters Programme and long standing Member of the BCI, said: “It’s important that students get the opportunity to understand not just the causes of cyber related interruptions but the size and scale of the consequences. This report gives students the opportunity to understand and discuss these issues in a leadership context.”

“This is an encouraging demonstration of the high regard with which our research is held,” said Deborah Higgins FBCI, Head of Professional Development at the BCI. “We know that people working in the industry value our research, but to have it featured within the teaching programme of such a prestigious university as Cranfield helps reaffirm our status as a thought leader in the field.”

Cranfield’s MSc in Cyber Defence and Information Assurance is designed to develop professionals who can effectively manage and exploit the threats and opportunities of cyberspace at the organizational level. The course specifically focuses on responses to serious present and emerging threats in the information domain, and is aimed at mid-career professionals who need a broad understanding of cyber leadership.

The Business Continuity Institute

The importance of managing internal threats to win at cyber security has been emphasised in a study by Haystax Technology and SANS which found that 40% of respondents to their survey rated malicious insiders (insiders who intentionally do harm) as the most damaging threat vector their companies faced.

Furthermore, Defending Against the Wrong Enemy: 2017 SANS Insider Threat Survey revealed that nearly half (49%) 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. A third of survey respondents (34%) have these tools and technology, but have not used them operationally and more than a third (38%) of survey respondents are in the process of re-evaluating internally to better identifying malicious insiders.

"It is misleading to see that 60% of respondents said they had not experienced an insider attack," said SANS instructor and survey report author, Eric Cole, PhD. "The rest of our data indicates that organizations still are not effective at detecting insider threats, so it's clear that most either didn't notice threats or attacks, or didn't realize those incidents involved malicious insiders, or outsiders using compromised insider credentials."

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.” – Liam Neeson, Taken, 2008

 

The last few months have seen two serious and destructive “ransomware” attacks that significantly affected the operations of several major organizations worldwide. May’s “Wannacry” and June’s “NotPetya” attack affected millions of staff and caused significant damage – as was their intention.

Ransomware costs for 2017 are estimated in the billions, with a “B”. Not to mention the danger posed by critical systems being down at organizations such as health systems and nuclear power plants.

The attacks are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated with each incident. We will never be able to stop the criminals from striking, so it is imperative that we use all the skills at our disposal to thwart them. What can we do?

...

http://www.bcinthecloud.com/2017/08/dont-be-a-victim-of-ransomware-detect-protect-and-recover/

The Business Continuity Institute

Organizations are now less confident in their ability to recover from an incident, according to a new study conducted by Databarracks, which suggests that contributing factors include a lack of testing, budgetary constraints and the growing cyber threat landscape.

The Data Health Check report found that almost one in five organizations surveyed (18%) "had concerns" or were "not confident at all" in their disaster recovery plan; an increase from 11% in 2015 and 15% in 2016. Organizations are increasingly making changes to their cyber security policies in response to recent cyber threats (36 per cent this year, up from 33% last year), yet only a quarter (25%) have seen their IT security budgets increased. Small businesses are particularly affected with just 7% seeing IT security budgets increase. 

Financial constraints (34%), technology (24%) and lack of time (22%) are the top restrictions when trying to improve recovery speed. Fewer organizations have tested their disaster recovery plans over the past 12 months – 46% of respondents had not tested in 2017, up from 42% in 2016.

Peter Groucutt, managing director of Databarracks, commented on the results: "It isn't surprising that confidence in disaster recovery (DR) plans is falling. We have seen major IT incidents in the news regularly over the last 12 months, which has raised awareness of IT downtime and we have seen what can go wrong if recovery plans aren't effective.

"What is surprising is that fewer businesses are testing their DR plans. The number of businesses testing their DR plans increased from 2015 to 2016 but has fallen this year. We know that testing and exercising of plans is the best way to improve confidence in your ability to recover. The test itself may not be perfect, few if any are and there are always lessons to be learned. Working through those recovery steps, however, is the best way to improve your preparedness and organizational confidence.

Validation is one of the six main stages of the BCM Lifecycle according to the Business Continuity Institute's Good Practice Guidelines, and is essential for ensuring an effective business continuity, and by extension - disaster recovery, programme. By regularly exercising your programme, you can find out where any vulnerabilities are and make improvements, and you can help ensure that people know what is expected of them.

The Business Continuity Institute

6 in 10 organizations view their employees as the biggest threat to successful GDPR adherence and 4 in 10 believe that their current IT systems could also pose compliance risks, according to a GDPR awareness survey conducted by bluesource. The study also highlighted that, even though half (50%) are taking steps to prepare for GDPR compliance, nearly a third (30%) still believe that the regulations won’t affect them, and a fifth (20%) are not sure what to do next.

Over 80% of respondents stated that, with the deadline for GDPR compliance rapidly approaching, they are facing a major challenge, including increased security and governance around cloud environments such as Office 365 and shadow IT. 80% of those surveyed felt that big tech vendors have a responsibility to ensure that their own systems will meet GDPR regulations, as well as those of their customers, but are unsure how this will be achieved.

The increased financial impact of fines and the expected frequency of their enforcement, is a major concern for most surveyed. An overwhelming 90% indicated that a non-compliance fine would result in huge reputational damage for their organization and a loss of trust from customers, suppliers and staff.

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.

On a more positive note, 45% of those surveyed have already nominated a member of a specific departmental function, including legal, compliance and IT security, to be solely dedicated to privacy and GDPR initiatives. However, 20% haven’t considered selecting a nominated person yet and 35% believe that finding a suitably qualified and experienced individual will be a challenge.

Sean Hanford, information governance consultant at bluesource, commented: " Our research across UK organizations indicates that there still remains a gap between GDPR awareness and action. There must be a swift attitude change towards data protection and staff clearly require better skills, so they become more data savvy."

The Business Continuity Institute

When a major flood event occurs it is often attributed to climate change, however, a single event is not proof, and so far it has been unclear whether climate change has a direct influence on large scale river flooding across Europe. A study conducted by TU Wien along with 30 European partners has now shown that the timing of the floods has shifted across much of Europe.

The study, led by Prof. Guenter Bloeschl from the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management at TU Wien, showed that climate change has had a real impact on flood events in some regions, and this has been seen by a shift in the timing of floods over the years, dramatically in some areas. Depending on the cause of the flood events, they occur earlier in some regions, and later in others.

"In flood research, we are often concerned with the annual probability of the occurrence of floods," says Prof Guenter Bloeschl from TU Wien. "By observing their magnitudes one can estimate a one hundred-year flood as a high-water event that occurs with a probability of 1% in any one year. If one only examines the magnitude of flood events, the role of the climate can be masked by other effects. Land use change by urbanisation, intensifying agriculture and deforestations are other factors affecting flood events."

In order to understand the connection between climate and floods, Bloeschl and his team looked closely at the timing of the flood events in different regions of Europe. "The timing of a flood provides information about its likely cause," says Bloeschl. For example, in much of north-west Europe and the Mediterranean, floods occur more frequently in the winter, when evaporation is low and precipitation is intense. In Austria, on the other hand, the highest magnitude floods are associated with summer downpours. In north-eastern Europe, the risk of flooding is at its highest in spring because of snow melt. The timing at which floods occur is thus much more directly related to the climate, in contrast with the absolute magnitude of the flood event.

Flood data from all over Europe have been meticulously compiled, screened and statistically analysed. These show that the floods in Europe have indeed shifted considerably over the last 50 years: "In the north-east of Europe, Sweden, Finland and the Baltic States, floods now tend to occur one month earlier than in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, they typically occurred in April, today in March," says Guenter Bloeschl. "This is because the snow melts earlier in the year than before, as a result of a warming climate."

In parts of northern Britain, western Ireland, coastal Scandinavia and northern Germany, on the other hand, floods now tend to occur about two weeks later than they did a couple of decades ago. Later winter storms are likely to be associated with a modified air pressure gradient between the equator and the pole, which may also reflect climate warming. The study sheds light on the complexity of flood processes in north-western Europe; on the Atlantic coasts of western Europe, 'winter' floods in fact typically occur earlier, in the autumn, as maximum soil moisture levels are now reached earlier in the year. In parts of the Mediterranean coast, flood events occurring later in the season are aligned with the warming of the Mediterranean.

"The timing of the floods throughout Europe over many years gives us a very sensitive tool for deciphering the causes of floods," says Guenter Bloeschl. "We are thus able to identify connections that previously were purely speculative."

Adverse weather, which can lead to the conditions that can cause flooding, 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.

The growing average age of populations is not always a burden on society, it can be a rewarding opportunity to enrich communities and our world as a whole. Increasingly, governments and local authorities are seizing the gift of longevity to imagine social infrastructure differently – and new areas of standardization are in the pipeline ready to help.

We are not getting any younger and neither is the worldʼs population. The number of older people has exploded in recent years and we are approaching an era where words like “aged societies” are becoming a reality. In fact, by 2050 it is expected that many countries will be classed as “super-aged societies”, meaning that more than 21 % of the population is over 65; and by 2030, the number of people in the world aged 60 years and above will have grown by 56 %).

Adapting to this trend poses economic, social and political challenges and may increase the dependency of older citizens on those of working age. This regularly conjures up doomsday scenarios of workforce shortages, the financial collapse of pension and health systems, mass loneliness and insecurity.

...

https://www.iso.org/news/Ref2170.htm

Thursday, 10 August 2017 15:15

How to adapt to ageing societies

The Business Continuity Institute

More than one-third of businesses have experienced a ransomware attack in the last year, and more than one in five (22%) of these impacted businesses had to cease operations immediately, according to a study by Malwarebytes.

The Annual State of Ransomware Report found that the impact of ransomware on SMEs can be devastating. For roughly one in six impacted organizations, a ransomware infection caused 25 or more hours of downtime, with some organizations reporting that it caused systems to be down for more than 100 hours. Further, among SMEs that experienced a ransomware attack, one in five (22%) reported that they had to cease business operations immediately, and 15% lost revenue.

“Businesses of all sizes are increasingly at risk for ransomware attacks,” said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO, Malwarebytes. “However, the stakes of a single attack for a small business are far different from the stakes of a single attack for a large enterprise. Osterman’s findings demonstrate that SMEs are suffering in the wake of attacks, to the point where they must cease business operations. To make matters worse, most of them lack the confidence in their ability to stop an attack, despite significant investments in defensive technologies. To be effective, the security community must thoroughly understand the battles that these companies are facing, so we can better protect them.”

Most organizations make addressing ransomware a high priority, but still lack confidence in their ability to deal with it. 75% of organizations surveyed place a high or very high priority on addressing the ransomware problem. Despite these investments, nearly one-half of the organizations surveyed expressed little to only moderate confidence in their ability to stop a ransomware attack.

For many, the source of ransomware is unknown and infections spread quickly. For 27% of organizations that suffered a ransomware infection, decision makers could not identify how the endpoint(s) became infected. Further, more than one-third of ransomware infections spread to other devices. For 2% of organizations surveyed, the ransomware infection impacted every device on the network.

SMEs in the US are being hit harder than SMEs in Europe by malicious emails containing ransomware. The most common source of ransomware infections in US-based organizations was related to email use. 37% of attacks on SMEs in the U.S. were reported as coming from a malicious email attachment and 27% were from a malicious link in an email. However, in Europe, only 22% of attacks were reported as coming from a malicious email attachment. An equal number were reported as coming from malicious link in an email.

Most SMEs do not believe in paying ransomware demands. 72% of respondents believe that ransomware demands should never be paid. Most of the remaining organizations believe that demands should only be paid if the encrypted data is of value to the organization. Among organizations that chose not to pay cyber criminals’ ransom demands, about one-third lost files as a result.

Current investments in technology might not be enough. Over one-third of SMEs claim to have been running anti-ransomware technologies, while about one-third of businesses surveyed still experienced a ransomware attack.

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.

“It’s clear from these findings that there is widespread awareness of the threat of ransomware among businesses, but many are not yet confident in their ability to deal with it,” said Adam Kujawa, Director of Malware Intelligence, Malwarebytes. “Companies of all sizes need to remain vigilant and continue to place a higher priority on protecting themselves against ransomware.”

Connectivity in the pockets of first responders and mobile team members

By Glen Denny, Baron Services, Inc.

One of the biggest challenges in weather forecasting has always been alerting people who are away from home of severe weather threats. The radio was for years the primary viable method of doing so, but a radio can only give listeners so much pertinent information, such as county-wide watches and warnings. This kind of information can be helpful to some degree for people who find themselves out and about when weather hits, as it can be used as a basic indicator of danger and the need for mobile listeners to find shelter in a safe place. However, there are numerous shortcomings to radio-delivered weather reporting. Radio’s main shortcoming, which is responsible for all of the missing links in radio-delivered weather, is the medium of the radio itself. Radio is a purely aural medium, for one. Radar, one of the most essential weather data tools, is practically irrelevant to the medium of radio, as radar obviously offers a purely visual delivery of weather data. Radio is also a non-specific medium. Via radio, a set amount and set kind of weather information is broadcast to a wide-ranging listening area. The amount and kind of information cannot be customized or altered in any way to fit the specific interests or needs of listeners located within a specific region of the listening area of the station.

The Mobile Solution to Weather

The solution to the problem of effective on-the-go weather forecasting came with the advent of smart phones and mobile radar apps. Smart phones are now a near ubiquitous technology in the United States (and most of the rest of the world, too), so the majority of people in the present day who find themselves out and on the go during a time when they need weather information can access that information on their smart phone. AccuWeather, the Weather Channel, and other weather data providers all have their own mobile apps which people can download and use to this end.

However, the current mobile weather application landscape is still not 100% effective. Weather apps like those provided by The Weather Channel and AccuWeather offer extensive data and radar, but, like most weather apps, they still mostly deliver non-specific, commodity data. Apps such as these can give the user a 10-day forecast, current radar and projected radar of their surrounding area, and of course, can send the user notifications of National Weather Service (NWS) watches and warnings as they occur. This kind of information is mostly sufficient for general users. However, users in areas of frequent inclement weather, or professional users involved in emergency response or planning for schools, hospitals, businesses, and governments will find this kind of limited weather data lacking for their purposes.

A New Class of Mobile Monitoring

Baron1A new generation of advanced weather apps, such as Baron’s Threat Net mobile app, are the kind of product these kinds of users need to do their jobs well and to keep safe. Apps in this new generation are focused on providing hyper-local, one-to-one critical weather intelligence to advanced users and lay-users alike. Baron’s Threat Net Mobile app, for example, features detailed data and visual monitoring on precipitation and forecasted road conditions and hazards, (a Baron-exclusive product featuring advanced data on severe weather threats such as damaging winds, hail, and flooding), a monitoring system that displays real-time cloud-to-ground lightning strikes at street level, and storm vectors enabling accurate storm tracking up to an hour in advance. These and other similarly advanced weather monitoring products have more value than commodity weather data in that they are in-depth, specific, and customizable. A good example of this is another feature of Baron’s Threat Net Mobile app called Critical Weather Indicators. This Baron exclusive product highlights to users in real-time the most dangerous storm situations near their location, effectively warning users of possible severe weather threats before they happen. The alerts from the NWS, while certainly valuable to many people, don’t work in this way. NWS alerts are aimed at the widest possible audience in order to ensure the safety of as many people as possible during inclement weather. Apps like Baron’s, however, are aimed at each individual’s safety and efficacy in keeping others in their area safe. For example, Baron’s mobile alerts will notify users who are in the actual path of a storm of its imminent arrival, will warn users of nearby lighting strikes, and could point out the possible flooding of a nearby river based on projected rainfall. Because these alerts are based on algorithms and aren’t required to be approved by at the NWS, they arrive well before the storm or other threat has, which is a feature commodity weather apps lack.

If we revisit the mediums of radio and commodity weather apps discussed earlier, we can see how large an advantage these advanced weather apps have on any other method of delivering weather data to people on the go. Imagine a severe storm is approaching a town. A mobile user in this town away from home using a radio to monitor the weather will not have much of an idea where a nearby severe storm is in relation to her exact location, and as a result will be able to do little in terms of creating a specific plan. A commodity mobile app user will be able to see where the storm currently is and where it might be in an hour, but she will have to pick herself out on the map (which likely displays a large area) and project the storm’s long-term path herself, planning accordingly based on this information. A user who has an advanced app, like Baron Threat Net mobile, will be notified of the storm in advance if it is heading towards and projected to hit her exact location. This user can also learn what kind of specific threats this imminent storm may bring to her exact location, such as high winds, hail, heavy rain, or a possible tornado (determined by Baron’s Critical Weather Indicators).

Advanced Apps are Perfect for Public Safety

The above description shows how much more pertinent information can be delivered via an advanced mobile app compared to other methods, which is what makes these advanced apps so appropriate for both professionals and laypeople, and also so appropriate for use by organizations such as schools, hospitals, businesses, and governments. Schools, for instance, could benefit largely from an advanced mobile app like Baron’s in many situations. If weather hits while students are being transported to an event off campus or even simply being brought home in the afternoon, having each bus equipped with an advanced mobile app could aid in coordination with the schools’ center of operations, and could allow school staff on the busses to make the right decisions to ensure the safety of the students being transported. Hospitals could use such apps in a similar way. A hospital operation center could, in times of severe weather, rely on its individual mobile employees, such as individuals driving ambulances or helicopters, to make decisions best for them and their patients while in the field during critical weather situations. For businesses and local governments, the same idea applies. The mobile parts of these organizations, if equipped with advanced weather apps like Baron’s, could be more reliably responsible for their own safety during severe weather, taking some of the burden off of their home bases, and most importantly, keeping themselves out of dangerous situations.

Advanced mobile apps like Baron Threat Net mobile are clearly the most effective medium through which to deliver important weather information in critical situations, because the data delivered via these apps is specific, hyper-local, in depth, and customizable. All of these characteristics added up equate to mobile apps which can be useful to anyone, and can be especially useful to professional users involved in public safety, such as in hospitals, schools, local governments, and businesses.

The Business Continuity Institute

Nearly all (96%) of small to medium-sized enterprises (100 to 499 employees) in the US, UK, and Australia believe their organizations will be susceptible to external cyber security threats in 2017, according to a study by Webroot. Yet, although businesses recognise the growing threats, 71% still admit not being ready to address them.

Cyber Threats to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses in 2017 showed that IT decision makers (ITDMs) at small to medium-sized businesses are most worried about new forms of malware infections (56%), mobile attacks (48%), and phishing attacks (47%). ITDMs estimate a cyber attack in which their customer records or critical business data were lost would cost an average of $579,099 in the US, £737,677 in the UK, and AU$1,893,363 in Australia.

Nearly two-thirds of ITDMs believe it would be more difficult to restore their company’s public image than to restore employee trust and morale.

Addressing the growing threat, 94% of ITDMs plan to increase their annual IT security budget in 2017, compared to 2016.

Businesses currently manage IT security in various ways. One-fifth of businesses have in-house employees whose responsibilities include IT security. 37% use a mix of in-house and outsourced IT security support, while only 23% have a dedicated in-house IT security professional or team.

The current cyber security landscape and lack of preparedness of small- to medium-sized businesses represent a big opportunity for managed security providers (MSPs). Among businesses who do not currently outsource IT security support, 80% will likely use a third-party cyber security provider in 2017.

Charlie Tomeo, Vice President of Worldwide Business Sales at Webroot, commented; “This study illustrates the general lack of preparedness for security around the globe. Small to medium-sized businesses face just as many threats as larger ones, but are often at a disadvantage because of their lack of resources. Given the recent spate of ransomware attacks, it is crucial for these companies to shore up their security and lean on the expertise of an MSP for a solution to combat threats from multiple vectors.”

Climate Report

After 9/11, I was asked by the Baltimore City Health Commissioner to help prepare the city for a radiation terrorism event, because my entire career up until that point had been in radiation-based medical imaging. I didn’t know anything about public health preparedness at the time, but I found it very fulfilling to work with the city health department and other first responders, especially fire and police. Public health preparedness science and research is more than multi-disciplinary, it’s trans-disciplinary, which is what makes it fun.

Master the Vocabulary

Connecting behavioral and social science

The Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness has a particular interest in the mental and behavioral health challenges that people, organizations, and jurisdictions face during and after disasters. If you look at the disaster literature you will see references to dysfunction, which can be caused by either physical or psychological trauma. After a disaster, the number of people with psychological trauma exceeds the number of people with physical injury by as much as 40 to 1, but there is much more research and emergency response focus on the physical effects of a disaster rather than the psychosocial effects. Our interest and expertise in the behavioral science of disasters was the main reason that CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response asked us to work on an innovative model and index to measure resilience in the United States.

Understanding resilience in disasters

You can think about resilience on two levels – on the individual level and at the community level. For individuals, we are interested in three things: psychological resistance before a disaster, resilience during a disaster, and recovery after the disaster. Resilience at this level reflects the ability of someone to spring back after experiencing trauma from a disaster. We think about community resilience like an ecosystem. In any ecosystem there is a minimum requirement for the system to successfully function and survive. The same is true for a community. So when we think about community resilience, we must not only think about the ability of a community to return to its pre-event level of functioning, but also assess how that community is working at its lowest point after a disaster and determine if that is a level where it can still function successfully – or even at all.

Modeling resilience

Example of COPEWELL model output showing overall pre-disaster resilience for all US counties.
Example of COPEWELL model output showing overall pre-disaster resilience for all US counties.

We approached our colleagues at the University of Delaware Disaster Research Center, who are experts in the sociological factors in disasters that lead to emergent collective behavior. This phenomenon refers to a group of every-day people coming together to aid the formal emergency response. The COPEWELL (“Composite of Post-Event Well-Being”) project was born out of this collaboration between experts in the psychological and sociological impacts of disasters on individuals and communities, along with experts in engineering, modeling, public health and healthcare, and other domains.

We realized that a static model with a single score for resilience would not capture the way a system changes over time and the many interrelated parts that make up a community. We came up with a system dynamics model, which allowed us to input different factors that characterize a community, including housing, communication, healthcare, and transportation. We then throw a disaster at the model and see how the community responds. Depending on the type of natural disaster or public health emergency, how a community functions plays out differently over time. For example, a pandemic usually builds slowly and reaches a peak before gradually decreasing, while a severe weather event spikes quickly and exponentially decreases. Different communities have different inherent characteristics that determine how well they can resist the negative effects of an event and how quickly they can recover. What is unique about COPEWELL is that it is a whole community model, not just a public health model, and looks at how the community functions over time, which allows you to derive a measure of resilience.

Putting the data to work

The COPEWELL model has been used to predict resilience after a disaster in all 3,100+ counties in the United States. We’ve also explored using the model at a more granular level, including at the neighborhood level in New York City. Experts are working on a web-based platform for the model that stakeholders such as government leaders and public health officials can use in their communities.

In addition to supporting the project, CDC has provided technical assistance and expertise to translate and apply the model in practice. Once more fully validated, the results from the model can be used to help identify and evaluate interventions to improve community resilience and accelerate recovery after a disaster.

Learn more

Posted on by Jon Links, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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

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

 

By ERIK POUNDS

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.

fig1

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.

fig2

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

fig3

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.

fig4

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.

fig5

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

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.”

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

 

PROFILE 

Organization: Dallas Area Rapid Transit 

Industry: Regional transit agency 

Location: Dallas, Texas, USA 

Size: Serves more than 220,000 passengers per day

 

Needs

  • 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 

 

Solutions:

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.

 

ABOUT STORSERVER 

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?

...

https://www.mha-it.com/2017/08/what-is-business-continuity/

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.

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.

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.”

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."

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. 

...

http://perspectives.avalution.com/2017/introducing-our-information-security-practice/

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.

...

https://www.alertmedia.com/4-ways-location-improves-your-emergency-communication-plan/

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.

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.”

...

http://www.strategicbcp.com/blog/resilienceone-4x-leader-gartner-magic-quadrant-bcmp-software-solutions/

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

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.

  
 
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.

 

 

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

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https://blog.barracuda.com/2017/07/19/data-recovery-in-the-age-of-ransomware/

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.

Ransomware

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 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

Staff

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.

Materials/Inputs

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.

Machinery

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.

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.”

...

http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/resilient-daryl-brewster-problem-short-termism/

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.

The Business Continuity Institute

Photograph courtesy of Frank Schwichtenberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 07 July 2017 14:52

BCI: When the circus comes to town

The Business Continuity Institute

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

The Business Continuity Institute

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.”

The Business Continuity Institute

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.”

The Business Continuity Institute

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.

The Business Continuity Institute

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.

WHY THE MEDIA?

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.

...

http://www.missionmode.com/media-policies-and-procedures-for-business-continuity-managers/

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.

...

http://www.missionmode.com/how-to-prevent-cyber-crime-in-your-organization/

The Business Continuity Institute

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.

The Business Continuity Institute

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."

The Business Continuity Institute

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

https://blog.sungardas.com/2017/06/whats-the-milk-bread-and-eggs-of-your-disaster-recovery-plan/

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.

...

http://perspectives.avalution.com/2017/understanding-the-business-continuity-and-it-disaster-recovery-gap/

The Business Continuity Institute

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.

...

http://www.opscentre.com/business-continuity-jargon/

The Business Continuity Institute

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."

The Business Continuity Institute

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.

The Business Continuity Institute

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.

The Business Continuity Institute

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

https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2017/06/keep-pets-safe-in-an-emergency/

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:
800-827-8112
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.

The Business Continuity Institute

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.” 

Background

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.

...

https://www.iwco.com/blog/2017/06/07/print-outsourcing-mail-gard/

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.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/it-unmasked/veritas-simplifies-data-migrations-to-the-cloud.html

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.

By WILL URBAN

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.

https://www.dcig.com/2017/06/ransomware-detection-event-based-backup-scheduling-lead-acronis-125-feature-parade.html

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?

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https://www.alertmedia.com/ways-interactive-maps-improve-emergency-alert-systems

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.

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http://blogs.forrester.com/andrew_bartels/17-05-22-where_is_artificial_intelligence_in_forresters_tech_market_numbers_its_hiding

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.

...

http://blogs.forrester.com/chase_cunningham/17-05-22-prepare_for_increasing_frequency_of_nation_state_cyberattacks_with_strategy_not_technology

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.

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.”

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http://www.missionmode.com/business-continuity-awareness-week-2017-addresses-cyber-security/

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?

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http://www.polygongroup.com/resources/flood-preparation-planning/

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