Will Businesses Survive The Surge In Cyber Threats And Natural Disasters?

One of the biggest stories last year was the rise in both the frequency and impact of digital and natural disasters. Cyber attacks like the WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware crippled organizations across the world. Hurricanes devastated the Caribbean, Florida and Texas. Wildfires burned in California, Washington and Oregon. And if predictions are right, it’s only going to get worse. Last year was one of the costliest for natural disasters ever. Hurricane Irma resulted in the closure of hundreds of Florida businesses, from amusement parks to cruises, and cost them $83 billion in property damage and lost revenue. Tropical Storm Harvey, which hamstrung Houston for weeks, could cost as much as $190 billion. Cyber attacks can be as disruptive and expensive as natural disasters. Some estimates predicted the cost of ransomware attacks in 2017 alone would exceed $5 billion. Cyber Threats vs. Natural Disasters The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently ranked the “Global Risks of Highest Concern for Doing Business” as part of its Global Risks Report 2018. Cyber attacks rank at number 8, while extreme weather events and natural catastrophes come in at 18 and 19, respectively. Extreme weather events and natural disasters were both more likely and more impactful than cyber attacks, but all three rank among the most likely and most destructive events. When you ask the IT and security professionals themselves, their priorities are clear. According to a Qualtrics survey of 375 business leaders on disaster recovery (DR), 74 percent said they consider a data breach, hack or cyber attack a greater business risk than a natural disaster. Ranking their concerns, 34 percent listed cyber attacks as their top concern (and 55 percent listed it as one of their top three concerns). Cyber disasters are quickly becoming the 21 st century disaster. But while cyber threats keep them up at night, more experienced a natural disaster (23 percent) than a cyber attack (19 Continue Reading

Northwest Harris County businesses continue post-Harvey rebuilding in 2018

By Mayra Cruz, [email protected] Updated 11:43 am, Thursday, January 11, 2018 Now Playing: FOX 26 News Reporter Randy Wallace Media: Fox 26 Houston As both residents and business owners are rebuilding from the flooding due to Hurricane Harvey, 2018 is shaping up to be a year of bouncing back in northwest Harris County. "If you have a strong community, business will do very well," said Myeshi Briley, president of the Spring-Klein Chamber of Commerce. Since the storm hit, Briley said she is working toward tracking the progress of businesses in Spring and Klein, but ultimately hopes to strengthen ties in community by reaching out to business owners whether they were chamber members or not. "It's in a recovery state. With recovery, it takes a few months for you to truly see a snapshot of what everything looks like," she said. While the debris and trash were picked up fairly quickly after the storm, Briley said other efforts by county officials have to happen to prevent businesses from closing. "I'm pretty sure zoning is going to change," she said. "That's going to have to be looked at." window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-9', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 9', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Mayra Cruz Image 1of/9 CaptionClose Image 1 of 9 Gringo's Mexican Kitchen in Spring reopened in December after extensive renovations from being closed due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The painted line on the inside of the doorway entrance indicates how high the water reached. Continue Reading

Readers sound off on expanded gambling, the Red Cross and Sandy recovery

Gaming is a sound investment Washington: In his Nov. 25 opinion piece, “Gambling away our cities,” Richard Florida cites the faulty works of anti-gambling activists to unfairly pillory the gaming industry. If Mr. Florida doesn’t want to see casinos in New York, he should simply say so, rather than compiling a list of outdated and universally debunked myths. Gaming accounts for hundreds of thousands of stable, good-paying jobs and creates opportunities for tens of thousands of local businesses across the country. In a recent survey of community leaders in areas with casinos, 83% said that the overall impact of casinos has been positive, and 88% said that the problems opponents claimed would happen never occurred. Studies show that as casinos have expanded, pathological gambling among adults has remained steady at 1%, with the vast majority gambling responsibly. Mr. Florida can keep looking for supposed social ills and costs, but these are the facts, in plain sight for everyone to see. Frank Fahrenkopf, president & CEO, American Gaming Association Red flags Aurora, Colo.: While Gov. Cuomo asks the federal government for help, I hope someone is auditing the Red Cross to see what happened to the $150 million donated for Sandy victims. Its administrative costs, are higher than other charities. Vivian Taylor Restoring memories Oceanside, L.I.: I, like many, have had my home and its contents damaged by Sandy. Repairs have been made, and cleanup is ongoing. One of the most heartbreaking things for my wife and me was to find our wedding album from some 44 years ago under water. As mold started to grow on the pictures, we lost hope of recovering them. Then I saw your article about an organization that will restore photos for free. I have to praise Lee Kelly and her organization, CareforSandy.org, for their efforts to ease some of the pain we are going through. Al Fabiano Urgent care needed Manhattan: Rep. Gregory Meeks and Continue Reading

Analysis: Destruction from Harvey could dispel myths and lies about Sandy recovery package

Even as rescues continue in Texas from Hurricane Harvey's record flooding, Washington has begun to talk about how much extra it will spend on disaster recovery, and how fast to approve it.And if the disaster package is as big as some suggest — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that Hurricane Katrina got $125 billion and Harvey should get more  — it should lay to rest some of the criticism in 2013 that followed the response to Superstorm Sandy.Harvey's damage, like the flooding last year that devastated Louisiana, has once again led to explanations, some of them downright false, from Gulf Coast members of Congress who overwhelmingly voted against the Sandy package.The Sandy package included two bills: $9.7 billion to bail out the National Flood Insurance Program, which did not have enough reserves to pay the claims of homeowners who had paid their premiums to the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and $50 billion for emergency response and recovery efforts, most of it for New York and New Jersey.In several appearances this week, Gov. Chris Christie has aggressively defended Sandy aid, blasted the more than 60 days it took to approve it, and called Texas critics hypocrites. He was especially harsh after Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, his rival for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said on CNN and MSNBC that two-thirds of the spending had nothing to do with Sandy."It became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork," Cruz said on MSNBC on Monday. "It's not right for politicians to exploit a disaster and people who are hurting to pay for their own political wish list.""What was wrong was for Ted Cruz to exploit the disaster for political gain," Christie responded on MSNBC Tuesday night. He argued Cruz and others used Sandy victims to bolster their credentials as fiscal conservatives."The fact of the matter is that it is an absolute falsehood, that Continue Reading

La. lawmakers will seek more flood recovery money

WASHINGTON — Louisiana lawmakers plan to push for more federal aid to speed flood recovery efforts when they return to Congress next week.Congressional, state and local officials are still assessing damage from last month’s flooding that killed 13 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses. But congressional lawmakers say they're working on legislation and met Monday with Gov. John Bel Edwards to discuss early needs.“It’s going to require a tailored response," said Republican Rep. Garret Graves, whose district includes hard-hit Baton Rouge. “The needs are pretty extraordinary."With less than five weeks before Congress breaks for elections, Louisiana lawmakers vow to step up pressure to get colleagues to act.“I certainly appreciate that this (effort) is going to have some challenges associated with it just because of the schedule, elections and everything else," said Graves. “But I’ll tell you there’s no doubt that these funds are needed yesterday."Graves said the legislative wish-list will likely include Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery aid. Lawmakers also hope to create a task force of state, federal and local officials to coordinate and track recovery efforts.To bolster their case, Louisiana members of Congress will invite colleagues in key positions to tour damaged communities. Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, who chairs a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency, toured Monday with Graves. California Rep. Maxine Waters, top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, visited last Friday.“You can’t understand the gravity of this unless you see it," Graves said.Last week, Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond, who also represents parts of Baton Continue Reading

UPDATED: Trump OKs disaster relief as residents return home

Update 6:15 a.m. WednesdayLake Oroville dropped a few more feet overnight as officials continue to pump water out of the reservoir to relieve pressure on a damaged emergency spillway.Nearly 100,000 cubic feet of water per second is moving out of the dam, more than triple the water flowing into the lake from recent storm runoff, according to California Department of Water Resources. The lake is down about 21 feet from the emergency spillway.The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for Oroville through 3 p.m.Saturday. Rain should move into the area tonight, with up to a half possible overnight and three-quarters of an inch during the day Thursday. Rain is in Oroville's forecast through at least Tuesday.Original storyPresident Donald Trump declared a federal disaster late Tuesday for areas affected by a potential collapse in a spillway that holds back Lake Oroville, California’s second-largest reservoir, even as authorities told 188,000 evacuated downstream residents they could go home.The president’s order covers Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It authorizes FEMA to coordinate relief efforts and opens up federal emergency aid to state, tribal and local agencies.As residents slowly returned to the evacuated communities of Oroville, Yuba City and others along the Feather River on Tuesday, many expressed deep wariness about the situation. They remained under an evacuation “warning,” and Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said they should be ready to pick up and leave again if the situation deteriorates.Upstream from them at the nation’s tallest dam, crews continued what a state Department of Water Resources executive called 24/7 efforts to shore up the erosion that had led them to fear a total collapse of the emergency spillway. Caravans of trucks brought large rocks while helicopters ferried them into position and dropped them into the crevasse.The lake level continued Continue Reading

Easing quake’s pain by aiding town; personal aftershocks continue even a year later

Although it took place more than 1,500 miles away, the January, 2010 Haiti earthquake rocked New York City to its core. For the members of the city's large Haitian- American community, the personal aftershocks continue, even a year later. But the Community2Community organization's "Haiti Restoration and Transformation Project" is one of the efforts helping this pain by improving the plight of quake survivors. To fund this effort, the C2C will hold the "Hope and a Future: Benefit Concert for Haiti" at the Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th St. between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Frederick Douglass Blvds. in Harlem on Wednesday, with support from the New York Daily News, Hot 97 (WQHT-FM), the Christian Cultural Center and Determined to Educate, the Amsterdam News and Positive Community magazine. The concert will feature disco music star Gloria Gaynor, The Haitian Mass Choir, Ronald K. Brown's Evidence Dance Company, Haitian deejay Hard Hittin' Harry and The Earthman Experience, Barbara King and special vignettes highlighting Haitian culture and history. WLIB/WBLS radio personality Liz Black will host the event. Daily News Editor in Chief Kevin R. Convey said the newspaper strongly supports the C2C effort and encouraged all New Yorkers to support Haiti's recovery. "The Daily News is deeply committed to supporting the Haitian community and all New Yorkers who were deeply affected by the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti last year," said Convey. "Community 2 Community's 'Hope and a Future' event, rich in Haitian culture and history, will help raise awareness of the assistance needed to rebuild and revitalize Haiti." In addition to sponsoring a pre-concert reception, HOT 97 Program Director Ebro Darden said the station is also highlighting the contributions of Haiti in America by airing vignettes and presenting special programming on Wednesday. The C2C benefit will take place on the one-year anniversary of the 7.0 quake, which killed more than 200,000 Continue Reading

Sanderson Farms contributes $2M to disaster relief efforts

Sanderson Farms Inc. has donated $2 million to disaster relief efforts — $1 million to the American Red Cross to aid in recovery efforts for people devastated and displaced by recent back-to-back natural disasters and $1 million to Samaritan Purse. The Laurel poultry producer also donated over 500,000 pounds of chicken, ice and supplies to those hit hardest by the devastation.“Sanderson Farms has vital facilities in several communities impacted by the recent hurricanes, and our chicken is sold and shipped to customers in both Puerto Rico and Mexico,” Joe F. Sanderson Jr., CEO and board chairman, said in a news release. “We are saddened that these hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires have directly impacted our neighbors, many of whom are our business partners and loyal customers. We are committed to doing everything that we can to assist the recovery efforts during this time of great need.”Nearly 16,000 Red Cross disaster workers have been mobilized to support relief efforts in the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate. In the past nine weeks, the Red Cross has provided over 1.3 million overnight stays at emergency shelters in eight states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Red Cross has served more than 6.7 million meals and snacks, and provided more than 5.7 million relief items to people in need.In addition, the Red Cross has over 470 workers in California where more than 27,900 overnight stays have been provided to people seeking refuge from wildfires in 30 Red Cross shelters. The organization is providing support in Mexico where media reports more than 153,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. The American Red Cross works closely with the Mexican Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid and assistance during large emergencies and is committing $100,000 toward the Mexican earthquake relief effort.Samaritan Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization based in Boone, Continue Reading

How to prepare your small business for a disaster

When major disasters like Hurricane Gustav dominate the press, small-business owners are reminded of how quickly everything they work for can be swept away. But when hurricane season ends, how many do something about the risks? While the odds of a hurricane destroying your business are low, even if you work in a state like Florida or Louisiana, a smaller and more common disaster like a fire can destroy your business's equipment just as easily. Fortunately, steps you take to prepare for those smaller disasters can also hedge against the more damaging and rare ones, says Donna Childs, a small-business owner and author of Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses.There are simple and cheap steps you can take that will provide basic protection against your business and its infrastructure in the case of disasters, both small and large.Look into business interruption insurance. One of the difficulties about protecting a business from disaster in 2008 is that the nature of the ordinary business is changing. If your business does not have a store to lose to a natural disaster--say, it only exists in your home or online--does that mean there's nothing you can do to insure against damage? "People are programmed to think about insurance for physical loss, but they don't think about protection against lost revenue," says Childs. She says she's surprised at how many small businesses don't jump for business interruption insurance, which covers you for the profits you would make during a time when your business cannot operate because of some unfortunate event. A subset of business interruption insurance is service interruption insurance--policies that would cover a home-based service business if, for example, an online entrepreneur were to lose power for a period of time and be unable to work.Business interruption insurance also works for entrepreneurs who have actual stores. Dennis Meehan has run Meehan's Office Products in Continue Reading

Commentary: Disaster recovery resources available for business

Since Hurricane Irma barreled through the Florida Keys, came ashore in Southwest Florida and drenched most of the state, businesses and communities across Florida have faced some serious challenges.Many businesses went days without electricity, while others had storm damage and some were destroyed. Communities near Florida’s shorelines suffered devastating winds and floods and are still grappling with recovery efforts.At the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, we are working with businesses and communities across the state to provide expert guidance, short-term assistance and long-term planning to help every community that was impacted by the storm.We know that the first step to getting our communities back on their feet is getting our businesses back on their feet.One of the programs we have to help businesses is the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan. This program, administered in partnership with the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, provides short-term, interest-free loans to businesses that suffered economic or physical damage from the hurricane.The program bridges the gap between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer-term recovery resources, such as payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.Continuing to support Florida’s workforce is also critical. With our partners at CareerSource Florida and the 24 local workforce development boards across the state, we are offering the National Dislocated Worker Grant program to provide jobs to job seekers while helping communities with cleanup and recovery activities.These jobs provide food, clothing, shelter and other humanitarian assistance or involve demolition, cleaning, repair, renovation and reconstruction of damaged structures and facilities.This grant program ensures that individuals who lost jobs because of storm damage are able to continue working, while helping their own communities recover.As individuals, Continue Reading