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  • Writer's pictureErika Andresen

Old Dogs and New Tricks (and New Risks)

What did we learn from the pandemic? That we can pivot and adapt to things and adopt new ways of doing things. But while there is a lot to consider being proud of, most things come at a cost.

Pivoting quickly (because many had to) - especially if it included the introduction of new technologies - left a lot of people open to increased risk. Doing things quickly tends to be sloppy. Cybercriminals took advantage of everyone jumping on zoom and the like for the first time ever. It was like shooting fish in a barrel for them. Why? Most places that left themselves open never heard of business continuity, let alone practiced business continuity. And cybercriminals like to work harder, not smarter, so they will pick off the lowest hanging fruit.

Another change along the same lines was work from home. Aside from the obvious exposure mentioned about about cyber not being up to snuff, there is something most people aren't thinking about. The draw on the power grid. One of the main disasters businesses need to consider are heat events - which is defined by the temperatures a certain amount of degrees above normal for an extended period of time. Naturally that drives up the demand in the power grid as air-conditioner use goes up. This should not be news to anyone...

But what's different about this now?

In the recent past, the hottest parts of the summer day had hundreds if not thousands of people in one building (and then multiply that for each building), using air-conditioning. Now a majority of those people are sat at home, spread out, and drawing on the power grid for their individual cooling needs. The demand was once collected in one area. Now it's been pushed and out increased over many spaces. The likelihood of brown and blackouts has increased.

The NYT had an article last week about Elon Musk producing huge batteries (about the size of a shipping container) to store large amounts of electricity to back up the power grid when demand is high or there is a blackout. I love the idea of adding layers of protection to infrastructure. This will help in the future but until those batteries are produced and sold to an area near you, power grid fluctuations are now at an increased concern.

What are the solutions?

First thing is to go back and look at what you did to pivot. Was it sloppy? Is it secure? Evaluate your risk and vulnerability levels and fix things you can now that you have the time. Another thing is to plan more around the prospect of losing power in the summer, both for yourself and your vendors/suppliers. These are two things that can be addressed in business continuity planning now.

Secure. Survive. Thrive.

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