Did you Fail to Plan for the Pandemic? Plan for a Microsoft Outage or a GPS Provider Attack.

Last weekend, our family drove to southwestern Montana looking for Coolidge, a thriving mining town turned Ghost Town. After we entered a remote valley, cell service went away. I handed our road atlas to my 18-year-old son, appointed him navigator, and asked for our next turn. He had a bewildered look on his face as he studied the map. I offered, “We’re on page 83 northwest of Dillon.” I was shocked when he handed the road atlas back in exasperation, saying, “I can’t read these nonsensical maps! I need my phone!” He’s bright, and he’s become too reliant on technology. Phone mapping has been around as long as he can remember; he cannot imagine it failing. He has no more interest in learning to use paper maps than learning to milk a cow.

Ask yourself: How would your company survive if attackers shut down Amazon AWS, Google, Verizon, or Garmin GPS? Oh wait – they did shut down Garmin last Thursday! Garmin, specializing in GPS mapping and location technology, is currently recovering from an outage reported to be a ransomware attack asking for ten million dollars. Attackers effectively prevented pilots from downloading Garmin GPS updates, as the FAA requires.

Were you prepared when your workers had to stay home during pandemic lockdowns? If not, Ouch! But you’re ready now. Has a guy on a backhoe ever dug up the Internet cable close to your office, breaking your web, e-mail, and VPN connectivity? Ouch! After that, perhaps you asked your IT Pros to set up a backup data connection with a different carrier. According to Mental Floss, FedEx drivers carry a map book. Essential point: After you figure out your plan B, remember to train your users. FedEx drivers’ maps are useless unless drivers know how to read them.

Let Garmin’s attack be a wake-up call. Many organizations rely on third-party systems critical to operations. If the attackers can take down Garmin, what’s next? Please forward this message to your friends and ask them if they’ve got a plan for when a primary technology provider, anyone in their supply chain, goes offline.


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