This weekend, there was a massive power outage across South America. This follows the shutdown of tech-related business with Target Stores in North America. I am constantly astounded by the lack of preparedness for both businesses and people to cope with a non-tech environment.
The next war, or possibly even the next major terrorist act, won’t be of the nature of the past. We’re in an age with drones in the sky and drone submarines. We’re also in an age when cyber is planned as one of the first steps of aggression. Power plants. Banks. Transportation. A stock market shutdown. Cell towers. ,Anything that can be switched off or simply crashed with a piece of malware code. It is the type of thing that is going to drive insurance companies into bankruptcy.
Surely, you don’t think tech is invulnerable. We like to act like it will always be there but simply recall how many times you’ve experienced calls being dropped, an email not going through, or a website crash and you realize how vulnerable your life is if suddenly there was no tech.
I like to recall a story from a small utility company in Illinois. They’d had unexplained glitches for months but were upgrading some equipment so they called in an outside consultant to figure out what was going on while they were doing the upgrade. Turns out they had been hacked YEARS before. The code was sitting there, ready to be activated and shutdown the whole system, whenever, the perpetrator desired. It was only by chance it was ever discovered. Makes you wonder how many places have no clue.
I’ve been in first world countries, more than once, when suddenly there was no tech. It isn’t pretty. People don’t have food. They can’t get money out of an ATM when their plastic doesn’t work. There is no bitcoin to transfer. You can’t buy fuel at the pump because the pumps don’t work when there isn’t power. You can’t even call or text. And people can’t cope.
If you don’t have an emergency plan that includes survival without all the gadgets you are use to relying on, this weekend demonstrates that this may be a good time to form one. A tech driven world may seem safe and secure, but it isn’t.