Hurricanes and Hackers and Botnets, Oh My!

    May 10, 2017

    The month of May is all about moms and grads, a time to celebrate the coming of summer and the end of the school year. Flowers are blooming, the last frost of winter has thawed, and the barbecue grills are fired up and ready to go.

    But May is also about something else consequential: National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Every year during the first week of May, the National Weather Service focuses on hurricane preparedness in advance of the hurricane season (June 1 through November 30). Some weather organizations say the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast calls for a near-average number of storms, less than in 2016. A total of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes are anticipated this season.

    Regardless of predictions, the best laid plans are meaningless if weather patterns take a turn for the worse. In fact, El Niño (a sporadic, complicated series of climate changes touching the equatorial Pacific region) could wreak havoc on predictions. “If El Niño fails to launch, we may be too low with our numbers,” says Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist for The Weather Company.

    Add to that the daily risk of cyber hacks and network outages, and you’d think we’re only a double-click away from disaster. From technological threats such as chemical, electrical and nuclear dangers, to civil disasters such as cyber terrorism, information warfare or terrorism – the potential for disasters grows every day.

    What DOES remain the same year after year is the need for preparation, testing, and the resilient flow of information – regardless of the threats posed to your community.

    The National Hurricane Center divides its guidelines into seven different categories:

    For cyber threats, add to that list:

    Take time this May to batten down the proverbial hatches and brace yourself for the worst. The experiences of Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina are still fresh in our minds, especially for people who suffered the brunt of these storms personally or in their businesses. But the lessons learned from the past are the keys to future resilience. Hurricane Preparedness Week is the ideal time to prepare for a potential tropical storm or hurricane, and begin making preparations with family, friends and work to ensure that everyone is ready. Companies like AT&T, Home Depot and Florida Hospital can also help.

    And once your hurricane and cyber security plans are in place and tested, you’ll be ready to kick back and relax in the hammock and on the beach. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.

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