Yet another powerful earthquake today in Christchurch, the main city in New Zealand’s South Island, reminds us once again of the importance of physical security measures to protect essential, valuable and yet fragile information assets (not least our people!). Our friends and colleagues in Christchurch have already suffered thousands of aftershocks since the Big One in September but occurring at lunchtime on a busy working day puts today's quake into a different category. It may not have been as severe a shake in geological terms but being much nearer the surface and closer to the city centre has led to significant structural damage, injuries and deaths.
The need for physical disaster planning is crystal clear to New Zealanders, and hopefully to those of you in other geologically active regions of the world, but others shouldn’t be too glib about it. Physical disasters caused by serious floods, severe storms and other extreme weather incidents, power cuts, fires and so forth are all too common, while decent disaster plans also take account of the possibility of non-physical disasters such malware outbreaks, major frauds, business supply chain failures and global economic crises, network and comms failure, maybe even war and civil disruption (and not just in the obvious hotspots such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, this week anyway: who knows what will hit the news headlines next week?). Aside from planning for incidents and disasters that are to some extent predictable, contingency arrangements help us cope with pretty much anything that comes our way, including by the way coincident events (such as both the twin towers being destroyed in 911).
We are never short of opportunities to link information security to current events, unfortunately. Think on as you see the chilling news footage appearing on a TV screen near you right now. Is it time to refresh and update your disaster plans and contingency arrangements?