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In the face of cyber threats to the National Grid, how can your business prepare for an unexpected blackout?
The UK must be prepared for terrorists’ cyber-attacks, including on the National Grid, the Chancellor George Osborne has warned. The impact of even a short blackout could be severe: a major blackout hit New York City in 1977 resulted in widespread looting, vandalism and violence (although the 2003 US blackout was less traumatic).
While sceptics might claim that such remarks are scaremongering to justify a spending hike on cyber security (an increase to £1.9 billion is envisaged by 2020), the rise of ‘hybrid conflicts’ played out in cyberspace as well as on the battlefield is inevitable. As Osborne remarked, businesses must play their part in countering the growing cyber attack threat.
While the current threat is apparently posed by Islamic State (aka ISIS, IS, ISIL and several other monikers), a range of disasters could befall our business electricity infrastructure. A blackout or a power surge is very unlikely but a few simple and cheap strategies can reduce the impact.
Remember that the risk to equipment is actually greater when the electricity comes back on after a blackout as varying voltage as the system stabilises can damage unprotected electronics. A free and effective strategy is to unplug all electronics and wait until the power has been back on for a while before plugging them back in.
It might feel overly dramatic to prepare an emergency kit but this modest investment could pay dividends should the worst happen. The basics include
Once you have the emergency basics covered, consider other items that might limit the impact of a blackout or power surge.
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