A walk on the dark side

At the beginning of the year we tend to review company objectives and personal development plans.  What are less frequently reviewed though, are crisis communications plans or business continuity plans.  At this point if you think I am about to say communications plans should be updated to reflect social media, fine, that should happen.  Only what if after putting all those plans in place, the technology needed to execute those plans is not available?

Back in October the government described the threat of a cyberattack as a tier 1 risk to national security.  Attacks on organisations like Google and Wikileaks during 2010 demonstrate this is no longer something we might watch Jack Bauer deal with on 24.  It would be naïve to think that it is just governments and large organisations that are threatened.  In November the charity organisation I help had their website entirely corrupted.  On a daily basis at work I delete spam messages that get through the company firewall.  So what if it all went dark?  If the company website, email, and operating systems were out of action, what’s the contingency communications plan?  Is your business now so technology dependant that it would grind to a halt?

A while ago, as a result of business continuity planning in the event of swine flu this was a subject of discussion.  Uses of traditional mediums like the telephone, setting up a dedicated helpline with voice message, site tannoy systems and more were reviewed.  What would you expect of your organisation if say 50 per cent of operating systems or personnel were unavailable because of a virus?  Can you even remember the way to someone’s office instead of emailing?

This entry was posted in Business Continuity, Crisis Communications, Internal Communications, Marketing Communications, New media, Professionalism, stakeholder relations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A walk on the dark side

  1. Judge Jon says:

    Get Jack Bauer in he’ll have it sorted in 24 hours.

  2. 007scorpion says:

    The technology for all this is fine…what isn’t are the way people/organisations put the technology together. The same 8 yr old who can upset an organisation probably has an impenetrable fortress of a system – because he has an interest in the technology. When technology changes we must change, not just upgrade, both our systems and our way of thinking.

    Putting band aids on bleeds doesn’t make us safer from cuts – just less likely to have it become worse…each generation develops new dangers with it’s progress….where those who keep up to date and adapt stay operational (in the light!) and those who don’t can end up in the dark.

    …or you could get Jack Bauer in to sort it out!

  3. Melanie Thompson says:

    To prepare for such an event is to invest in preventing it happening in the first place; if a company is vulnerable to such an attack there is far more at stake than losing their internal communications channels!


  4. Melanie Thompson says:

    Its not Jack you need! Get Chloe in!!

  5. black flatfoot says:

    a cyber attack will make my organisation more efficient

    a) it will cut out management interference
    b) people will get off their butts and do some work for a change

  6. Interesting thought Anne. Given the potential vulnerability of online systems, perhaps we shouldn’t invest 100 per cent of our marketing effort in communicating this way. I’ve always maintained that social media shouldn’t be everything we do, but my reasons for saying so have tended to be based on audience behaviour i.e. not everyone uses social media. Maybe there are other reasons for taking more of an integrated approach, using both offline and online channels.

    • black flatfoot says:

      My understanding of conventional comms theory is that it promotes what you suggest, ie use of a multiplicity of techniques depending on the target audience.

      • Anne says:

        Thanks all. As you rightly highlight an integrated approach in any communications plan is a sensible option. As BF also mentions channels are chosen with the target audience in mind if that channel or plan is disrupted through a cyber attack then we need to weigh up the options and make a strategic decision to postpone or use a different route.

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