David Wiseman, vice president of secure communications with BlackBerry, explains the importance of a unified communications system to respond to, and recover from, cyberattacks.
Victims of a cyberattack need the ability to communicate accurate information to the right recipients in a timely manner, Wiseman says. And the parties involved range well beyond the specific target, to include regulators, law enforcement, hospitals and other local entities. “Bringing the right audiences together implies you’ve done some pre-planning, with the ability to reach those people through a variety of channels in a way that they can trust the information,” Wiseman says.
Cell phone, texting and e-mail are standardized ways of communicating that cut across organizations. But they might not all be available during a crisis. In a large manufacturing facility, the ability to tie into a public address system, whether through loudspeakers or digital signage boards, is key. It’s also importance to have backup systems for communicating beyond a facility. One option is maintenance of a personalized Wi-Fi network that isn’t connected to other parts of the internet. Hard-wired systems are a possible means of achieving the necessary redundancy, and even satellite communications technology is becoming more affordable with the growing presence of low-Earth-orbit satellites. Or the solution can involve a mix of those options. “The tradeoff becomes identifying what is your risk tolerance,” says Wiseman. “It’s a cost/benefit analysis.”
Planning for an attack is essential, although it’s unlikely that all of potentially affected parties could engage in drills or exercises simultaneously At the very least, there should be a plan in place that everyone has agreed to. “You may have tests between two or three organizations out of a dozen,” says Wiseman. “That’s easier than trying to do them all at one time.”
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