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“Officials in Atlanta say the city's computer systems are not yet fully operational after a ransomware attack hit the city last week and locked some city data behind a wall of encryption,” explains Doreen McCallister in their recent NPR article entitled “Atlanta Working 'Around The Clock' To Fight Off Ransomware Attack.”
“Tasnim Shamma of member station WABE in Atlanta tells our Newscast unit that cybersecurity experts are working around the clock to restore access to the city's data,” writes McCallister.
"Many city employees have been without access to Internet and email since Thursday after hackers locked some of its systems and demanded a $51,000 payment. The city says it completed part of its investigation of the cyberattack, but it's working on restoring full service," shares Shamma in the NPR piece.
According to McCallister, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms expressed the importance of cybersecurity and that it is now a top priority for the city of Atlanta.
"There's a lot of work that needs to be done with our digital infrastructure in the city of Atlanta, and we know that year after year, that it's something that we have to focus on and certainly this has sped things up," Bottoms states in the article.
McCallister continues in their article that “Bottoms says the city has continued to operate despite the cyberattack.”
Do you believe Atlanta officials were prepared for an attack like this?
It doesn’t appear that way based on Bottoms’ reference to Atlanta’s infrastructure.
To us, this reads ‘reactive operations’ without question.
Mayor Bottoms states that “cybersecurity is now a top priority for the city.”
Aside from Atlanta’s ability to handle this incident, it does present an essential lesson for all operations.
First, let’s address the lesson as a question for you to consider.
Are you working ‘around the clock’ to fight threats from impacting your property, operation, staff, and customers?
Whether your answer is “yes” or “no,” it’s critical that you continue reading.
Did you catch the lesson?
If not, we’ve got you covered.
Here it is:
Menaces should fear your property.
But, there are caveats.
You must have capabilities in place that allow you to expertly manage your operation without the need to react to dangers 24/7 365.
Here’s how you achieve this.
You focus on the following.
Yes, things will happen.
Dangers will present themselves.
At some point or another, criminals will attempt to breach your property.
But, and it’s an important one, It’s what you do before, during, and then following the incident that matters most.
It might sound cliché, but you have to expect the unexpected – and then manage it with intense focus and proactivity.
Give your operation the unfair advantage.
Let us explain preparation, awareness, and prevention further for you.
You’ve prepared using the Proactive Operations methodology.
All aspects of the methodology are in place, which means you’ve addressed your strategy – a critical element of preparation.
It forces you to look at your operation’s strengths and weaknesses to determine what requires your team’s attention.
Identify potential dangers here.
As many as you can.
Then, bring your team together to conduct real-life role-playing exercises that force everyone to suit-up and run through all possible scenarios.
Make the test environment challenging to exploit weakness and provide an opportunity for improvement.
It’s not easy work, but it will pay off in real life.
Increased Awareness is the result of your preparation.
It allows you to anticipate and spot warning signs “miles away.”
Do you agree?
Your awareness is the first line of defense for protecting your property from attacks.
But, awareness comes in many forms, so let’s consider a few.
Possible forms of awareness:
Can you think of any more? Let us know.
Now, remember, awareness is your key to prevention.
Your anticipation and ability to effectively and efficiently address risks helps you prevent and expertly mitigate risks from affecting your operational status.
By incessantly preparing your team for what could impend your operation, you’ve drastically increased your ability to stop an attack from causing insurmountable damage.
We get it; it’s not guaranteed that you can stop everything.
But, having the right attitude and approach certainly gives you the advantage.
The chances are that your property’s operation is faced with threats slightly different from a cybersecurity attack.
The lesson is still the same, though. You do not want to work ‘around the clock’ to fight them off.
Prepare your team for what could come your way, increase your awareness of these dangers, and work swiftly and diligently to prevent anything from breaching and then crippling your operation.