What a week of IT woes. Facebook? Down on Monday. LinkedIn? Down this morning. Healthcare.gov? Down indefinitely.
Now, we can all sympathize with occasional (and temporary!) technical meltdowns, provided we can still access Twitter to gripe about them, but it also brings to mind a few insecurities about, well, security. Obviously banks and financial institutions are under constant threat of a cyber attack, but popular mega-sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are, too. Hackers gain cred when they manage to cripple sites that are in the public eye.
"Given the expanding number of well publicized cyber attacks for various motivational reasons on an expanding range of targets, it is hardly surprising to find that cyber risk has significantly ascended in the risk rankings," said Marcus Alldrick, Chief Intelligence Security Officer, Lloyd's of London, at today's Cyber Security Summit in Minneapolis. "According to the recently published Lloyd's Risk Index 2013, cyber risk is now ranked as the world's number three risk, and in North America, it is number two."
Businesses underestimate both the impact of, and their vulnerability to, cyberattacks.
According to the researchers, says Aldrick, the current results suggest that businesses previously underestimated both the impact of, and their vulnerability to, cyberattacks.
"It appears that businesses across the world have encountered a partial reality check about the degree of cyber risk. Their sense of preparedness to deal with the level of risk, however, still appears remarkably complacent."
So what if LinkedIn were to suddenly be hacked and compromised? For recruiters who exclusively use LinkedIn to find applicants, what if this were to drag on for weeks, or months? Not only would recruiters be wasting time and losing money, but reduced levels of hiring could deal the U.S. economy a blow. With increasing dependency on huge sites that monopolize various sectors of our workforce and society, we've never been so at the mercy of IT nerds -- both the helpful kind and the hurtful kind. Perhaps your contingency plan should include a rolodex.
(Side note: while investigating the LinkedIn matter, I did the obligatory "is it just me?" search. Actually, I typed in "Is LinkedIn down?" Lo and behold, someone with the last name "Down" showed up in the first page of results. Likewise, I accidentally found a band's Facebook page because they are named "Down." Maybe you should rethink your next business name to incorporate "Down" in some way...)