P.S. on the blackout: Mind your IT

It’s been one year since a power failure left an estimated 50 million people in Canada and the Northeastern U.S. in the dark. Details surrounding the event were reported in the findings of a joint Canada-U.S. task force that investigated the causes of the blackout and recommended what to do to avoid big-scale outages in the future.

Among the points made in the report was a note many CIOs would appreciate: mind your network infrastructures. Emergency management system and IT staff at utilities must monitor the quality of computer networks that provide data on power supplies and demand. Make sure the networks can be restored quickly in the case of downtime. Set up disaster recovery plans. Provide adequate staff training, including verbal communication protocols “so that operators are aware of any IT-related problems that may be affecting their situational awareness of the power grid.”

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