Hurricane Florence Is Reminder of Need for Backup Communications Plan

Today’s topics include developing a backup communications plan for Hurricane Florence, and Google making Access Transparency Logs generally available.

Hurricane Florence is making landfall along the Carolina coast, with vast areas of the U.S. East Coast also feeling the impact. During this Category 4 or 5 hurricane, businesses will largely come to a standstill because employees won’t be able to report to work, roads will be impassible and the power will be out. Wireless communications, landline communications and internet access may become unavailable.

Fortunately, you can deal with this hurricane and future disasters by first making sure you have detailed contact information for all of your employees. Next, confirm that your business communications infrastructure is protected against a likely disaster, which may mean testing the backup plan and moving backup equipment to a high floor or to a nearby building with better protection.

Third, determine available alternate forms of communications, including radios that can be tuned to the local news and weather stations along with batteries to run them. You may want to acquire satellite phones for critical individuals. Fourth, remember that SMS text messages will frequently go through even when cell sites are generally unavailable for voice communications.

Finally, determine a meeting point for a critical subset of employees that will be necessary to help the business recover.

Google this week announced the general availability of Access Transparency Logs for customers of six Google Cloud Platform services, including Compute Engine, App Engine and Cloud Storage.

Access Transparency Logs provide organizations with an audit trail of actions taken by Google's support and engineering staff when interacting with their data and systems configurations. When a customer calls Google for support and the company opens a ticket to investigate the issue, Google customers can get access logs that are generated in near real time and delivered to their Google Stackdriver Logging console.

The logs provide information on what resources were accessed and the operations that were performed on those resources along with justification for those actions.