We are still a long way away from understanding the full impact that COVID-19 will have on the world. It’s touched every aspect of society and continues to generate more aggressive and unprecedented responses from world leaders. We all know this so why am I writing this blog? Because the scope and impact of this deadly virus could have been significantly reduced or avoided if we had just listened to the experts and acted swiftly. Information trickles in daily and it feels like we are building our response plan on the fly and to make matters worse, people are choosing how they want to respond.
Highly infectious viruses and diseases have been spreading uncontrollably across the human population for thousands of years. It’s even got an official definition in Websters dictionary!
Pandemic noun pan·dem·ic | \ pan-ˈde-mik \
Definition of pandemic : an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population : a pandemic outbreak of a disease
So why, in 2020, do we find ourselves at the mercy of one of the deadliest and widest spread viruses in modern history? Experts such as Dr. Michael Osterholm wrote a book in 2017 titled “Deadliest Enemy” that predicted that something like this was imminent. We should have learned from recent outbreaks like SARS (2002-4), MERS (2012), and Ebola(2014) to create an effective and robust incident response plan that could be called upon to address an outbreak like COVID-19. An incident response plan should address: Preparation, Identification, Containment, Eradication, Recovery and Lesson’s Learned.
Preparation – Do we have a team ready to deal with an outbreak (pandemic)? Can we provide enough access to proper medical facilities? Can we quickly mobilize a team of experts that are properly trained to deal with such situations?
Identification – Can we recognize early enough that we have a really bad situation brewing and is there a clear escalation path? Can we properly preserve evidence and artifacts, so the experts have appropriate information to work with as soon as they are called to action?
Containment – Once the expert recognize that we have a serious situation on our hands (which can be done quite quickly if steps 1 and 2 are well defined), do we have processes and procedures in place to contain the virus and prevent the spread?
Eradication – Can we treat the virus and keep people healthy? As we’ve seen, finding medical cures can take months or years to develop and people that are predisposed to certain health conditions like lung infections may not be treatable but performing the first 3 steps of the response plan properly will limit the number of people impacted.
Recovery – What steps are necessary to ensure the outbreak is 100% controlled and when can we start taking steps to restore everything back to the way it was before this all happened? If you control the impact and severity, you reduce the recovery implications.
Lessons Learned – No plan is perfect, and no 2 incidents are the same. There are always learning lessons that can be applied to any situation to get better and improve. I’m sure that once we get this COVID-19 virus under control, we go back to life as it was and don’t invest enough time and effort on how we can do better next time. This would explain why, despite going through this several times in the past decade, we find ourselves glued to the new feeds to find out what decisions the WHO and world leaders are coming up with on a daily and hourly basis.
Does it sound like these steps would work to help us address an outbreak like COVID-19? It should, it’s been working for computer viruses since the early 70’s. So why aren’t we using this pragmatic and common-sense approach to human viruses? People! Not because COVID-19 is a human virus, but because people tend to think that something like this won’t happen to them and are reluctant to take appropriate actions. I’m sure the WHO is doing all of this and more, but they can’t execute properly if people aren’t listening to their instructions and cooperating. You see it all over the news and social media; people in North America stating they are glad not to be in Italy or China. Well guess what folks, I’m sure Italians were saying they were glad not to be in China at one point too!!!
As I sit at home in isolation writing this blog, I get passionate about this topic because I see it all the time in my line of work. Cybersecurity has all the same human hindrances as this pandemic. I don’t want to make this about cyber, but I do want to get the word out that people need to step up and be part of the solution. This isn’t a Chinese, Italian or Iranian problem to fix. This pandemic is our problem to fix. We all need to listen to the experts, act swiftly and do what’s right for the greater good.
Advice from the WHO (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public):
- Wash your hands,
- Maintain social distancing
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth,
- Seek medical advice early if you display the symptoms
We need to “flatten the curve” and get this situation under control. Then we can start talking about why you need to protect your business data. 😊
Dream Technology Solutions