Disaster prevention and recovery

Worries about the latest cyberattack?
There are some simple things you can do to protect yourself from this and other future threats
1) Make sure Windows computers have all the latest updates. An up to date computer is safe from this current threat
2) Install anti virus software and keep it up to date
3) Back up everything to an external drive which is not connected to your computer all the time. This is because encryption malware can work on connected cloud drives such as dropbox so have your backup backed up.
4) If you feel comfortable doing it and want even more protection, install the vaccine.
You can find more information here https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/27/petya-ransomware-cyber-attack-who-what-why-how

Picture this! It’s a warm winter afternoon near the beach. I am showing an adult student how to turn wifi on and off on her smart phone. We are in a lovely cafe near the water and health and safety/security officer Jazzy Doodie is under the table. She’s just sent a scrub turkey on his way and is watching a gaggle of school girls in uniform arrive. The photo shows her at a different time. The wifi network is open, so I have some misgivings. Being a dog, Jazzy Doodie isn’t very interested in  technology so she doesn’t comment. I tell the student not to do anything private such as banking and we go ahead. She opens her email. Jazzy Doodie gives a tiny growl at the kids who are staring at a phone and loudly giggling. Neither of us humans take much notice.  That’s what kids do. I wonder what bothered her as she’s a very friendly dog who rarely growls at anyone human. We finish the session . However the next day tbe student discovers her email has been hacked and a very obnoxious email sent in her name without her knowledge.  It appears the kids or someone else in tbe local area snooped out her password and took control of her email. The moral of the story – never use wifi networks that are completely open without a password. Be cautious on all publuc networks. And listen to your dog, they pick up on things we ignore. If you want to find out more about wifi security,  have a look here.  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2043095/heres-what-an-eavesdropper-sees-when-you-use-an-unsecured-wi-fi-hotspot.htmlShoodle asleep on the floor

I’ve finally given in! So sick of trying to manage passwords myself. The last straw was that my ICloud backups hadn’t been working and when I lost my IPad, some files went with it. Its a very old IPad which was about to give up the ghost. Fortunately nothing critical was on it. However, I did have an encrypted file of password hints and now I can’t remember some of them. After struggling on for a few weeks, I have decided to let a password manager look after it all for me. I just installed Dashlane on my PC and will sync it with all my other devices. I’ll post further updates here as I go along. I’m happy so far, logging in on the PC is just so easy. Will be testing out other devices as time goes on.

I’d like to share some tips on finalising it. Firstly, some useful links on risk analysis.
First a useful analysis on the use of risk matrices…

Second, a very helpful guide for small businesses produced by the West Australian Government.


There’s heaps more examples and discussion around, so if you want more go back to Google. Beware though, as there is a risk of procrastination while reading up thoroughly on risk management 🙂

Ok so now you know your risks? What’s next? Look for low hanging fruit, simple ways of reducing the likelihood or impact of the risk. For example, we don’t have control of the likelihood of storms and power failure but we can reduce their impact. Simple steps like having torches, battery operated radios and external phone and tablet chargers may be enough for some businesses. Others may need a generator. Think of the last time you went camping? What did you take and use?
The likelihood of other risks may be reduced, for example slipping on a wet floor is less likely if spills are immediately cleaned up and cleaners put out warning notices on areas of wet floor. What low hanging fruit can you pick?

Jacaranda tree with purple flowers

Jacaranda tree in flower

What do jacaranda trees mean for you? As a student, they struck fear into my heart as they meant exams were approaching rapidly. Now they mean, Spring, hot weather , and hopefully the beach and lots of swimming to come! They also signal the start of the storm season for South East Queensland. Are you ready? Maybe it is time to revisit the risks to your business.
I’ve talked before about technology and storms. How would you cope with a power interruption? What can you do to protect yourself? There are a few other things to consider. Storms can can have caused flash flooding and short term distruptions to rail, air and road transport. Could you cope if you were stuck away from your business location or at work and unable to get home? What if staff are stranded at work or can’t get to work? Are you responsible for the care of any animals? What do you need to do for them in the event of a storm?
Over the next few weeks we will talk about how to do a full risk analysis plan and make sure your business is prepared for storms and other extremes of an Australian summer.
Meanwhile, try to identify what disasters could impact your business and how likely and severe they are e.g storm, flood, epidemic, fire, traffic incident, earthquake, criminal act. Do not forget Telecommunications interruptions, which can be caused by a natural disaster or simple equipment failure!
For those in Brisbane, I’d guess storms, power related and other telco issues as well as traffic or criminal incidents including minor thefts, are the most likely.

Do you use a public transport card (called a Go card in my city)? Have any credit card or building entry pass with embedded electronics?
Beware of physical damage to this card. I recently noticed a tiny hairline crack on my public transport card and ignored it. Not a good move. It suddenly stopped working and I had to replace it urgently as I was about to travel on public transport again. All is well that ends well but it would have been much easier if I had done the replacement in a planned manner before the catastrophic failure. Check your cards or a sad story might ensue. (Photo is of a children’s story game)
Story cube game

This will be a short post. If you are considering upgrading to Windows 10, they are introducing a new feature called WifiSense, which makes it easy to share network details. However, it also enables friends of friends to share your details. If you wish to stop this happening, you need to change your Access Point name to have _optout at the end of the name. For details click here If after you have read the article, you want to disable WifiSense follow the steps below :

To change your access point name, you need to do the following
1) Go to the admin page for your modem. If you don’t know the IP address (a long number like It is different for each make and model of router/modem so you need to look it up
2) Log in
3) Go to the wireless configuration. Update the wireless AP name and save the configuration.
4) If you used the default username and password to log on in Step 2, change the admin password for your modem/router. If you use the default password, anyone can access and change settings on your network!!!
All done!

Laptops on sale with large variety

Laptop choice

Cyclone Marcia with her Brady Bunch name and her disinclination to do what she was forecast to do, caught many by surprise. Even the weather Severe weather forecasters did not expect her to become a Category Five, the strongest possible.
Then I don’t believe Marcia ever did things by halves 🙂

Were you affected? Is there anything you would do differently?

One thing I’ve found really helpful is to have a plan with trigger points.

For example, if there is a flood watch for the Brisbane River , I will contact key people near the river to discuss their plans. At the beginning of the wet season, I will stock up on batteries and non perishables. When there is a storm or severe weather warning for my area, I will make sure all gadgets are charged if there is time, including phone backup chargers. I will ensure loose items outdoors are secured. When I hear thunder, I will unplug nonessential electrical gear. I must admit to not always doing the last one if thunder is distant and radar doesn’t indicate the storm is heading in my direction.

What are your actions and trigger points? Is this something you would like to brainstorm with others? I found it super helpful to talk to a friend about it. Thinking of suggesting it as a topic for my next Podpora group but that’s another story.

Storm building

The summer storm season is almost over in the South East of Queensland. However, storms have long been used in writing as a metaphor for describing any turbulent or troubled time. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the nature of running a small business. One person can feel they have to do everything. You can feel alone. We have talked many times about how to prepare for literal storms. Now how about the metaphorical ones. It is worth planning to cope with these too!
What storms are you facing? What have you done to prepare and cope?
Who will stand by you in any storms you encounter?

Stormy or fair, you feel isloted as a small business person? Do you wish there was a tribe or community of likeminded people with whom you could discuss, learn, brainstorm and share?
Well there is! I will be blogging more about the Podpora concept which I have recently discovered and which meets my needs for this type of community.


Power pack
Did you go camping over the holidays? Did you try to work while in a remote area?
If so, you will have tested your disaster recovery plan without knowing it. If not, then you might find it useful to visualise how it might work out.
I didn’t go camping but did experience a power failure during December due to a storm. I had mobile devices fully charged and the backup charger above so work wise the blackout wasn’t an issue as it was fairly short. Food safety was a bigger one. I acted quickly to buy ice from a local shop and pack food into Eskies. So, what lessons for business continuity did you learn from your holidays?

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