There’s a fascinating article on TechCrunch that cites a current (anonymous) Sony Pictures Entertainment employee talking about life at the company in the wake of a crippling November 24th cyber attack that wiped out thousands of computer systems and stole terabytes of data from the company.
According to the story, Sony employees have resorted to using circa 1990s fax machines to transmit documents and – horror – having face to face communications in lieu of texting, e-mail or social networking, all of which are disabled within Sony’s environment.
“We had barely working email and no voicemail so people talked to each other,” the source tells TechCrunch. “Some people had to send faxes. They were dragging old printers out of storage to cut checks…It was crazy.”
“That is what a major corporate security breach sounds like,” TechCrunch writes. “The squeal of a fax machine and the low murmur of co-workers now required to talk to each other instead of depending on email or instant messages.”
Sony isn’t the only company to fall back on pre-digital technology in the wake of a breach. Notably: the restaurant chain PF Chang was forced back to manual swipe card readers following a hack of its point of sale system in June.
My point? Expect cyber resilience to be a hot topic in 2015, as businesses digest the real impact of the Sony hack – that their entire IT operations could be grounded, and that they need to find a way to continue doing business – at 2014 speed – all the same. My sense is that very few companies have reckoned with this issue, but that won’t be the case for long.