The 2016 Olympics business continuity effort was a success
Well, Rio de Janeiro and the entire country of Brazil can exhale now. The 2016 summer games have officially come to a close. And, while there were certainly a fair share of “incidences” leading up to the event as well as dramatic side stories, there weren’t any major power outages or technical disruptions (at least that made the news). That’s certainly a huge accomplishment for the Olympics business continuity planning team in Brazil.
Of course, one would expect the Olympic committee to do their job. However, the cards were really stacked against Brazil from the get-go with many waiting to see if Brazil would sink or swim the 100 meters for gold on the world’s largest stage.
Brazil against the odds
For starters, there was the Zika virus. Medical experts were calling for the games to be postponed or moved, citing the risk of globalizing a serious epidemic that’s been mostly limited to the Americas. Then, there is the general concern about Rio being, you know–dangerous. Well, in case there was any question, the dismembered body parts washing onto the sand where the Olympic Beach Volleyball Arena was set up, didn’t set anyone’s mind at ease. And, of course, there was political turmoil and the shrinking economy.
A large number of cybersecurity attacks were projected
What’s more, is that technology experts were watching for Rio to be a target for cybersecurity attacks. Targeting the host city for cybercrime isn’t new or unusual. However, according to Fortinet researchers, they expected more of the attacks to succeed because cyber threats had not been treated as a very high priority in Brazil. For reference, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) survey, businesses in Brazil ranked data fraud and theft as 16th among the risks they’re concerned about, while cyberattacks were ranked 23rd. By comparison, U.S. businesses view cyberattacks as the number one risk. And, in the U.K. it’s the number two concern, which is why there were over 165 million cybersecurity events detected during the 2012 London Olympics, yet only 97 confirmed incidents.
All of this is what makes the 2016 Olympics all the more of a success from a technology and infrastructure perspective. While a lot of the onus was on the olympic committee, it takes a village and the city of Rio should be proud.
Business continuity plans had to be tested and validated–and re-tested again. Throughout the games, there is so much strain put on a city’s infrastructure that it is (almost) understandable when there is a mishap. Just think about the increase you can expect in services such as traffic management, hospitality booking services, broadcast services, social media and video services during the games.
IT administrators’ disaster recovery and business continuity plans must include strategies for foreseen risks such as network overload, connectivity issues, en masse remote employees, securing remote access to business applications, remote data centre management and unforeseen risks such as potential terror attacks.
Contingency planning was needed beyond the Olympic rings
However, Olympic business continuity planning isn’t just for the Olympics. It is for the local businesses as well. Think about it. The Olympic organizers have agreements in place to ensure their data and networks are secure and as infallible as possible. That means if there is a need, suppliers will have to prioritize the Olympic contractors over their other clients as any blip service for the Olympics is subject to public, international scrutiny (and surely the demise of said supplier).
IT teams in Rio-based businesses had to make it a priority to review their business continuity, disaster recovery and contingency plans to ensure minimal disruption to day-to-day business activities and customer services. They had to have backup plans in place in the not-so-unlikely event Olympic business took priority over their own. In order for businesses to capitalize on the influx of visitors, they needed to be open–and open they were.
While the games just concluded, it appears Brazil rose to the occasion and is walking away with a medal.
Sure, there were some unfavorable stories coming out of Rio de Janerio, but the lights stayed on. And, that’s more than we can say for the 2013 Super Bowl, which was halted for 34 minutes because of a power outage, plunging the Superdome into darkness and leaving TV viewers with no football. Just sayin’.