A Single Point of Failure

Yesterday Nashville joined the list of cities victimized by terrorism. Too many people suffered a single point of failure when it happened.

Communications

It seems reasonable… AT&T offers you a package deal. Bundle your phone, internet, and tv service into one package and save money by proving you are a loyal customer, right? Then AT&T is either the target or collateral damage in yesterday’s bombing and your entire means of communication goes down… Oooops, didn’t think of that! No internet, no cellphone, and no tv. A single point of failure sends you camping in a Starbucks parking lot trying latch onto their wi-fi so you can communicate with the outside world. No bueno.

Your communications should not be tied to a single provider. I have Verizon cell service and my wife has AT&T. One is a GSM network, and the other is a CDMA. We use Comcast Business as our ISP. Another 30 bucks buys a “burner” phone with some pre-paid minutes on Sprint if things go radical. We also have am/fm radio and an OTA (over the air) antenna for local tv stations. Some folks lacked even “analog” comms…

Power

Is your sole source of power your utility provider? What if they suffer a crippling attack? If gas and/or electricity goes out what is your scenario? Consider heating your home, cooling your home, cooking, hot water for sanitary usage, etc.

Here you can consider a generator powered by gasoline or diesel. Small solar panels can keep electronics and some lamps going, even a fan. Do have the means to cook by alternative sources like fire or propane? Can you heat your home if gas and electricity go down, or does that mean a frantic call to The Hampton “is there room in the” Inn?

Water

Do you have a backup water source? A plan to access fresh water if the water company goes down? Those 3 bottles of Topo Chico in the fridge will go fast…

Consider access to backup water. Do you have a way to filter it and sanitize it? Can you store it as well? Consider rain barrels or a nearby river or creek. You’ll need “grey water” to flush toilets and sanitized water for drinking and cooking. Consider having the supplies on hand to build a simple filtration system (pebbles, sand, activated charcoal, and screening material). You will also need bleach and other items to sanitize.

Money

Do you have one checking account at one bank? What if that bank goes down? Are you then scrounging for coins in the couch and looking for grandma’s last birthday card to find that crisp Benjamin she always sends?

We have banking redundancy by way of a local bank, a national bank, and an international account. Keep enough cash on hand for a week or two of emergency use. If you really want to layer in some redundancy you can also include some gold and silver coins on hand as well. The smallest gold coin you can buy is 1/500 of an ounce. It’s called “An Einstein” because it features a picture of Albert sticking his tongue out. It’s worth about $4 today which makes it much easier for spending than trying to get change for a 1oz. coin worth closer to $2,000.

Data

Where is your data backed up? What is your redundancy plan? “The Cloud” right? Can you explain where that is and the access point? Do you have local backups of your data, both onsite and offsite? Avoid a single point of failure for your digital data! And backup your iPhones, iPads, and computers! Come on people!

Investing

I talk a lot about diversification in investing. This goes back to the single point of failure as well. Is a majority of your savings or net worth tied up in the stock of the company you work for? You best hope the CFO isn’t cooking the books or the CEO isn’t fond of underage boys. Your local priest gets away with it, but you don’t want your retirement savings exposed to these types of proclivities.

No more than 10% of your investments should be in any one asset. Spread it out. Diversify internationally into both large and small countries. And buy some international stocks & bonds in their home currencies too, so you are not 100% dependent on the US dollar.

Security

So you lock your doors and windows at night, but what happens when that single layer of security is breached? Even if you are a 2A guy, are all your guns in the basement locked in a safe? And if your attacker is between you and that room??? Relying on the mercy or ineptitude of an attacker is a poor line of defense. My gosh, have you seen the news lately? Not only can it happen, it WILL happen.

Be armed and have plenty of ammo. Ammo does you no good if you can’t access it quickly. Have plenty of mags that are loaded up and ready to lock in place. Don’t keep everything on one room. Have your guns spread out about the house so they are quickly and easily accessed. Make it hard for a perp to get between you and your means of protection. Consider a safe room for the family, and a plan to get there in an emergency. Be sure it is reinforced and also prepped for defense.

Transport

If the going gets tough do you have a way to get going? Here I miss my Jeep for its 4×4 “get anywhere” ability. I used to have a small motorcycle too, but I sold it as well. Consider a scenario where you may not want to travel by the main roads, or by roads at all. I also know you have a few extra 9mm magazines in the car so all you have to bring is your weapon, right?

Conclusion

It was sad for me yesterday to see a very sick friend unable to communicate with anyone except by Facebook. Another friend suffering illness was in the parking lot of a Tractor Supply accessing their internet to send the world a message that he was ok.

I was up most of the night consider single points of failure. I was running over my own, and assessing / re-assessing my scenarios and plans. What is covered and what can I improve. Of course I wrote down 5 things I am doing today that will eliminate some risk.

It’s not a matter of if, but when. That attack, that storm, that assault, that hack, that breakdown, or that collapse will happen. Be prepared. Don’t make it a “oh darn” scenario. Remember – when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

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