As I set out to write my column this month, I popped over to the NIST website to check some facts. The National Institute of Standards and Technology publishes security standards and guidelines for the U.S. government in its "800 series," and they are generally useful in the private sector as well. I visit the NIST website occasionally to check the facts on topics ranging from encryption algorithm lifespans to risk assessment methodology. But this week, the NIST website has been taken down due to the U.S. government shutdown.
The NIST website is displaying a maintenance page saying, "Due to a lapse in government funding, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is closed and most NIST and affiliated web sites are unavailable until further notice. We sincerely regret the inconvenience." I hope they do, because a lot of professionals rely on information provided by government agencies.
This is a somewhat jarring experience. I hadn't realized the government affected my daily life in any meaningful way, but now that the documents I'm looking for are not available to me, I'm starting to wonder what preparations I should have made to account for this situation. In fact, I'm thinking like a business continuity planner.