The bigger IT systems get, the more complex they get, the more chance there is a failure somewhere inside and a need for disaster recovery. It’s mathematical – as you multiply the number of components or the number of computer procedures called, you multiply the possibilities for something to go wrong. Even the biggest guns in computing experience this. Google has experienced problems recently with its Google Drive data storage, and also with its mail and application services. American Airlines suffered a technology failure in April that forced it to ground all its planes in the US for several hours on end. Does this mean that failure will eventually become a certainty as systems get even more complex? (more…)
Archive for the ‘Disaster Recovery’ Category
When a global IT distributor like Ingram Micro gets on board the HaaS (Hardware as a Service) bandwagon, you know it’s really on the move. The concept behind Hardware as a Service is that organisations no longer have to own, support or in general worry about the IT hardware that is present on site. Instead, for a monthly fee, they offload all of these aspects onto a managed server provider and can thus redeploy IT staff on strategic business projects and avoid tying up capital. All of which begs the question – how reliable is that? (more…)
By a quirk of language, the term “threat landscape” is currently used to refer specifically to cyber-threats. These threats alone already keep business continuity professionals on their toes, even if the nitty-gritty of protecting a company in this area is often the direct responsibility of the IT department. However, considering that threats were confined to the web would be short-sighted to say the least. BC practitioners may find themselves having to do educate their colleagues if they want their organisation to think beyond worms and viruses. (more…)
In the world of disaster recovery, one of the challenges is getting people to approve budget for having the right DR capabilities in place. Unless you are dealing with enlightened senior management, it’s not always easy to get people to sign off for events that may or may not come about, at some indeterminate time in the future. While it’s important to continue the process of education and to keep passing the message about the need to properly prepared, cloud computing offers a parallel “get it for free” approach. (more…)
The classic strength of tape compared to disk is in the relative cheapness, but now there’s more. If you’re thinking in terms of long-term archives, then tape also beats disk, because it has a “shelf life” of 30 years, compared to a “measly” 10 years for disk. After 10 years, disk runs the risk of “bit rot”, and data that then become corrupted. Tape also has yet more up its sleeve. Storage volumes are set to increase without limit for tape, whereas for hard disks, some of the physical limits are becoming all too apparent. (more…)
“A stitch in time saves nine” is a well-known saying. However, “familiarity breeds contempt” as they also say, and knowing your maxims off by heart doesn’t automatically mean taking the appropriate action. The “stitch in time” in IT terms is a proper plan, or good change management, together with backup planning if things don’t work out the way you thought they would. Yet IT disasters aren’t only about servers frying or a diggers hacking through a mains cable. They’re also about bad implementation of new enterprise applications like ERP. So what’s the “stitch” or the approach that can help companies avoid disaster in this case? (more…)
In today’s world of cloud and BYOD (bring your own device) computing, disaster recovery sometimes almost seems to be organising itself. Employees can copy all sorts of data to mobile phones, tablets and personal web storage, including customer lists, proposal templates, financial spread-sheets and more. It would take at least a double disaster – for instance, both your company IT systems collapsing and their device falling into the swimming pool – for them to be no longer able to work. Does that mean that like this your tech-savvy workers can save you the effort of organising disaster recovery for your company? (more…)
Why should DR stand only for disaster recovery? In the face of the earthquakes that assail parts of New Zealand from time to time, both the short term and the long term implications are being taken into account. Short term is disaster recovery, in a wider context than just IT, but disaster recovery nonetheless to get communities and organisations back to normal as soon as possible. Longer term is disaster rebuilding, involving the restoration of resources in a way that will make them less vulnerable to the earthquakes that sooner or later will inevitably follow. So who does the rebuilding – and how? (more…)
Let’s stop talking technical for a moment. Although the quality of IT disaster recovery depends on which technologies are used and how, we sometimes fall into the trap of assuming that innovation and specifications are all we need to optimise DR for our business. Cloud services are a case in point. Yet taking a moment to understand the business impact (whatever that impact is) is essential if you want to make sure that not only are you doing things right, but that you are also doing the right things. (more…)
If you think your organisation is in an earthquake-free zone, you may be right – up to a point. From a purely local point of view, your site may never have experienced the slightest tremor or be likely to. On the other hand, you may also be using suppliers for raw materials or components that are located in areas where strong seismic activity occurs. If these suppliers are key ones for meeting your needs, then their disasters become your disasters. Your disaster recovery plan can then reflect that, possibly using green, yellow, orange and red classifications accordingly.
You’ve probably already seen QR codes many times. A QR code typically looks like a bit of computer-generated art in a square, printed in magazines, on cereal packets, on buses, and so on. What’s the link with disaster recovery plans? Simple enough. The use of smartphones is increasing, and so are the opportunities for enabling disaster recovery operations via smartphones. Smartphones also read QR codes, thanks to their integrated camera and QR reader software (standard on many models). The logical step is then to make the QR code add value to the DR process. But how?
Every so often discussions arise outside the domain of disaster recovery plans, but that trigger thought-provoking questions. One recent example was about the extent to which backup tapes destined for DR were accessible or not for legal information discovery. This is the procedure whereby the databases of an organisation can be searched by the opposite side in court cases, the aim being to uncover evidence that, as the saying goes, “may be taken down and used against you”. Depending on jurisdictions, information archival tapes may be fair game, while DR tapes are not. But to what extent can data remain inaccessible to discovery without creating difficulties for the organisation itself?
Using networks of resources as part of business continuity plans can make sense, if those networks are available. Large enterprises wanting to make hot or cold standby back-up data centres part of their BC strategy have sometimes tried to pool resources with other companies, in order to reduce the high expenses. Banks in particular have sought agreements to be able to access redundant IT installations of another bank in the event that disaster struck too much of their own operations. However, that still left the knotty problem of getting employees back to work if an organisation’s site in general became unavailable.
With the emphasis in disaster recovery planning on safeguarding and restoring data, it may sound strange to talk about deliberate data destruction. After all, isn’t that the exact opposite of what DR teams in businesses are trying to achieve? However, like the yin and the yang of the universe, destroying data is a natural counterpart to safeguarding data. Not only can old or stale data confuse and pollute information searches, but it can also adversely impact the efficiency of DR and even expose companies to legal problems they could do without. The question is then not “if”, but “how” – how do you throw data out?
Now that people in many organisations expect to be able to use their own mobile computing devices at work, it may be time to update business continuity plan best practices. At the moment, the BYOD (Bring Your own Device) challenge seems to have caught enterprises on the hop. Managing the use of tablets and smartphones when they were issued by the company was already a challenge. Trying to cope with devices brought in by employees has raised the level of difficulty yet higher. How will organisations encourage productivity without laying themselves open to breaches of data security that could destroy the business continuity they seek to create? (more…)