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Tips for disaster-proofing your messaging system

Aug 26, 20032 mins
Backup and RecoveryEnterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* In a disaster, the best place for your messaging system is somewhere else

Everyone knows e-mail is a mission-critical part of just about every information-based enterprise. As the “Blaster” worm and the power blackout in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada so clearly demonstrated, e-mail can be brought to a sudden and grinding halt in an instant.

We’re in the midst of a survey asking organizations about spam, disaster recovery and other messaging-related issues. What we’re finding is that a major catastrophic event, such as a long-term power blackout or a terrorist attack, would have a serious impact on the ability of organizations to use their messaging systems.

For example, while about 30% of organizations could bring their messaging systems back online within four hours after such an event, more than 35% of organizations would not be able to do so for more than eight hours. About one in seven organizations don’t know how long it would take to bring the messaging system back to more or less normal operation.

What can be done to make sure a messaging system survives a disaster? One of the best ways is to use a hosted messaging provider that provides backup power and robust data security practices to make sure that the system stays up and running. Mi8, for example, last week said its customers experienced no interruptions either from the blackout or the Blaster worm.

Another way is to use a back-up messaging system designed specifically for disaster recovery situations, such as MessageOne’s Emergency Messaging System. MessageOne advertises that it provided emergency messaging services for 25,000 customers affected by either the blackout or the Blaster worm.

Yet another approach is to use a hosted security provider that provides antivirus, antispam and other filtering services. Many of these services will store messages in the event that a customer’s e-mail servers go down. Once the e-mail servers come back online, the service will then send the stored messages. FrontBridge Technologies, for example, did this for customers that were affected by the blackout and is advertising that while affected customers’ messages were delayed, none were lost.

In short, organizations need to put systems in place to make sure that their messaging system – or at least their messages – are up and running as quickly as possible after, or even during, a disaster.