• United States

Don’t wait for a disaster

Sep 03, 20033 mins
Data Center

* The best time to prepare for a disaster is before it happens, not after

I find it interesting how major events drive people to take notice of management issues. For example, the recent widespread power outage in the northeastern U.S. raised the visibility of disaster recovery and business continuity. Then there’s the security buzz surrounding the Sobig.F worm. Neither of these events is particularly new to us – viruses and their variants have been around for quite awhile, and power outages happen around the world. But why does it take events like these to spark an interest in management?

Perhaps it’s human nature, the “It’ll never happen to me” kind of thinking. Or a lack of budget or time resulting in, “We never quite got to that item in the list.” Or simply gambling with the odds – “The chances are slight that a disaster could hit me, so I won’t invest the money to prepare for that one-in-a-million event.” But what happens when it does hit you?

If we are proactive, these events wouldn’t phase us as much as they do. Certainly some adjustments will need to be made, but the phase-shift in interest that we see in response to events is not a good sign.

You’d have an excuse to be unprepared if one day a Martian ship swooped down, destroyed all of your data centers, fried all of your electronic gear and took your data center staff captive. There isn’t a precedent for an event like this ever happening before, so preparing against it would have been unforeseen. So reacting to an event such as this is understandable.

But that certainly isn’t the case for a power outage.

So my question is, how many other kinds of events are we not prepared for, that will become the next big hot issue that we’ve been ignoring, wishing that it won’t happen or hoping it will go away?

If you haven’t already, be sure to review your contingency/business continuity plans periodically to make sure your plans are still effective and relevant. Set up a process for applying software patches quickly once they’ve been tested. Update your virus software regularly. Daily maintenance tasks and contingency tasks are both important aspects of keeping your infrastructure healthy and resilient. And, by the way, how you’ve set up your infrastructure can have a direct bearing on how resilient your infrastructure is to these events.

Take a good look at where your potential vulnerability is, whether it’s a virus attack, a power outage, or something else. Then put plans in place to mitigate the risk just in case the event does actually happen. You may be glad you’ve spent the time to do this when an event happens and you come out of it unscathed. Or you could be the goat if you haven’t planned ahead. Don’t be a disaster waiting to happen.