2011 Floods and IT Disaster Recovery Planning

Disaster Recovery
May 12 , 2011
| Greg Spencer

Beyond Technology Consulting has already made a substantial donation to the victims of the disastrous Queensland floods, however the concern about the lessons learnt from the disaster remain. We are already hearing about Queensland business’s facing ruin, not due to the direct loss, but due to their inability to recovery core systems in a timely manner. Many organisations are only finding out now that their backup system has been ineffective, their recovery process is reliant on a staff member that can’t get to work or their 3rd party service provider has proactively entered receivership.

The time to consider your disaster recovery capabilities is not just after you have suffered a business ending catastrophe, but at a point when you can muster the required broad executive attention and when rational business focused decisions can be made about your organisations risk appetite. Organisations like Beyond Technology Consulting can quickly and efficently consider your existing capabilities, understand your business requirements and make recommendations about risk mitigation strategies that you should consider.

I am pleased to report that many of our Queensland clients remain unaffected (IT wise) by recent events, and those that have been inundated have used their pragmatic recovery plans based on our advice to recover IT services within the service levels negotiated with the business. The combination of remote VPN access, Cloud services, Virtualised recovery servers and over-the-network  backup services have proved their value and utility. Unfortunately many large organisations that have relied on the traditional central five nines datacentre approach to disaster avoidance have been less lucky. We have heard of at least two major datacentres that either had their basement diesel generators turned off due to electrical safety concerns, or had them “go dark” due to logistical issues caused by the longevity of access restrictions.

While the politicians focus on the loss of life caused by the flooding, those responsible for the governance of IT systems and departments should focus on the potential loss of livelihoods. A decision to not mitigate a business ending event risk can be a viable business decision, the failure of a business due to the absence of a decision is an avoidable tragedy. Make 2011 the year that Australian business took charge of its responsibility to its staff, shareholders, customers and suppliers and ask the question, “What is the hidden risk in our IT infrastructure?”

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