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Information technology disaster prevention

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Peter Thompson
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It is a commonly accepted fact that information technology ‘disasters’ cause significant interruption to normal business operations. At best this interruption refers to a decrease in productivity; at worst it can result in the forced closure of a company.

Backup technology companies often refer to a ‘disaster’ as being the primary reason for firms to maintain quality backups of their data. In most businesses, computers and the data they store play a major role in the business’s ability to function effectively.

Based on the fact you are already reading this article, you will be aware of the value of your company’s data, and you are most probably in the process of evaluating more effective ways to manage it.

If you have ever experienced a significant IT interruption within your business, you will appreciate the value of preventative action. Being able to provide definitive answers and smart solutions in the event of a business interruption protects the company, and its ongoing business activities.

A business fortunate enough to have never experienced a disaster might consider the following six potential information technology interruptions.

1. Natural disaster

Different parts of Australia represent varying likelihoods of a natural disaster occurring. Large-scale examples might include environmental calamities that will cause major physical damage to servers or backup systems. However a disaster does not need to occur on a large scale in order to adversely affect a business’s operations – office fires, building fires, flooding or water damage can all cause a major interruption to operations.

2. Hardware failure

Server failure is not unusual. Motherboards, hard drives, and other equipment will fail intermittently. Your hardware is probably under warranty, but the resumption of a fully functioning system will depend on your warranty type and the maintenance contract you have in place with your provider(s). The level of importance you place on your business systems will dictate the level of system redundancy and the service agreements you have in place.

3. Media failure

Media failure includes such instances as faulty media tapes. Businesses do not always replace their media on a regular basis and, like all consumables, tape media has a limited life-span.

4. Incompatible media – drive failure

Many tape drives still used in companies are old and no longer supported by the manufacturer. This creates the risk of backup drive failure and the ensuing difficulty of sourcing a replacement drive to restore the data.

5. Backup overwrites

Data conscious companies will usually backup daily, once a week and then once per month with the same media. This backup strategy implies that backups older than one month do not exist. Deletions or corruptions that date back to before this time will be permanent and recovery of the correct data is impossible. This is an example of the common issue of a backup strategy which is not designed to protect the business’s long-term historical data – often the result of a decision to not regularly purchase, archive and label media.

6. Data that is not backed up at all

The configuration of backups is not a simple task. Often, employees without the qualifications to effectively manage a company’s data are responsible for setting and configuring the backups. Media is often not changed and the configuration does not backup all server data.

Prevention is the appropriate cure

Developing internal policies for managing a company’s data is time-consuming and distracts from the business’s core issues. A self-managed, comprehensive data protection strategy is expensive and often prohibitive for small and medium-sized businesses.

More and more businesses are finding that adopting a managed, online backup service that merges a local backup with a cloud backup, addresses their issues of potential IT disruptions. The managed backup service provides the cost-effective and definitive answers they require by providing a local backup of their data via an on-site vault and then two remote backups which are held in geographically separate data centres. As businesses grow, and as their data requirements increase, a managed, online backup service will continue to support their needs.

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About Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson founded GCOMM in 1996. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering/Information Systems from Griffith University and his MBA from Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Holland. He believes in building great teams of people, both in business and socially.
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