Only a year after the most powerful earthquake ever to have hit Japan...
Only a year after the most powerful earthquake ever to have hit Japan and the ensuing tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima, it seems incredible some organisations in the country remain blas about the need for disaster recovery. Thats symptomatic of a reactive mindset that waits for problems to happen and then deals with the fallout, rather than proactively anticipating eventualities that might come up and mitigating the risks.
Now we're not saying that organisations should always be expecting the worst, but we do have a responsibility to our employees, to our shareholders or stakeholders, and most importantly to our businesss future to ensure we can continue functioning through and after a disaster. At the same time, it's only natural to want something today in return for IT investments, rather than ploughing money into protecting against something that we hope never happens.
Thats why the concept of the continuity continuum is so important. This is the idea that, at a lower level, continuity services can provide day-to-day protection and access to IT resources as well as the assurance of failover in the event of a disaster. How does this work?
Firstly, having access to a back-up copy of enterprise applications in the specific operating environment can be used for quality assurance and user acceptance testing. Patches and software updates can be tested in the cloned environment as it exactly mirrors the production environment, and any problems that need ironing out can be done before the upgrade makes it into production proactive, not reactive.
Secondly, for those who perhaps don't have a fully mirrored or replicated environment, putting in place a high availability architecture ensures that the impact of day-to-day outages can be minimized. The risks of network downtime or serious data loss can still be hugely disruptive in a variety of business scenarios in a call centre environment that experiences a high volume of calls, or an order-taking website that is storing large numbers of customer details. High availability and data replication protect against these issues.
There are a whole set of complementary continuity services that work together to protect the enterprise IT environment from day-to-day issues including security and downtime to one-off disaster scenarios. By thinking about this as a continuum, organisations can proactively invest and deliver benefits today, in the confidence that they are protected for tomorrows worst-case scenario disaster.
3 thoughts on "The continuity continuum"
- This post makes an excellent point about the need for proactive disaster mitigation. I realise that for some companies it may seem to be an unnecessary expense, but I guarantee that should, god forbid, your business experience a disaster, you will be grateful that you planned ahead. Having been in this situation myself, I can honestly say that if I'd not had a plan in place, I would no longer have my business. So be proactive! It's worth it in the long-term!
- Continuity plans needn't be horrendously expensive. As mentioned above, there are complementary continuity services available. Even a basic plan to ensure your systems are banked-up, and your data can be accessed remotely should there be a system failure, if well worth having. Granted, it won't help in every situation, but with the majority of a business' data stored electronically now, a back-up system is an absolute necessity.
- I wonder how many organisations in Japan remain blas about disaster recovery.
Japans level of preparedness was unique: it remains the only country in the world with a network of earthquake sensors scattered around territorial waters, tuned to give vital minutes of warning in the event of a tsunami. Transport systems shut down rapidly as a result, preventing much worse damage. Internet access seems to have been highly resilient (partly by design).
The really painful long-term damage seems to have been wreaked on human beings and the physical environment, not IT infrastructure.
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Typically, of course, the success (or otherwise) of disaster recovery plans revolves around decisions taken by human beings.
After the tsunami, an investigative committee of the Japanese diet (parliament) criticised TEPCO, the utility responsible for the Fukushima plant. Among TEPCOs sins: a biased calculation process and arbitrary interpretation of probability theory, which led managers ignore the need for counterme
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Posted in IT services Post Date 01/09/2015