IT Best Practices

9/11: Top lessons learned for disaster recovery

What lessons have we gained as a field from 9/11? This article by Lucas Mearian examines some of the top names in the IT field to identify what’s changed and what’s become better. For instance, Gartner recognized how “workforce resilience”   plays a major role in how well employees handle disasters. This resilience is based very strongly on how well the company provides for their employees: is internet service provided at home? Are employees cognizant of how to use the VPN and communicate while working from home? These are the ways IT organizations can strengthen the response and productivity of staff during and after disaster events. There are tools now at the disposal of IT that help mitigate some of the risks — for instance, cloud computing. With cloud computing you aren’t strictly keeping all data within a physical location on-site (or even in state), thereby mitigating the possibility of complete data loss from a single location. Even this, however, isn’t a silver bullet: Today, a combination of public and private cloud services offer a more robust protection scheme where the most critical business data – that which is needed to keep revenue coming in – is replicated to a service provider or stored in a corporate cloud accessible from any location. Public clouds are particularly advantageous for small-to medium-sized businesses because the services offer enterprise-class disaster recovery capabilities at a cost that’s affordable. But, experts warn companies not to hog the bandwidth. The more data they want to recover, the more it’ll cost. So they should store only what’s needed to get the business running again — not up to full speed. Business also now considers IT risk as an overall risk — something that was perhaps gaining ground before the attacks but is now well understood to be a consideration. There is also the requirements brought about by the Patriot Act, requiring companies to have an ability to flag suspicious transactions and customers. While it’s hard to see what good came of such a horrific day in American history, it is possible to reflect on what kind of changes occurred and what the implications are of those changes. The lessons learned from 9/11 serve to prepare companies with robust and far reaching disaster recovery plans.

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