Your Company Against Disaster
In our last episode, we laid out the scary part – the
vulnerability of your IT infrastructure. Most companies have data that is spread
across servers, workstations, laptops, PDAs, floppy disks, CDs, sticky notes,
and bar napkins. It is exactly this kind of fragmentation that makes the
recovery from even a small disaster difficult, if not impossible.
In much the same way that you (hopefully) maintain your body to make it
resistant to infection, deep fried food, and just one more before last call,
your automation infrastructure must be conditioned to take a hit. Your data must
be consolidated to a server that is protected, well maintained, and has
the data you need then go find it wherever it is. Make sure that your server has
the storage space to hold it all and the speed and power to make it accessible
by everyone who needs to. This is a good time to think about how old your server
is, its warranty status, and whether its operating system has been patched to
all the latest versions, including security patches. Microsoft has a product
called the Baseline Security Analyzer, which can be downloaded free of charge
MICROSOFT (Click link to download) This program will analyze your servers
and workstations and list all security vulnerabilities, including standard
operating system patches. This will serve the dual purpose of getting your
server software up to snuff while at the same time installing all necessary
security patches. This utility should be run once a month.
server should also have electrical protection. It should have a “smart” UPS that
will shut it down properly in the event of power loss. The
purpose of the UPS is not to keep the server up and
running as long as possible; its only purpose is to perform a proper shutdown of
the server if main power is lost. The UPS battery should be tested periodically.
These batteries do go dead after a couple of years and
should be replaced as soon as that happens.
virus protection is essential to your entire organization. Every computer on
your network (and any computer that might be on your network, like a laptop, or
a home computer that dials in to the office) should have virus protection that
is regularly updated. Virus protection should also scan your incoming and
outgoing e-mail. If you have more than 5 computers on your network, you should
consider an enterprise version of anti virus software. Enterprise anti virus
software is managed by the server--updates and regular scans are centrally
controlled so that users don’t have to be responsible for it.
A study was done in which it was concluded that a computer hooked to the
Internet will be hacked within 6
seconds. Throughout the world, there are hackers at their stations, hopped up on
caffeine and candy bars, scanning IP addresses, looking for vulnerabilities.
What they do when they find one, unfortunately, is completely up to them.
Deleting your data, changing your administrative passwords, turning off your
anti virus protection, delivering a virus, and flooding your network with
packets that make it unusable are just some of the items in their bag of tricks.
If your network is connected to the Internet you must have a firewall for
protection. While it is true that some Internet service providers include a
firewall with their service, this is not something that can be left to others;
your firewall must be your own and managed by you. There are hardware and
software firewalls available; a combination of both is effective.
The simplest definition of a backup is this:
A complete copy of your data in another location.
Break that down into its Latin root and here’s
what you get:
1. A complete copy of your data. Any backup solution you implement must have
sufficient capacity to back up all of your data, not just some of it. It is
preferable that this backup be done in one pass, on one media, automatically,
2. In another location. Whether you use tapes, DVDs, or floppy disks, they
absolutely must leave your office every day. There are external hard drive or
network hard drive solutions that stay connected to your server and continually
back up your data. It is important to consider what happens if you have a fire
or other calamity that destroys your office. In one shot, your server and your
backup would be wiped out. If you use external drives for backup, get more than
one and rotate them.
3. Making a backup of all your data and storing it somewhere else isn’t the
whole story. If your office is destroyed, the tape or DVD that you have
carefully kept offsite becomes the most important piece of plastic you’ve got,
even more so than your corporate gold card. You have got to know that the media
is good, has data on it, and is recoverable. The best way to do this is to
regularly buy new tapes (once a year) and do periodic restores from the tapes
(once a month). This will make sure your backups go both ways.
By this point, if you have been playing along,
you have located your data, moved it to your server, built a wall around it of
operating system patches, virus protection, hacker neutralization, and
electrical fail-safes. You have set in place a daily backup of your server that
leaves the office just like you do. At the same time, you have made sure the
backup works by testing it regularly.
If you’re not nervous that all of your eggs are
in one power-protected basket, you should be. In our next installment, we will
talk about how to create a disaster plan.
of the CSM Family!
Crescent Springs, Kentucky
O.A.T.S - Ohio Aircraft Technician
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Disaster Recovery - Part 3
Creating Your Disaster Plan
know that CSM is 11 years old this year?
Computer Systems Management, Inc. is about
service and about taking the extra steps needed to form lasting
partnerships. In addition to helping our corporate clientele, CSM serves
the community by coordinating PC donations to low-income families and schools,
providing free training classes to "welfare to work" participants,
motivational assistance to GED students and on-the-job training to transitional
Systems Management Inc.;
2517 Anderson Road, Crescent Springs, Kentucky 41017
(859) 491-7947; Fax: (859) 392-2682
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