Why Is DR/BC More Important Today? Check the Weather Channel

Carl Weinschenk

It seems almost certain that the dire weather-related headlines this summer are out of the ordinary. Massive wildfires have impacted much of the Midwest, while a serious drought covers much of the country.

All of this means that companies should be double- and triple-checking their disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC) infrastructures and plans. The myopic view could be that the drought isn’t the type of problem upon which DR/BC specialists focus. That is an exercise in denial, however. A drought is a disaster that deserves attention, especially a drought that is as widespread as the one the nation currently is experiencing. The difference between a drought and a tornado is that one proceeds more slower than the other. It can be just as deadly.

This piece at Computerworld starts with the supposition that things are more serious this year. It suggests that one of the assumed solutions — use of commercial cloud computing services — may not be all it’s cracked up to be. The story points out that companies such as WhatsYourPrice.com ended their relationship with Amazon Web Services after storm-related problems interrupted services for two, two-hour periods.

In the big picture, however, the basics of why use of the cloud is a recommended DR/BC tool doesn’t change: Companies should have their data and vital applications housed at geographically dispersed locales. That’s what the cloud brings to the table, and use of a commercial provider is only one approach to achieving that goal. In other words, the strategy — geographically diverse services — is solid. One tactic to achieve that is a commercial cloud service, but there are others. FalconStor’s Darrell Riddle gets into some of the issues revolving around DR/BC and data storage in this Sys-Con Media commentary.

OPEN Forum has an interesting piece that ranks the natural disaster potential for major metropolitan areas in the United States. The list — from The New York Times and DisasterSafety.org — is surprising. From first to fifth, the most dangerous are Dallas; Shreveport; Birmingham, Ala.; Miami and New York City. On a side note, as a New York-area resident, I question whether the area is top five. Clearly, New York City should be first for danger from terrorists, but the weather — while not always pleasant — doesn’t seem to be as severe as many other places. Regardless, the piece is a reminder that businesses must consider precisely where they are when DR/BC planning.

Virtually nobody would argue that DR/BC isn’t important. The good news is that a few of the issues that kept it from the top of the agenda are shifting. The deluge of data makes new network capabilities necessary. The emergence of cloud computing is enlarging IT tool chests. The two dovetail nicely: Changes are necessary and great new technologies are available for planners making them. A forward-thinking IT department can improve the organization's readiness for emergencies. The icing on the cake is that the almost undeniable increase in weather-related disasters makes the need to take advantage of such opportunities a no-brainer.

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