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Data Protection: A Burning Issue
By: Michael Lowry
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    2007-11-28

    Table of Contents:
  • Data Protection: A Burning Issue
  • Basic Data Center Protection
  • The FIRELOCK Experience
  • Conclusion

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    Data Protection: A Burning Issue


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    I'm sure everyone remembers the devastating wildfires that burned through the southern part of California back at the end of October/beginning of November. This article will examine the effect that the wildfires had on tech companies in the area and how data protection has become more relevant with the recent spate of natural disasters capable of wiping out a company's entire base of operations. If you or your business are in disaster prone areas, then this article may interest you.

    At the time of this writing, it's been about two weeks since the California wildfires were brought somewhat under control and out of the mass media spotlight. All in all, the wildfires ended up burning an area at least twice the size of New York City and completely destroyed more than 2100 homes. So far, 10 people have died from the fires with officials still scouring the area. Clearly, the fires' impact on Southern California as a whole was far greater than the effect it had on business. However, just to be thorough, I will sidetrack from the loss of life and steer toward data loss instead.

    Because of the sheer danger of the fires and the mass evacuations that were ordered, many businesses had to implement contingency plans in order to remain operational. In particular, software as a service provider, Kintera, used a fault tolerant system (a system that continues to operate in the event of a failure how well it operates depends on the severity of the failure) and redundant data centers that allowed employees to easily switch their operations from San Diego. Also, the backup storage provider, Overland Storage, was able to function using their company wide intranet (a private computer network that uses basic Internet protocol to securely share organizational information with its employees).

    Even Pepperdine University, which saw fires come within 100 feet of their data center, was able to secure their data by frequently having their backup tapes sent to a storage services provider and locking the current ones in a fireproof safe with all of their hard drives.

    Just after the fires, managed hosting provider Layered Technologies and platform developer 3tera announced that they would provide assistance to the tech companies affected by the fires. They offered free virtual private data centers and servers to those companies without reliable backup plans for 90 days. These companies were lucky to have such support, but this kind of thing can't be expected in the face of a disaster.

    One can only imagine the feeling of watching not just your business headquarters, but all the data within go up in flames. This is why it's crucial to have proper data protection within your computer and data center. Most data centers are fashioned with a basic internal fire suppression system that protects the machines within the room itself, but once the fire gets into the server room, a whole new system of protection is needed.

    The next section will cover the most necessary steps for basic data center protection.

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