Will You Know Where Your Business Is If The Lights Go Out? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
11/23/2010
03:28 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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Will You Know Where Your Business Is If The Lights Go Out?

A recent study pointed out that fear of downtime outranked data theft among consequences of a data breach or other intrusion. There's a reason for that ranking, and it extends far beyond breaches.

A recent study pointed out that fear of downtime outranked data theft among consequences of a data breach or other intrusion. There's a reason for that ranking, and it extends far beyond breaches.According to a Trusted Strategies/Solera Networks survey of 200 security professionals, system or network downtime or outage was the top concern when dealing with the aftermath of a security incident.

It's no great leap to see that the concern applies to any kind of downtime, not just that caused by a breach of security.

The reason that downtime topped the list, according to survey respondents, was the awareness that downtime -- and especially the often chaotic process of recovering from it -- is something too many businesses are unprepared for.

For the IT professionals participating in the survey, the focus on consequences of a data breach were paramount. That downtime, associated with cleaning out systems, insuring that the systems actually are cleaned, then restoring the systems to full operational capability rightly tops security concerns... and you can be close to positive that it tops business concerns as well.

Despite those concerns, 25% of the respondents admitted that their companies were unprepared to deal with a breach and its consequences.

Which is at the heart of the fears, I believe. No one wants to experience a security incident or the downtime that follows it, but the fear is magnified by the awareness of how poorly prepared so many of us are to recover from the incident.

And that extends far beyond security breaches. Power outages, natural disasters, fires or other infrastructure damage, any number of unexpected situations that cause your systems to go dark, and risk leaving your business in the dark with them.

Ask yourself:

How prepared are you to restore your critical business systems to operational capability in the event of an outage?

How long would it take you to do so?

More critically, how much time would you and your staff have to spend putting together a plan for system restoration -- or, slightly less critically but all too typically of some businesses, putting your hands on the plan you do have prepared?

And above all:

How long could your business stay in business if your systems are down?

The answers you give to these questions will tell you a lot both about the nature of your business, and also about the nature of your understanding of the most serious risks your business faces, whether you ever face a serious incident or not.

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