If anyone has ever lost data either for their personal use or business, they should know how frustrating it is to have important information forever gone.
- [Instructor] In taking this course, hopefully we can prevent this from happening to you. If you are one of the unfortunate ones that has ever lost data, either for their personal use or a business, you know how frustrating it is to have important information forever gone with the wind. Anyone that has ever experienced data loss should find this course helpful. And for those that have never lost any information, then hopefully the material covered in this course will prevent you from doing so.
One time years ago, when I was working on my undergraduate degree, two other students and myself were working on our final class project for this particular course. Like all good undergraduate business students of that time, we were planning a pretend real estate project, not to make money, but just to survive a very demanding business professor. He was a multimillionaire who had made his fortune in real estate. So needless to say, he was very scrutinizing of one's work. So there we were, gathered around one computer, using a word editing program, yes, a word editing program on a digital dumb terminal, when all of a sudden, an unexpected thunderstorm came up.
With one roll of thunder and one lightning strike, the storm caused a power spike, and needless to say, we had not saved our document. Those 20-some pages of our final project was immediately vaporized. We just sat there in total disbelief, self-pity, and in our own frustration for not backing up our document. We had spent all day writing this document, and now we were going to have to start all over again. So we did. And into the late hours of the night, we went, and into the following day, just to try and recapture where we were.
Needless to say, after that, I learned to save documents frequently and back them up as well. Another time I recall was when I was a CIO for an organization. A few years back, our lead network administrator came into my office to tell me that the Microsoft mail server had just crashed and that the server needed to be rebuilt. You have to understand that, at that time, each users mail or inbox was in an email folder rather than in one database as they are today.
So for the 600 or so email accounts that we had at that time, there was a folder that contained all of each person's email, kind of like your file directory structure that you use on your systems today. After explaining the nature of the server crash, I told him not to worry. We'll just rebuild the server and restore the email from backup. At that time, our process was to do a complete backup of all our email server each night, and we had two weeks of tapes in our storage array before we started them over again.
I didn't understand the reason for his drama because we were prepared. We had a plan and a strategy. We would just rebuild the server, restore the email from our storage array, and be back in business in a couple of hours. We started rebuilding the server, and everything went as planned, a perfect textbook case. This took about an hour and a half because we started from scratch, building the server from the ground up to ensure everything was right and there were no hidden surprises.
We then tried to restore the email. All of the email accounts appeared to have restored correctly except for one little problem, no emails. We wiped the data and tried the restore again, same outcome. So we tried to restore a third time. Again, the same failing result. Well, you know what the definition of insanity is, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, and we were living it.
Our network administrator got on the phone with Microsoft, and I got on the phone with our storage solution provider, and we began troubleshooting. One thing I had learned for sure is that when you have multiple support entities, get them all together and troubleshoot the problem. If you don't, you will end up with a lot of it's their problem and finger pointing while your customer is held hostage to the situation and being stuck in the middle, not to mention the numerous phone calls you'll have to make to each support contractor, and have to rehash the situation with every new support technician that gets involved.
Microsoft and our storage provider walked us through the same process that we had been through now three times, again, with the same result. Now they started scratching their heads. This is not good. Finally, after three escalations and about four hours, one of their engineers realized that a switch was set incorrectly. As soon as the switch was set correctly, data started flowing, and I mitigated a massive coronary and was allowed to keep my job.
This taught me a lesson, that it is not only important to back up your data but also to be able to restore your data at the most inopportune time. So from that point forward, we tested our backup and restore procedures weekly, just to make sure we would not encounter such an experience again. I know that some of you would say, "Now, Bob, that was over the top." And it probably was. But once you go through an incident, particularly with email, since that is a company's lifeblood and you know just how close you came to losing all of your email in your company or organizational history, you can become overly cautious.
Today in business, it is critical to ensure that your data is backed up frequently, stored securely, and is retrievable in a time of crisis. This is one situation where you do not want to be managing by hope. When you look at the number of intrusions companies and organizations have had over the last few years, how many administrators do not keep their systems currently patched or have a formal change management process? I have to believe that many do not have an adequate backup strategy.
And if they do, I question if they are testing their backup and restore capability to ensure that it is fully functional. Again, hopefully this course will help you keep your information from being gone with the wind. Let's now take a look at business continuity plans.
This course was created and produced by Mentor Source, Inc. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Disaster recovery
- Backup plans
- Information risks
- Off-site storage
- Restore procedures