High Availability: The Next Challenge

We need to design and build “resiliency” into everything we deliver within the IT organization. With increased denial of service attacks, 7/24 system operations becoming the norm, network communications becoming the business, etc., a strong IS recovery capability is a critical component for corporate success. Have your Web site go down for a few days and you’ll see the impact of poor disaster recovery processes.

Executive management needs to be made aware of this need for investment in high-availability capability, and IT shops must make a dedicated and sustained effort in improving their overall response capabilities.

I recently attended a presentation given by a senior representative from disaster-recovery experts ComDisco and wanted to pass along the key message regarding high availability: “CIOs must alter their thinking about their approach to availability”.

• The old paradigm is “Experience and React”. Things happen; we react; the organization is affected.

• The new way of thinking must be “Anticipate and Adjust”. Things still happen, but their effect is neutralized; the organization feels little or no effect.

Next step: review your recent IT expenditures and the current budget allocation for disaster recovery and high availability to check out what level of investment has been given to this important area. Note: While disaster recovery has always been a “top ten” priority, it’s usually ranked eighth or maybe seventh. Perhaps it’s time to change that rating.

Sites of the Month

The featured site this month is http://www.globalcontinuity.com – “the” portal for business risk and continuity planning. Membership is free and gives you unlimited access to a wealth of risk and continuity related information, including the latest global news, events, courses, knowledge, links and a range of on-line products and services.

Assisting your “high availability” management efforts since 1989, the Rothstein Catalog on Disaster Recovery has been the industry’s principal source for hundreds of books, software tools, videos and research reports. Visit the site at http://www.DisasterRecoveryBooks.com.

If you really want to batten down the hatches, check out The Perfect Storm Plan, based on the efforts of FEMA, NOAA Weather Service, Coast Guard, U.S. Corps of Engineers, and other agencies, it is at http://www.accessamerica.gov/docs/perfectstorm.html.

If your tastes run to hard copy, check out the book “Business Continuity: Best Practices”, by Andrew Hiles. It is available at http://www.rothstein.com/data/dr470f.htm.

Noted John Sharp, CEO of The Business Continuity Institute (BCI), “This is the first book to provide a planning, development and implementation framework for business continuity based on the Ten Core Units of Competence jointly formulated by BCI and the Disaster Recovery Institute.”

Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery

Association of Contingency Planners:


Business Continuity Information Centre:


Business & Industry Council for Emergency Planning and Preparedness:


Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness:


Contingency Planning Exchange:


Disaster Resource Guide Online:


Disaster Recovery Information Exchange:


Disaster Recovery Journal:


Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership:


Federal Emergency Management Agency (US):


Global Continuity:


International Association of Emergency Managers:


South Western Ontario DRIE Chapter:


Dan Swanson is a management consultant with LGS Group in Winnipeg. He specializes in audit and management consulting and can be reached at dswanson@lgs.ca