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Auto Run Command Question
I'm burning business card cd's of my website and want to add the command to make the index page open when inserted into the cd tray and show an icon on this file.

Shuttle XPC
Shuttle have now introduced barebones for use with Athlon64's (yes I know this is old news), but I was wondering what results people have had with them? In particular, what is their "ICE" heat pipe like? Can it cope with serious overclocking?

How often do you defrag?
I am just interested in how often you all defragment your hard drives. We are all design professionals using very large and numerous files so obviously fragmentation happens regularly and at a greater volume than perhaps your average IT professional.



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04.20.05


Disaster Recovery: A Critical Business Issue

By John Plain

In today's environment, the effects of a long-term operations outage could have catastrophic consequences to an organization, making contingency planning a critical business issue rather than exclusively a data processing issue.

Historically, it is the IT staff that has been assigned the responsibility for developing the disaster recovery plan for the entire organization. However; this segmentation has led to the implementation of recovery plans that restore computing resources in such a way as to potentially be unresponsive to the needs of the business they support. The success and cost effectiveness of a Business Continuity Plan depends on close cooperation from all areas of the company and, to a great extent, on the ability of executive management to view its implementation as an essential element of daily business operations.

The Disaster Recovery Institute defines a disaster as a sudden, unplanned event that creates an inability on an organization's part to provide the critical business functions for some predetermined period of time and which results in great damage or loss. As evidenced by our recent history, the unplanned event can come from either natural or man made causes. Hardware or system malfunction (44%), human error (32%), software corruption or program malfunction (14%), computer viruses (7%), and natural disasters (3%) are the leading causes of data loss as published by Ontrack Data International. The objective of Business continuity planning is to recover mission-critical processes as quickly as possible following the disruption event to mitigate its duration and costs.

Who needs a Business Continuity Plan? - Everyone. According to the Disaster Recovery Journal, of those companies that experience a significant data loss, 43% go out of business within the first year, 72% within three years, and a full 93% close their doors within 5 years of the event. The principle reason for this is data. Data is the most difficult of all infrastructure components to replace. It is information that is crucial, and the access to and integrity of that information that must be protected. Within any organization, information should be considered an asset based on the value it provides. Below are several questions that all organizations should be able to answer. If not, then a Business Continuity project is overdue.

  • How long can you withstand an outage without losing significant revenue, market share, customer satisfaction, or reputation?

  • Have you identified what resources are critical to the daily operation of your company or organization (e-mail, custom applications, office space, etc.)?

  • Do you have adequate redundancy built in to critical components of your environment?

  • Are you currently backing up your critical data on a regular schedule and securing the media at an off-site location?

  • Have you ever tested the integrity of your backups by conducting a restore simulation?

  • Do you have a documented Business Continuity or Business Resumption plan endorsed by senior management in case of a disaster (natural or otherwise)?

  • Do you have a change control process in place to keep your continuity plan current with process, organizational, and technology changes?

    After deciding to begin a business continuity plan project, there are three basic approaches an organization can choose to accomplish this objective.

    The first is to develop the plan internally using existing resources. The primary advantage of internal development is cost. Outside consultants can be quite expensive. Another benefit is the familiarity an internal staff will have with the company's business processes and technology infrastructure. Disadvantages to this approach are time and expertise. Business continuity plans done by internal staff generally take longer because they simply don't have the freedom to work on the plan full time. A plan done this way can linger long periods of time and lose momentum. Finally, an internal staff may not have the skills or expertise to develop a comprehensive plan. The business continuity learning curve can be extremely steep and difficult to overcome.

    The second approach taken by many companies is to hire a vendor or consultant to develop the business continuity plan. Outside experts bring a proven methodology to your plan that will guide your organization through the entire planning process. An established methodology usually results in shorter development time and a consistent set of deliverables. It also allows your existing IT staff to remain focused on other business objectives. Obviously, the main disadvantage to hiring outside consultants is cost.

    Using a combination of internal and external resources is the final approach when developing a business continuity plan. Combining the methodology and focus of a consultant with the internal knowledge of a current IT staff member may result in the most thorough and cost effective result. No matter which road you choose to take, the end result should be the same - a business continuity plan the meets your needs and one that you have confidence in should it become necessary to execute.

    Business continuity is so vital to business success now that it can no longer remain a concern of the IT staff alone. The time, money, and customer confidence that can be lost due to downtime or business interruption can seriously damage a company of any size both in the short and long term. The risks are even greater for e-businesses and companies that operate in the 24-hour, 7-day-a-week environment. To assure their survival, companies must protect both business processes and critical information by implementing corporate-wide business continuity programs.

    For more information on disaster preparedness or recovery or any of the other Networking services offered by ICS Advantage email info@icsadvantage.com or visit www.icsadvantage.com/networking.asp

    About the Author:
    John Plain began his technology career in 1990 with Computer Sciences Corporation selling Fortune 100 outsourcing agreements. John recently joined ICS Advantage, LLC in Aurora, Illinois focusing on internet security and communications solutions aimed at the small to medium business market.

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