Feeling Secure

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Do you remember all the concern and spending around Y2K? The Y2K equivalent for 2002 will be business continuity planning and the security, disaster-recovery, infrastructure and storage products associated with it.

Y2K was really the first time IT purchasing decisions were elevated to the CEO level. CEOs became aware of IT and the business implications of not building a proper network. IT was a critical component and a differentiating factor in a company's success or failure.

KELLEY DAMORE Can be reached at (781) 839-1272 or via e-mail at kdamore@cmp.com.

In light of the events of the last four months and the onslaught of viruses plaguing corporate America, security and business continuity planning are again reaching the executive suites of companies both large and small.

I remember being in a meeting late last summer to formulate our own business continuity plan, an exercise requested by corporate. At the time, it seemed silly, even ludicrous, to think that our building could burn down or we'd experience a tornado, destroying our existing infrastructure.

Nevertheless, we addressed the necessary questions: How could we produce CRN if such an event occurred? What facility would we go to? Did we have the proper equipment? What would be the chain of command? Who would communicate and oversee the process if such an event occurred? I went through the motions of outlining a rudimentary plan.

One week later, the tragedies of Sept. 11 occurred. All of a sudden, the scenarios I once thought impossible seemed very possible.

I don't think I am alone in my thinking before and after 9/11. Everyone is being forced to evaluate their business continuity plans. Smart solution providers and consultants are building best practices around risk management, security and disaster recovery. They are investing in training and certification for products from Check Point, RSA and Symantec, among others. They are offering services to evaluate networks and distributed systems to identify vulnerabilities and offer backup plans in the event of an emergency.

In a difficult market, investing in this area could mean the difference between reporting a profit or a loss in 2002.

Do you agree? I can be reached at (781) 839-1272 or via e-mail at kdamore@cmp.com.

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