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What A Super Bowl Power Outage Teaches Us About Backup And Security

Super Bowl XLVII may be known as the 'Blackout Bowl,' but it's actually a great example of backup and redundant systems.

2013’s Super Bowl XLVII was memorable for more than the Baltimore Ravens’ win over the San Francisco 49ers – it serves as a modern example of a successful, secure fail-safe system.

Fail-safe systems ensure continued operation when a primary system fails and are crucial to success in all IT systems, particularly concerning security protocol.

The game became known as the ’Blackout Bowl’ when the New Orleans Superdome suffered a partial power outage early in the third quarter.

’After Hurricane Katrina, when New Orleans knew it was going to be hit with more hurricanes, they rebuilt the Superdome, and they built it in a way in which the system would assume that there would be a generator breakdown just because of the nature of winds and water and everything else,’ said security expert and Department of Homeland Security adviser Juliette Kayyem. ’And they built it in a way in which they protected the other half of the Superdome. In other words, the cascading losses are actually cut off.’

While fans may have been unimpressed by the 22-minute power outage at the time, Kayyem said it was an excellent example of how preparing systems for the worst prevents a total disaster.

’People like me are watching and saying, ’That’s an awesome fail-safe system,’ " she said.

The Superdome’s utility company, Entergy, blamed the outage on a problem in interconnection equipment.

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