Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Server Fires and Data Loss

There are just certain things in IT or the data center industry you don't want to hear - and fire and 'data loss' are two of them. There were a couple of lessons learned from fire and data loss stories recently and I post them here for just that reason - to learn from them.

The University of North Carolina Greensboro had one heck of a Friday last week. In a little under two hours they experienced two fires in the McNutt data center. After the first fire they were unable to determine the cause and staff investigating a short while later witnessed a server burst into flames, starting the alerts and emergency procedures all over again.
The root cause of the events was traced to a single server that overheated and likely burned up a wiring harness first (which produced the first event) and then continued to run until it blew up its power supply (which produced the second event). This was a new server that was not under load, and we believe this was caused by a manufacturer’s defect.
See their site for complete details of the event.

Managed Healthcare services provider Health Net notified their insurer earlier this week that 9 server drives were "missing" from their data center in Rancho Cordova, California. A California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) statement later confirmed that nearly 845,000 Health Net customers in California were impacted by the breach.... and that they will be investigating it. A statement from Health Net said:
"After a forensic analysis, Health Net has determined that personal information of some former and current Health Net members, employees and health care providers is on the drives, and may include names, addresses, health information, Social Security numbers and/or financial information."
There are certainly many case studies to learn from involving data breaches and in my opinion it builds the case for following ITIL guidelines and making sure your data center provider or IT staff are acutely tuned to their processes and operational excellence. The Ponemon Institute released a report recently on the U.S Cost of a data breach and stated that the cost "reached $214 per compromised record and averaged $7.2 million per data breach event."

Then there is the Cloud and security and data protection. As Alton Brown says - that's another show.

However - this article from CEO Jesse Lipson on Forbes is very nice and discusses how safe your data is in the cloud and some key questions to ask vendors to ensure protection.

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