IT systems operated by governments, hospitals, financial institutions and other businesses averted catastrophe, for the most part, as Hurricane and then Tropical Storm Irene stormed through the Eastern seaboard over the weekend.
A comprehensive electronic health records system enabled St. John's Regional Medical Center to continue aiding patients in the wake of a tornado that tore through the hospital, providing an important lesson in business continuity.
Minnesota faces a government shutdown Friday, and state CISO Chris Buse confronts unexpected barriers in preparing for it. No one yet knows what services the IT security organization must support once the midnight deadline passes.
Banks need to take a proactive approach toward improving their business continuity planning, and that includes updating services and evaluating business-impact assessments, says Donald Saxinger of the FDIC.
Recent hacks have uncovered security vulnerabilities that should have been addressed years ago. "These attacks are going to escalate," says Josh Corman of The 451 Group. But organizations can implement basic steps to make the hackers' job harder.
FDIC examiner Donald Saxinger says cloud computing can pose challenges when it comes to business continuity during disasters. Proactive vendor management, he says, is the best way to address potential hiccups before they become big problems.
Despite improvement in organizations' abilities to plan for and predict disasters, they still lack an effective response. In fact, the biggest gap in business continuity today is understanding, says Lyndon Bird, director at the Business Continuity Institute.
One of the unexpected impacts of the global economic crisis is that many organizations have lost their business resiliency, says Lyndon Bird, director of The Business Continuity Institute, headquartered in the U.K.
A key factor in ensuring that information technology is available in the wake of a disaster is cross-training IT staff to handle multiple roles, says Terrell Herzig, information security officer at UAB Medicine.
While Japan's nuclear emergency puts local citizens at risk, there is much that organizations globally can learn from the crisis. "I hope that all of us look at this and ask 'What can I do to be better prepared?'" says Regina Phelps, disaster recovery expert.
Global banking institutions can learn from Japan's disaster planning and response. And a sophisticated cyberattack is launched against RSA, targeting the security unit of EMC's SecurID two-factor authentication products.