Magazine article Risk Management

Computer Protection Should Not Be Left to Chance

Magazine article Risk Management

Computer Protection Should Not Be Left to Chance

Article excerpt

Computer Protection Should Not Be Left to Chance

Safeguarding computers and all the precious--and irreplaceable--data in a system is an integral part of protecting the assets of a company. Risk managers increasingly have become aware of the variety of risks of computer technology, especially when it comes to their company's data systems.

The first step to managing the liabilities of computer systems is to look at all of the company's exposures. "Look at all aspects of the company's computer use and seek estimates of the costs of disruption," advises Michael Gauthier, a consultant with the Lexington, MA-based Temple, Barker & Sloane, Inc. But be prepared for high estimates, he says, because in an information-intensive industries, such as the airlines, a computer disaster could easily shut down companies.

Next, risk managers should determine those risks that are adequately covered and those that are not. Each risk should be matched with safeguards, such as disaster recovery, or insurance. "As companies become increasingly dependent on information systems and the data they process and store, computer security is one area where solutions must be in place before problems arise," says Mr. Gauthier.

Indeed, experts agree that the potential for damage in the computer area is unlimited. Every ounce of protection is worth a ton of cure. And the risks to hardware, software, operating systems and data can wipe out a company's bottom line. Computer World magazine's most recent report on the subject estimates that about 90,000 business computers have caught viruses.

Given the enormous potential for loss, there are several new programs on the market which identify and kill computer viruses. For instance, National DataGuard Technologies markets a software system, Lifeguard, which is designed to protect data and assure data recovery. Lifeguard, which integrates with any disaster recovery system, streamlines storage costs by identifying critical data sets, verifying backup data sets, auditing offsite data availability, generating recovery documentation, supporting data set and providing full volume recovery strategies.

Lifeguard can be run against a specific job or an entire critical job list. Critical data sets are identified as those as input into a job prior to being output from a job within a given job stream. Lifeguard then determines whether the critical data sets have been backed up. Reports include which data sets were identified as critical, including data set name, device type and backup data set name when created within a job stream. They will also identify which jobs could not be found and indicate areas of vulnerability due to incomplete analysis. …

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