The Disaster Recovery Handbook: A Step-by-Step Plan to Ensure Business Continuity and Protect Vital Operations, Facilities, and Assets

By Michael Wallace; Lawrence Webber | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17
DATA
Your Most Irreplaceable Asset

640K ought to be enough for anybody.

—Bill Gates, cofounder of the Microsoft Corporation, 1981


INTRODUCTION

Most of what you lose in a disaster is relatively easy to replace. Buildings can be rebuilt or new offices leased, furniture is easily replaced, and even new computers can be purchased at the click of a button. What is not easy to replace is your competitive advantage, which is stored in the files and databases within your computer systems. This critical information is in accounting files, customer lists, part lists, manufacturing drawings, etc. This information is unique to your company; it is what makes your company special to your vendors and customers. It is the very essence of your company. Unlike physical assets, this information is difficult, if not impossible, to re-create once it is gone.

There are two types of risks to the infrastructure that supports your data assets: (1) physical loss due to a device failure or a disaster at your location and (2) logical loss caused by an application or user error. Physical loss is the less likely of the two, but it is potentially the most damaging. It includes incidents such as a hard disk failure, server failure, or an environmental disaster, such as a fire or flood. It can affect just a single device or your entire location. Physical loss accounts for approximately 20 percent of all incidents affecting information technology resources. In contrast, logical loss includes incidents such as application errors, user errors, or a security breach. Logical failures account for approximately 80 percent of all incidents. A logical failure can be easier to repair, but it may also not be noticed for some time.

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