Preventing Communications BlackoutsBy Frank Ohlhorst | Print
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Worms, viruses, cyber-attacks and physical sabotage demonstrate that now is the time to secure IT assets and plan for contingencies.
Communications blackouts are a little harder to combat, but the technology is available to minimize the risk presented by a single point of failure, such as the cut fiber-optic cables in Silicon Valley. Businesses need to consider how they are connected to the outside world—that means understanding the infrastructure your bandwidth provider employs and identifying where single points of failure can occur.
Currently, failover technology is the best bet for keeping communications lines open—here, a business can turn to broadband satellite technology to reroute traffic in case of a primary communications link failure, or, at the very least, sign with a secondary bandwidth provider that routes traffic differently than the primary provider—that should reduce some of the risk.
To avoid those problems, businesses must invest in UPSes (uninterruptible power supplies), which provide enough juice to weather a brownout or at least provide enough time to perform an orderly shutdown of critical systems. UPSes prove to be cheap insurance against unexpected events. For businesses that cannot tolerate power outages, stand-by generators can bridge the gap and keep systems humming for an indefinite period of time.
For many, deploying all of those technologies would be overkill, but for some it may be a necessity. It all comes down to how resilient a business needs to be to weather these attacks—attacks that are only likely to increase in frequency and extent.