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PS-Prep - A Business Continuity Plan to Keep You Going

Disasters happen, whether your ready for them or not. By why not be prepared? The Department of Homeland Security had a conference in November 2009 to discuss PS-Prep, the ability for an organization to recover when a disaster disrupts their normal business. The outcome of that meeting were three major standards on PS-Prep (Private Sector Preparedness). Those standards include: ASIS SPC-1:2009 Organizational Resilience: Security Preparedness, and Continuity Management Systems, BS 25999-2:2007 Business Continuity Management, and NFPA 1600:2007 Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs. The PS-Prep program is simply business continuity at its best, with standards approved by the DHS, also known as the Department of Homeland Security.

Why Are We Having More and More Crises?

Causes of Increasing Crises There are many philosophies and theories as to what that cause or causes of the increased number of crises are. People point to religious views, advancements in technologies, and increases in economic tribulations just to name a few. These and others may well be contributing factors to the increase number of crises in the world. Let's look at some other possible reasons that the number of crises may be rising. * The increase in population - Because there are more and more people inhabiting every area of the earth, the statistical chances of a crisis increases. More people mean more opportunity for conflicts. This also means that when natural disasters happen, it is likely that more people will be affected.

Data Backup Business - A Cash Cow!

This could mean revolutionizing the way we perceive data as just some bytes for each file saved on our computer, be it photos, videos, mp3, business documents, so on and so forth. If one has to go by a ball park census on the data stored on the computer, on an average an individual has at least 50 gigabytes of data being loaded each year. Multiply that by the number of years and the people using computers across the world. Roughly this figure could translate into millions of millions of bytes of data. At this point if we safely presume that even half of this has to be stored or to use backup as a systematic storage, one could envisage the amount of service providers to meet with this colossal demand for data storage.

Online Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Ensuring uninterrupted power is a vital part of any organisation's business continuity planning and can be achieved with the correct deployment of a suitable uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Different types of UPS can be used as stand-alone solutions or in conjunction with one another other. The three main static UPS topologies are as follows: Online ('On-line') or Double Conversion VFI (Voltage and Frequency Independent), Line Interactive VI (Voltage Independent) and Offline ('Off-line') or Passive Standby. So what are the main characteristics of an Online UPS? The only UPS for completely break-free supply An online uninterruptible power supply (UPS) maintains power voltage and frequency variations within prescribed limits and is independent of any fluctuation in supply.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies Remote Monitoring

Business has never been more reliant on a continuous supply of electricity - and never better served than by modern UPS manufacturers. Whether it's an easily portable desktop uninterruptible power supply or a powerful parallel-redundant installation backed up by standby power sources, every conceivable power protection challenge can be overcome. Capability is meaningless without monitoring. The modern UPS is a sophisticated microprocessor-controlled system, capable of providing a range of alarm notifications and real-time monitoring information at local, network and remote site locations. But this capability is meaningless if it is not monitored. An unheard alarm may as well be no alarm at all, and failure to act could reduce system resilience and possibly even render it useless.

Uninterruptible Power Supply Extended Runtime Options

From an entry-level desktop or wall-mounted unit to an 80kVA n+1 installation supporting a major data centre, batteries are at the heart of every UPS (uninterruptible power supply) system. They provide the required runtime and a source of dc supply to the inverter in the event of a mains power failure; when more runtime is needed, it can be extended by adding extra battery packs or battery extension packs. For a given UPS battery installation the following factors ensure that, when needed, a battery will give its rated runtime: correct operation (following the UPS manufacturer's instructions), a suitable operating environment (especially ambient temperature), regular battery maintenance and timely battery replacement.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies and Harmonics

Harmonic pollution is a growing problem in Europe and one that designers of power continuity programmes and manufacturers of UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) cannot ignore. Typical harmonic problems include the distortion of mains power supply voltage, overheating of wiring, neutral conductors, supply transformers and switchgear and nuisance tripping of breakers. Harmonics can also cause disruption to equipment on the same supply and lead to random failures. Harmonics are caused by voltage or current waveforms with frequencies that are multiples of the fundamental frequency - in Europe, 50Hz (50 cycles per second). The multiples are always ordered in a specific sequence: for example, the 2nd harmonic is 100Hz (2x50Hz), the third 150Hz and the fourth 200Hz and so on.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Categories

A Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) plan can be created for anything. Natural disasters, business plans, infrastructure projects, daily operations of a business, sports teams, really anything that has the possibility of not running right can have a plan. For this article the term will be project, which is open to your interpretation on what a project actually is. Who takes the kids to schools when the primary driver has the flu? That is the most basic BC plan. What do we do when we get a flat tire? That is the most basic DR plan. These 2 examples may not be written out, but they are just as valid as any other plan, and there is usually a plan in place.

Understanding the Beginning of Business Continuity Plans and Disaster Recovery Plans

Entering the computer age, a disaster recovery plan was a concept and not much else. The idea was that a plan would be in place for the day when things went wrong. This worked at the time when computers in world numbered in the 100's - there were not more computers than people in an office. Organizations got bigger and computer departments were suddenly as big as the sales department, more IT consultants were bringing in more hardware and software and no one really noticed the day that computers had a greater value than the people in the office. In that first phase when there was a mainframe, a form of backup was done on a regular basis, the backed up material was moved to a safe location and the idea was that if the mainframe went down, then spare time could be used on a different mainframe in a different location.

The Backup Crisis

I still see a lot of clients using manual backups to backup important files daily, picking and choosing what files to backup in the event of a disaster. Every time there is a problem and they need to recover data they always come up short. Either someone forgot to do the backup that day, they forgot to update the backup to include an important directory, or they become overwhelmed with the restore process as the underlying system was not properly backed up. There are no real savings by using manual backups as opposed to using complete backups to tape or disk. The labor and costs involved in recovering from a single failure generally will net a break even with the correct backup equipment.

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