[ISN] Safeguarding IT against the next Katrina

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue Aug 30 02:34:25 EDT 2005


By Dawn Kawamoto 
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
August 29, 2005

IT managers nationwide should take a cue from Hurricane Katrina's
destructive power and develop disaster-recovery plans to safeguard
their computer systems against catastrophe, security experts advise.

"For people in New Orleans and Mississippi, it's too late to begin
disaster recovery plans. But this hurricane will probably rattle
others up and get them thinking about their own disaster recovery,"  
said Johannes Ullrich, chief research officer for security training
and research company Sans Institute.

To make the best use of disaster-recovery plans, businesses not only
need to take time to develop the plans but also test them before a
catastrophe, said Ullrich, whose company re-released a list of
preparation tips to consider when faced with a hurricane.

Companies should conduct a full system backup four days before the
expected arrival of a storm and have the data shipped off-site and out
of harm's way. Subsequent, incremental backups should also be sent
off-site, Sans advised. And, if possible, a final full system backup
should be conducted just before the storm's arrival, with the data
retained locally.
Previous Next Main phone numbers for the affected offices can be
redirected to an off-site voice mailbox once electric power to the
facilities is turned off. This step is designed to keep customers and
employees informed of the company's status with voice mail messages.

Sans advised devising an alternate arrangement for handling
companywide help-desk issues and removing necessary equipment from
datacenters. For critical systems in the path of an approaching storm,
companies should consider encasing the equipment in plastic, Sans

And for satellite offices in the storm's path, Sans suggested
dispensing loaner laptops to key personnel and maintaining loaner
laptops that house complete content images, or ghost images, of the
desktops and laptops in that particular office.

While Hurricane Katrina is expected to cause extensive damage to the
Louisiana coastal region, it is not expected to affect the
infrastructure that keeps the Internet up and running, Ullrich said.

"There is nothing real big in that area, so we don't expect to see any
effects outside of there," Ullrich said.

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