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Secure Your Infrastructure

Secure Your Infrastructure: Hosting

As the extent of the devastation unfolds after Superstorm Sandy hit our Atlantic coast shores, I'm reminded of lessons learned after Katrina hit New Orleans. There's already news and finger pointing about what should have been done and who should have done what.

First of all, finger pointing is just not how we roll here at 4x3. We know we're only as good as our staff and our vendors. We realize that we are all human beings with lives outside of work, though we work hard to be as efficient and as conscientious as possible. Always, of course, we work within time constraints and budget. Clearly, post Sandy, it's obvious that if you move the generators to the 13th floor, you really should figure out the pumping system so you are not shlepping fuel up the stairwell during a crisis. No doubt a viable and cost effective solution will emerge. It might just be that New Orleans didn't consider this seemingly obvious variable.

Invest in Adequate Infrastructure

Over the years we've tried several hosting facilities here at 4x3 before settling on Media Temple, which is located in both El Segundo, California and Loudoun County, Virginia. Both sites feature advanced security systems. Each has multiple power distribution units, a continuous power supply with redundant generators and gallons of fuel on site. Each location has cooling towers, chilled water pumps, condenser water pumps, chemical treatment stations, smoke and heat detection and HVAC backup systems. The systems are online and monitored 24x7x365 with onsite personnel.

Honestly, it all sounds very impressive. After this last natural disaster, though, the present NYC Hospital systems, I'm sure, can be made to sound just as impressive. We've all discovered it just wasn't quite enough for this level of storm. I'm certain Media Temple will take a fresh, close look at their systems and evaluate based on recent events. I will work to share those updates with you, our customers.

Backup Often

Bottom line, we should all take a fresh look at our infrastructure. At 4x3, we have to have high-end systems managing our client's data and websites. But what about our in-house data? It brings me to that age old question that I'm still asked all the time. That is, "How often should I backup?" My answer, "As often as you are comfortable taking the time to redo what you've just done." At your desk, back up often. In your office, back up often.

Establish Redundancies

Take a new look at your systems. I'm not saying we all need to move our servers to the 13th floor. We're not hospitals. We can board up the windows and open back up after the storm. Hospitals cannot. Make sure the data you need is saved properly. Make sure you have a system for off-site storage. At 4x3, we work either locally or directly from the server. At the end of the day, we make sure all information is back on the server.

The server is backed up off-site. Simple. Centralized. Redundant. Efficient.