Calculated Risk

IT managers can't count on a well-timed act of nature to convince executives to invest more in business continuity and disaster recovery; hard numbers are crucial.

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Ed Ricks didn't have to manufacture a worst-case scenario to convince executives at Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina that they needed to boost spending on business continuity and disaster recovery systems.

On his first day as CIO at the hospital, a lightning storm knocked out power. The hospital immediately switched to a generator, but the backup system didn't include power for air conditioning or communications. "Our data center got too warm, and we had to start shutting servers down," Ricks recalls. The hospital also lost communications links to other facilities.

From a CIO's perspective, "It was almost too good to be true for me," Ricks says. "The situation wasn't even as bad as it can get, but it showed what could happen. It was really obvious that we had to do something to make sure that we're always operational."

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