News, views and insights from CNC

HP disaster is lesson in poor planning

18 November 2017

The destruction by wildfires of many of Hewlett Packard’s historical documents is a painful reminder for all organisations to keep data safe and have a disaster recovery plan.

It appears that many old records were destroyed forever when fires burned down two buildings in Santa Rosa because no copies were kept.

For the company that acquired the documents, Keysight Technologies, it’s a big black mark. Such an organisation should know all about keeping data safe and secure.

Keep data backed up

Gary Jowett from CNC in Brighton says: “The loss of these old documents is sad evidence of what happens when an organisation fails to maintain a good disaster recovery plan.

“The plan needs to be updated regularly whenever a change occurs. It could be only a small change to your equipment, or someone new may have joined the business. Do you have their contact details if you need to get in touch with them in an emergency?”

Regular audits of the IT estate is also necessary. New kit and software may be added that isn’t fully accounted for in the original business continuity plan. So, set aside a few minutes each month to make these updates to ensure your organisation is fully prepared should the unthinkable happen. Regular practice of disaster recovery procedures is also important to avoid getting rusty – and to ensure newcomers are up to speed.

Damaged reputation

The good news to emerge from the ashes of the Santa Rosa tragedy is that HP Inc housed separate archives in Atlanta Georgia when HP split into two separate entities. HP Inc’s spokesperson called reports about records being burned as “misleading”.

Their response highlights how reports of data loss can also have a big impact on your company’s brand. HP Inc was quick to emphasise that its sites weren’t affected and physical and digital archives remain intact.

Gary says: “The records lost at Keysight’s premises were primarily of historic value so it may not be as bad as losing the records of current customers. However, HP Inc’s response highlights how reputational damage to your brand is as important as the actual loss of data which is another reason why DR planning should be taken extremely seriously by all organisations. It’s as important as having sales people out in the field selling your products.”

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