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November 05, 2012

Sandy Serves as Warning to Internet Companies

With all the talk about people being stranded on islands and on the lookout for gas, the Internet has largely taken a back seat. For the most part that is the right degree of priorities, but as life returns to normalcy, the inability to access certain websites is becoming a bit of a problem. It took a while, but companies are starting to figure out that housing their website’s servers in places that can be flooded was not the greatest of ideas.

For some people, not being able to access a particular website is little more than a nuisance, but the lesson learned from Sandy is one that quite a few companies will probably be on the lookout for over the next few years. While some sites are nothing more than shopping or providing entertainment, there are others that were affected by flooded servers that provide real information. 

Making sure that your servers are safe is only part of the problem. There is also the worry of suddenly losing power because a building that hosts the servers is shorted out. A quick loss of power can actually mean a loss of data. If you happen to be a company that works with a lot of different servers in a lot of different locations, losing any data can mean corrupting all the data.

“If you have an e-commerce system taking an order from the Web, it may touch 17 servers, all in different locations,” said James Staten, an analyst with Forrester Research (News - Alert). One server might contain customer information, he said, while others work with logistics, product availability or billing. “If you don’t list them all as mission critical, you’re in trouble when disaster occurs.”

While most of the major companies, like Google (News - Alert) and Amazon were left unaffected, the storm still serves as a bit of a warning. With so much of the country’s economic data tied to the coasts, another storm like this could mean more danger for those companies. Sandy should serve as a warning and a reason for all Internet companies to take a second look at their security and their preparations.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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