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SWIT 22 Conference at Indiana University

By Tony Pearson posted Tue April 19, 2022 01:39 PM

Tony Pearson in front of banner

Last week, I presented at SWIT22, the [Statewide IT Conference for Indiana], held in the Indiana Memorial Union at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. This brougth together education institutions across the state. This was a mixed event, with some people attending in person, and others via Zoom virtually.

This was my first business trip for the year, and the first one out of the state of Arizona for the past two years.

There were several sessions on the first day. I presented "Rapid Recovery, hours vs. days" to focus on three key areas of Data Protection:

1. Traditional backups and disaster recovery

Indiana has seen its share of natural disasters, such as severe thunder storms, tornadoes, and floods. For these, we need to prioritize in advance what business processes should be recovered first, and use that as a basis for a Business Continuity Plan.

2. Data security

We need to ensure that only people who are authorized can access data, using Role-based authentication (RBAC) and data encryption. In the past, encryption consumed a lot of CPU and memory resources, but today, both are plentiful and cheap, so that encryption can be pervasive across all storage media.

3. Cyber Resiliency

We need to protect against malware and ransomware attacks. Backups need to be isolated, preferably via air-gap solution, to prevent malware from contaminating the backups as well as the original data. Storing backups on WORM tape media or immutable storage can serve as the basis for your "Cyber Vault". The task then is to identify the "Minimal Viable Company" that you can run your organization during the recovery process.

In the afternoon, I attended a session called "Disaster-recovery exercise: Ransomware struck. What next?" led by a team from Indiana University. This was a "tabletop" exercise, where each participant explained their situation, and the steps they would take to address their portion of the recovery plan. I always recommend this approach before doing a live recover at a remote location. It can help ensure that everyone is aware of each other's roles, and that all procedures are documented correctly.

The trip home was a bit of an adventure as well. From Bloomington, I had to drive north to Indianapolis in drizzling rain and a series of construction zone detours. I made it to the airport in time, only to be delayed at my connection in Phoenix. The airline put me up in a hotel overnight, and I managed to get home the next morning, about 14 hours later than planned.

The reason for the delay? The airline explained there was an infestation of bees in the wing! This had to be taken care of by professional beekeepers, grounding the airplane until this was resolved.