December 06, 2004

Pam Asks...

In my previous post I was laughing at the wording of an article. Pam asked the following...

Nobody's ever heard of backing up their data?

I don't know what type of software it is, but whenever hubby patches the huge telephone systems- or voice mail systems - he backs up the data first.

These customers don't have in house geek support? ;)

Very valid questions - I was going to answer in the comments, but it got a bit long. So, I'm pulling it into a separate post all on its own. If you don't like geek speak - I will put the rest in the extended entry so you can ignore it. *grin* Oh yes, backups are pretty much the norm in all businesses (at least those who will remain in business!). The quote is a bit misleading to people who don't work IT jobs.

For the most part - unless you are at a very large company with a dedicated IT security staff, the "security" of the database falls to the regular IT people. Now there are quite a number of people out there who have no clue, yet they are still working in the IT department. These are the ones who can do a set job, but don't ask them to figure out why something isn't working. Mostly you have many thinly stretched IT departments who have more work than they can possibly accomplish - then they are asked to do security on top of it.

When they ask for more money - they have a very difficult time showing ROI (return on investment) for something that DIDN'T happen! (We just saved you X amount of dollars because your database info WASN'T stolen... is a damned difficult thing to prove) So, unless you're an active participant in a security group - you may not even know how to present the information to the C level (CEO, CFO, etc) people in order to get funding!

But the real problem in many businesses is not backup of the database... it's the patch itself. You don't lose data, but many if not most companies have what is known as "legacy" software. It's OLD OLD OLD. Possibly it can't be updated because no one really knows how it works... it just does. Or there is no longer anyone on staff with the coding expertise to rewrite it... Or possibly it's so vital to the business, they don't dare mess with it. Putting a new patch on the database may mean that a vital piece of legacy software gets "broken" - it won't work with the new stuff.

Add to that the possibility that you are unable to back out of the patch once it's applied and you can see how much it scares the IT guys to patch a system. Just think - you patch your system and suddenly the payroll software won't work! You have maybe 500 to 1000 people who need their checks - some of them can't wait a few extra days while you fix a computer bug... or you have a time critical job for a customer which won't run now... oops!

So, the end result is - you have to reload the old version of the operating system and even possibly all the backed up data! I work for a VERY small company and I can tell you now, that a total reload from start to finish would take a minimum of 5 days! That's if all goes well and the system comes back up! Then there are always modifications that have occured and those would have to be applied too... you can see the nightmares already I think.

I hope that gives you an inkling of the concerns that IT people have when a new and better patch comes along. Just scratching the surface of the difficulties makes me tired. And believe me when I say... this is a mere scratch, it doesn't even break the skin! :P

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 11:42 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 665 words, total size 4 kb.

1 Yeah. Arthur's IT dept is strained horribly. They are working 100 hour weeks and looking down the barrel of new management who doesn't understand why they can't "farm this work out".

And yes, everyone pretty much does their thing; there's not alot of cross platform help.

AND hubby was just moaning yesterday about the new patch they need BUT [the unmentionable parent company] will not support it unless his company UPGRADES to a newer, much more expensive software.
They -the unmentionables - have always marketed themselves as having "evergreen" technology, but hello... a little logic?

Arthur just made a backup of all his scripts yesterday because they called in an expert from the unmentionables. He's sure they'll totally destroy everything.

I get what you're saying. It's a tangled web to be sure, not made any better by the unmentionable companies.
Thanks for clarifying a bit for me!!

Posted by: pam at December 07, 2004 03:41 AM (l6NIn)

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