Disaster Recovery Plans don’t have to be complicated

The hardest part of a Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery plan is getting started. The task can seem overwhelming because there are so many details in so many places. But don’t let the complexity stop you. Even if you can’t put together the entire disaster recovery plan at one sitting, tackle the largest risks. Start with manageable questions: Who should I contact in case of a disaster? Have contact information for key vendors, insurance contacts and key clients. Do my employees know how to contact me and each other? Keep a list of employees with mobile numbers. Do I have a contingency plan for working remotely? Cloud solutions are easily implemented for remote work, communication and presence management. Can I access my important company data? Data can be made available in the cloud with different levels of security. Can I rebuild my … [Read more...]

Modernizing the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

Arguably, maintaining a good backup of computer data is the most important task of the system administrator. In the early days of business computers, we made sure to label, rotate and verify tapes so that if the worst happened, we could restore from tape and be up and running quickly. It was suggested to have a tape for each day and store in a fire-proof vault preferably offsite. This is where I first heard the rules of the 3-2-1 backup strategy. A backup strategy has to be robust enough to recover from disaster, but simple enough to give a reliable archive. It is easy to discuss the choices with computer professionals because we understand the technology, but the opinions on how to execute a backup plan are as numerous as the number of experts that you ask. The perfect backup plan is one that is executable and verifiable. The 3-2-1 plan offers an easy to explain, easy to assemble … [Read more...]

Why do engineers confuse Halloween and Christmas?

This puzzle/joke has exploded this year.  I have seen it on Twitter, Facebook and many blogs.  Could it mean that engineering is really catching hold in Social Media circles?  I hope so! The answer:  Because Oct 31 = Dec 25 or octal (base 8) 31 = decimal (base 10) 25 It is a mathematical equation for number systems in base 8 and base 10.  We are most familiar with base 10 or decimal because we use it all the time. The penny, dime, dollar or 1, 10, 100 system.  Octal is not used very often, but it is built on the same principle where 8 is the base.  We use 8 digits (0-7) in octal, just like we use 10 digits (0-9) in decimal. Here's the conversion: 25 decimal is  8x3 (24) plus 1 or octal 31.  It takes a little practice but once you get it - you'll always have it - just like riding a bike. Here's a link to a converter! Need help?  Have a good math puzzle?  Leave a comment or … [Read more...]

Do women like technology?

Of course they do!  Why don't more women work in technology?  It's complicated. As a women engineer (electrical), I ponder this question quite often. I just finished reading an article "Women Engineers Trace Tech Gender Gap to Childhood" that has some good points.  Being the oldest sister of three brothers and the mother of two daughters (one is an engineer), I have a theory based on my many hours of observation. First, engineering and technical studies are designed for concentration not discussion. As a child, learning the laws of physics requires trial and error and lots of concentration. Especially with girls, it is important to discuss what is happening and why.  My girls never spent much time throwing a ball. In contrast, my brothers spent hours pitching a baseball to each other.  They pitched just about every day, whatever the weather.  They did this mostly without … [Read more...]