5 IT Data Protection and Security Lessons from the Titanic

On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic.  More than 1,500 passengers and crew died (1). As familiar as it is tragic, the story of the passenger liner is worth revisiting for what it illustrates about IT data security and disaster recovery.

Compliance and a Sense of Security in Protecting Your Data

Titanic’s designers equipped it with more lifeboats than the British Board of Trade required. Though Titanic had enough lifeboats to hold only about half the people on board, the vessel’s owners may have had a false sense of security because they had gone beyond the British government’s requirements (2). IT professionals should not be complacent because they have met legal requirements for IT data protection.  The regulations are inevitably well behind the technology curve.

Protecting Critical Data Requires the Right Tools

In haste to set a new Atlantic crossing record, RMS Titanic left port without binoculars for its lookouts. By the time a member of the crew spotted the iceberg in Titanic’s path, the helmsman had only 37 seconds to evade it (3). A pair of binoculars might have saved the 7.5 million-dollar Titanic and the lives of many of its passengers. Protecting and recovering mission critical data requires deploying the right tools. Kaseya has just launched Kaseya System Backup and Restore, a module that integrates StorageCraft ShadowProtect into a single-pane IT management platform.

Doing the IT Data Protection Drill

Captain Edward Smith cancelled the only scheduled lifeboat drill the day before the Titanic sank.  When disaster struck, dozens of lives were lost because half of the lifeboats cast off before they were full. Your data protection and restore system is the lifeboat for your mission critical data. Do you have confidence that they will work under the conditions you can foresee? Have you run a drill to see how your disaster recovery system performs?

Automating Data Backup to Eliminate Human Errors

Several of the ice warnings sent to Titanic never reached the bridge. In one case, the other ship’s radio operator did not transmit the message with a prefix that would have required Captain Smith to acknowledge it personally (4). In a second case, a warning possibly was missed because Titanic operators were busy sending a backlog of passenger telegrams. Had the Titanic had a better system to deliver a mission-critical message to the bridge, the ship’s officers might have known of the hazards ahead. Automating mundane (but critical) data backup functions lowers the probability of costly human errors.

Competing Goals and Data Security

During the design phase of Titanic, J. Bruce Ismay, the Chairman of the White Star Line, decided to reduce the number of lifeboats on board from 48 to 16 because they obstructed the views of first class passengers.  He was also determined to set a speed record for crossing the Atlantic to help promote his fleet of ultra-luxury passenger liners. Even after Captain Smith received warnings about ice floes, he steamed toward New York at close to full speed. Every enterprise has many goals, some of which may clash with the vital work of protecting critical data in the same way that Smith’s desire to set a speed record for crossing the Atlantic clashed with his duty to ensure passenger safety.  Does a competing goal or a too-aggressive timetable present an IT data protection and security risk for your company?

Try the new System Backup and Restore tool today. It’s so good when it comes to IT data protection and security that it will make you feel like you’re King of the World.

[1] http://www.britannica.com/titanic/article-302522

[2] http://lessons-from-history.com/project-management-blunders

[3] http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/titanic5.htm

[4] http://www.hf.ro/

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