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Making the Case for Cloud, Data Solutions for Cyber Resilience

NOAA puts value on solutions that ensure portability and quick recovery to ensure stronger citizen experiences.

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Agencies need to build and understand their complex, resilient systems to ensure continuity of operations after cyber incidents, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) CTO Frank Indiviglio said during a GovLoop webinar May 14.

“We live in a complex IT world, so when we’re talking about disaster recovery, system backups have to start being more portable,” Indiviglio said. “If you want to recover quickly, you have to have an environment that is portable, so that recovery time goes down.”

Developing a robust business continuity and disaster recovery plan is key to safeguarding the data in the event of an incident, added Oracle Database Administrator Jennifer Petry.

“Data is the lifeblood of today’s businesses,” Petry said. “Our livelihood is based on data, so if our data is compromised, our livelihood could be [compromised] as well as the future of our country. If our system is down, then we cannot bring new innovations to our country and it could be a compromise for our security of the country.”

Petry said agencies must employ security in mission-critical environments to assure that backup systems are always running, keeping high availability and recoverability in the event of a disaster.

“The biggest fear I see is the loss or compromise of data, whether it’s through an accidental deletion, a hacked database, backups not being accessible or a standby disaster recovery database not being in sync due to resources running out or not having enough money to have a backup database,” Petry said. “Those are certainly the pain points that we see and struggle to get through on certain occasions, especially when we have larger databases.”

According to industry analysts, an average business in North America experiences approximately 87 hours per year of downtime. If a mission-critical application goes down, it can cost a large company around $350,000 per year, said Peter Inzana, Oracle director of product management.

For smaller agencies or non-profits with limited resources, Petry said that leveraging cloud solutions as a cost-effective way to build a backup system is critical.

“A lot of the cloud is free up to a certain amount of data — they back it up for you, they provide the infrastructure, and it would be easy,” Petry said. “You wouldn’t have to hire someone to manage your data, and you wouldn’t have to pay for the hardware. There may be some costs involved, but it would be less if you didn’t have a lot of data.”

Understanding the importance of data and the impact of downtime is vital for implementing effective disaster recovery and continuity of operation initiatives, Indiviglio said. Organizations can mitigate risks and safeguard their assets by prioritizing data security and investing in resilient technologies.

“Data is the driver of your business, and it’s the most important thing that you have,” Indiviglio said. “You have to generate and continuously provide data products to your consumers, and being able to do that in a highly available fashion is really a game changer.”

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