In today’s article, I’m going to take a look at a subject generating a lot of concern recently, the effect of a bad flu season due to the H1N1 flu virus and and how we can help mitigate those effects. I’m not going to address the entire effect of the severe flu season many have predicted due to the emergence of the H1N1 flu virus (“swine flu”), instead, what I will talk about here is the impact on the IT operations of businesses.
There are 2 issues here that I see. The first is the impact of the loss of personnel from the IT department and the reduction in capacity to do all the required tasks. This may result in not only not getting things done, but also a slowdown in the entire operations of the business, not to mention slow response to customer impacting problems. So, how do we avoid this or at least minimize the effect?
The answer is, outsource IT functions, add redundancy, and diversify geographically. Instead of just operating a single web, email, or DNS server in house, spread these servers out with low cost VPS (virtual private server), dedicated webserver, or even co-locate one or more servers. This give the advantage of redundancy and also makes the data center staff an extension of your IT department!
The second issue is the impact of telecommuting. One of the best ways stop the spread of flu viruses such as H1N1 is to empty out the cubical farms. The more people crammed into close quarters, the worse it’s going to be! Offloading traffic from telecommuting to a data center allows the business to adapt as efficiently as possible.
The other issue to telecommuting is the security aspect of having sensitive business data on personal machines. SwiftWater Telecom has just answered that by releasing it’s VPW (virtual private workstation) product. This provides a powerful Linux based workstation (CentOS5, Red Hat Enterprise Linux) with XWindows and the Gnome desktop, Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email, OpenOffice (Microsoft Office compatible), and a host of other productivity software. The advantage is that this is inexpensive, it’s completely managed by the SwiftWater Telecom data center staff, and all sensitive data remains securely within the data center. Also, the VPW can be accessed by the customer from anywhere on the Internet and almost any type of connection, even dial up!
Don’t wait until it strikes to look for help! What’s in your flu disaster plan?
Vern, SwiftWater Telecom