Disaster recovery not just for natural disasters

There is always a lot of talk about disaster recovery being important against, flood, weather, power failures, etc. But very little talk on disaster recovery due to security events.

When a security event happens, it is a disaster. It can mean downtime to your web site, or that your records were deleted or modified, and sometimes the biggest disaster is the bad PR day.

Typical disaster plans talk about a short failover time, but neglect to take into account what happens if one server was compromised. In this case, how will the short failover time affect it – will the corrupt or modified data propagate to the failover server causing two failed sites instead of one?

With recent break-ins reaching the news, where extremist groups hacking into any site they can gain access to, I see too often the web site show a banner, just after the break in, saying that it will be back in a few days. I’m left wondering if when they’re back, will they still suffer from the same security hole (most likely an SQL injection) that allowed the attackers in the first place? What about hidden malware – was the server reinstalled from scratch? And what backup was used to restore – the one with the attacker’s backdoor? I think we all know the answers…

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