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Scanning the horizon; looking for potential threats; relying on experience!

Scanning the horizon; looking for potential threats; relying on experience!


OxFam: Policy and Practice
OxFam: Policy and Practice

It’s always good to have something up your sleeve, so they say. An extra ace when playing cards; a Plan B if you like when situations change. Maybe it is a career change. Perhaps it’s a change in location – moving house comes to mind. Or perhaps it’s a technology refresh involving a sizable upgrade to your computing capabilities, be that a new processor, a change in networking infrastructure, or tapping the cloud for additional storage resources. It might even involve rolling in a new application that involves swapping a tried-and-true solution that is no longer in step with the times.

This came to mind as Margo and I contemplated addressing a couple of these items. Not so much a major change in compute power, although with the new year a new laptop has arrived for Margo which to the best of my knowledge is still to be configured to her liking and become her daily computer. For the Holen-Buckle family and for those who have been following us on social media, there’s a change in location planned for us, even though it involves a number of well-synchronized moves. And with these changes comes a vulnerability that we knew we had to step up to address.

Having spent most of our career in IT, when it comes to a major data center transition, we are well aware of what can go wrong at the last minute. So much so that a short time ago, we rented a sizable storage space – heated and with a number of power outlets – that will easily accommodate our cars, household furniture, media, and more. All with an eye open to managing risk and taking steps to mitigate any miscues on the part of either the moving company, the estate agents’ paperwork, or anything else that might come up. Our Plan B turns out to be renting an empty space!

For the NonStop community, 2024 is already well and truly underway, with numerous NonStop Regional User Group (RUG) meetings and Chapter events having already been held. As this issue of The Connection goes live, you will find many of the leadership from the NonStop vendor community winging their way back from Australia, having attended OzTUG gatherings in Melbourne and Sydney. Should I also mention that for many of these leaders, it came at a time when they were following the mighty Taylor Swift entourage that sent both cities into a “Swiftie Frenzy!”

If there is a common thread apparent in the presentations being planned for these upcoming events, it has to be the current talk of the NonStop community, which is resilience. For some time now, I have taken my cue from those who view Business Resilience as an overarching umbrella reference to any number of resiliencies that we care to name. Whether our interest is in Digital Resilience or even Digital Data Resilience, let alone Cyber Security Resilience and much more (my own favorite being Operations Resilience), I take my cue from those who define resilience in terms of absorbing, adapting, and then transforming.

It was while reading about Oxfam and their Policy and Practice which, under the heading of The Future is a Choice, defined resilience in terms of Absorb, Adapt, Transform. OxFam explains that it is these three types of essential resilience capacity: absorptive, adaptive, and transformative, and while their audience is comprised of the global agriculture community, OxFam makes no apology that it can just as easily be said that “at its heart resilience requires us to move away from simply looking at what a person, household, or system has and recognize and enhance what it does.”

Scanning the horizon, looking for potential threats, relying on experience! It would seem that what we hear from Oxfam is not so much a cautionary tale about checking what we have by way of protection and defense but rather what it does and how it all works together. How the systems we have in place are being transformed to more fully address IT life in these modern, yet rocky and even potentially dangerous times. What constitutes our Plan B? For starters, it’s doing the necessary things to take a closer look at legacy infrastructure, poorly supported applications and overall, whether the technology choices made decades earlier might be putting our IT organization at risk.

I am not a party to the hoopla currently surrounding Cyber Security Resilience or even how it has become the focus of Digital Resilience. Consider this then a contrarian point of view if you like. Perhaps even a cautionary tale for those who might want to dig deeper. For NonStop, which has evolved from delivering Fault Tolerance through redundancy to where collectively, NonStop systems now provide Business Continuity through replication and much more. Stepping up to Business Resilience represents the next step to be taken and if not already, should be a part of any Plan B you might be entertaining.

My favorite quote came from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and I referenced it in a presentation in 2023. “Business Resilience builds on the principles of business continuity but extends much further to help enhance an organization’s immune system; fend off illness (to) bounce back more quickly.” NonStop customers will see numerous NonStop system upgrades performed this year even as many are contemplating migrations to better infrastructure implementations. Much of it is being undertaken under the guise of improved Business Resilience.

While the impact of bad actors tampering with the integrity of the business is certainly a concern for all of us, maybe 2024 will require us to move away from what we were comfortable doing for the past decade and to recognize and enhance what we are doing to ensure the business of our enterprises’ continues and that they stay in business. After all, business executives know that they can be impacted by these bad actors – they read the headlines too – but with NonStop having few peers when it comes to fault tolerance and with the right infrastructure software in place can readily achieve Business Continuity, the time has come to absorb, adapt and transform.

Margo and I will shortly embark on a new journey that will ultimately take us to who knows where (our sea-level residence has not been selected yet, and neither has where it will be located). But we are quite candid about our need for a workable Plan B and have taken the necessary steps to ensure the plan is firmly in place, even as it has been the experience we have gained from previous moves. For the NonStop customer, are you still looking at what your system has more so than what it does? If this is the case, then the message of transformation shouldn’t be lost on you – vulnerabilities will always be with us, but making the right moves is a surefire way to keep the bad actors at bay!







  • Richard Buckle

    Richard Buckle is the founder and CEO of Pyalla Technologies, LLC. He has enjoyed a long association with the Information Technology (IT) industry as a user, vendor and more recently as a thought leader, industry commentator, influencer, columnist and blogger. Well-known to the user communities of HP and IBM, Richard served on the board of the HP user group, ITUG (2000-2006), as its Chairman (2004-2005), and as the Director of Marketing on the board of the IBM user group, SHARE, (2007-2008).

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