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SIDE STORY II: Setting Up an Operational Strategy PDF Print E-mail

By Margaret Sevume, I-Network.

On the morning of the 20th day of May 2013, Ugandans woke up to empty newsstands of Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers, as well as dead silence on KFM and Dembe Radio Stations. This was the climax to a series of interactions between the government and the media outlets that were accused of inappropriate behaviour for publishing a highly classified letter.


Whoever was in the right or wrong in this saga, the fact remains that condoning off the premises shouldn’t have sounded like a death knell to the publications. There should be more than ‘one way to skin a cat’. If the premises are no-go, use the online option to remain functional!

 

ICTs have been used as a tool to enhance efficiency and effectiveness, so that, where before an editor would painstakingly proofread all written(typed ) submissions, now he only has to export the content to some word processing program on a PC to get all the typos removed!

This is progress indeed as it allows all staff to be more productive.

However increased productivity through use of ICT has its own downside. In a situation of technology breakdown, there is pandemonium as users are completely unable to function. This cuts across all sectors; consultants with their reports, programmers with their code, students with dissertations,  professors with their lecture notes and worst of all banks with their customers’ savings.

Backup Plan
There should be a fallback position, whereby one can recover from technology breakdown occasioned by malfunction, theft, sabotage, power outages, inaccessibility etc. All enterprises big or small need to put in place a backup strategy especially on their core product. The more critical the product; the more elaborate the backup plan ought to be. Banks invest in offsite backup sites that mirror activity in real time so that at any given time, if there is a breakdown, the alternate site will be up and ready to take over the load until operations return to normal.

Luckily for ICT users, there are plenty of methods to ensure functionality in the event of breakdown. The rule of the thumb is: Make a copy, store it in a different location. One might mirror data where an exact copy is made simultaneously as the main one. This is usually reserved for very sensitive data like in banks where customers transact at all hours of day and night and have to know their account balances in real time. Others are “cloud” where data is stored not only in the user's computer, but also in virtualised pools of storage which are   generally hosted by third parties and removable devices like DVDs and external hard disks.
The following tips are useful when designing a backup plan:

  • Make copies of data very regularly.
  • Use large-capacity media such as CDs and DVDs.
  • Keep old copies of backups, just in case
  • Automate the system so that nobody forgets to do it!
  • Keep backup media off-site (in case of fire or theft)



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