Gleaning an Important Data Protection Strategy From Atlanta Airport’s Single Point of Failure

Events that play out in the public spotlight often provide opportunity to learn valuable lessons.

The Incident

The world’s busiest airport was effectively shut down this past Sunday for about 11 hours. In the end, there were probably hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people affected by the power outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. While officials don’t yet know how it started, they do know an electrical fire is to blame for taking out the airport’s main line and backup supply that traversed the same tunnel.
The damage done will likely extend far beyond cancelled flights, frustrated passengers and loss of revenue for the airlines and airport businesses alike. This type of event can extend far beyond tangible effects. The type of stir created just on social media alone probably had PR departments for the airport, the airlines and Georgia Power working overtime to quell the frustration and brand bashing that was taking place. The long-term effects may not be realized for quite some time.

The Analysis

So how does an event like this happen? Well, Georgia Power says it’s very rare – and it may well be. Nevertheless, with 275,000 people and 2,500 flights a day in and out, a “very rare” occurrence at the world’s busiest airport can, and did, have a monumental impact. Is there a lesson learned here? We think there is. In fact, it’s a fair question to ask why the main line and the backup supply were housed in the same tunnel. While it may be “unlikely” or “very rare” that an incident would occur to take down both the primary system and the backup system, it happened.
It was a design flaw. The primary and backup power supply lines ran through a single tunnel. It was a single point of failure (and still is until engineers decide to reroute the backup supply).

The Takeaway

So how does the Atlanta airport power loss example translate to your business?
Well for starters let’s be practical and look at what a typical business doesn’t have the luxury of when it comes to backups. For example, the cost or option to have a second utility provider for power, water or communications could be astronomical or impossible depending on the circumstances. Business owners that don’t need that kind of extreme resiliency take a calculated risk that a single utility will be reliable and dependable enough for them to operate their business on a continual basis with limited or no interruptions.
However, if we start to think about where business owners CAN implement resiliencies, a good place to start is data. Data, for so many businesses today, is critical to daily operations. Accounting, customer relationship management, email, databases, ecommerce, reports, websites and apps.
Applying the lesson from the airport on Sunday, it tells us that a single point of failure can have tremendous initial effects and lasting ones as well. For some businesses, data loss from a single point of failure can be devastating. Fortunately for SMBs, there are simple and affordable options for data protection. From laptops and workstations to servers and storage devices, there are a variety of ways to protect your data WITHOUT worrying about a single point of failure.

For a free data protection assessment, call us at 1-833-CyberOne or via our quick and easy Contact Us form.

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