Be Prepared for Server Outages

The recent outage of Amazon Web Services and the security intrusion of Sony’s PlayStation Network has reminded many dedicated server owners that even large corporations struggle with security and stability issues.

In some cases, there is little you can do to prevent outages caused by weather or security intrusions caused by massive DDoS attacks.  When those calamities happen, it is best to be prepared.  The following are steps you can take to make sure you are ready for potential down time.

1. Backups – As I have stressed repeatedly, backing up your server can save your clients’ websites and possibly your career.  Some server outages are irrecoverable due to hardware failure.  In those cases, you will need to move your backups to a new server.

2. Redundancy – This applies to the server, the power source, and anything else that could potentially go down.  If the problem is local to one server, rather than a system-wide security breach, you can seamlessly replace one server with an identical one containing the same information.

3. Mitigation strategy – Do not get caught napping or being so arrogant as to think your server cannot be harmed.  Have a plan to deal with certain types of disasters.

4. PR strategy – Just as you will need to fix your server, you will also need to fix your image.  Sony and Amazon are dealing with this right now.  How you handle public relations after something like this will go a long way in determining the future your company’s success or demise.