There are few things more important for a large computer system than a good cleaning out. Like anything else, if you keep on top of regular updates and cleaning, you will have less problems with your system, be it a personal computer or an entire network of computers. That’s why security audits and security assessments are so essential to have completed on a regular basis – testing your network for possible security cracks and other potential hazards to your data.
The Virginian Pilot is reporting that more than 25 state agencies in Virginia faced a computer outage that was caused by an overdue maintenance cal for a major state server:
“An engineer with a subcontractor attempted to replace two failing memory boards in a data storage unit. He decided to leave the board with the most serious errors until last. If not entirely forgivable, it’s at least easy to understand: People make mistakes. But the more important cautionary tale revealed in last week’s external audit of the computer failure begins years earlier. Executives with contractor Northrop Grumman should have been ready for that palm-slap to the forehead moment. But they weren’t.”
According to the column, years of poor planning were to blame for this oversight, leading to ”inadequate monitoring, testing and management of the state’s complex computer network.” In fact, this probably should have happened at all, seeing as the state has a hefty contract with Northrop Grumman to prevent any such occurrence from happening.
In the end, an independent audit confirmed what was expected:
“The audit concludes Northrop Grumman did not have adequate backup measures to ensure recovery of important data. It also criticizes the contractor for not scheduling upgrades to outdated software until after the meltdown. And it questions why state agencies, not Northrop Grumman, were the first to sound the alarm.”