CIA……… and Bob

Today was my first ITIL v3 Foundations class, and it was a blast. Everyone except me worked for the government, and as we were talking about upgrading old systems, I said something about, “yeah, ’cause Bob’s about to retire,” and that became the running joke of the day. This one guy talked about this old Army system that a few people know how to run, but they have no idea how to extract the data “because Bob’s dead.” My only reply to that was, “they say you can’t take it with you… but apparently, you can.” Bob became an icon for all old technology that’s fading because it is no longer worth the cost of upgrading, or perhaps has to be printed out and retyped because the database no longer matches up to anything in the modern world.

Later on, the instructor gets up in front of the class and says, “let’s talk about CIA… and I don’t mean those guys from Langley.” It’s an acronym, and it stands for Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability. Basically three questions:

  1. Is the data restricted from those who should not have access to it?
  2. Is the data complete and legible to those who do?
  3. Is the data accessible?

The last question has more to do with network connectivity than the data itself, but you get the picture. It’s more a question of network drive redundancy in several different physical locations, because you have to take into account things like Acts of God (in the insurance sense…. I doubt God cares much about your PDFs). In terms of computer support, it means a “follow the sun” approach, something I first experienced at Alert Logic when I worked in Houston and the Cardiff office opened so that I wouldn’t have to stay up all night… so when you have questions about why you can’t access your data at three in the morning, it’s not three in the morning for the people answering the phone.

All of these things prevent disaster recovery, because it’s much easier to set up failover devices preemptively than to rescue a dead hard drive.

This is going to be short, because I have homework to do for tomorrow. I don’t think I’ve had homework in ten years. I bought a new pencil and everything.

More tomorrow once I’ve finished the class and the exam, although I won’t know my results for about three weeks. I better pass, though….

Because Bob’s about to retire.



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