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Functional optimism: Is production reliability undervalued by publishers?

How secure are your IT systems? Does the thought of massive data loss keep you awake at night? If the answers are ‘quite’ and ‘no’, then it might be time to reassess. Christian Tchorsch of digital publishing software provider vjoon explains.

Christian Tchorsch

Posted on: 09 February 2017

A sense of security is all in the mind. Take driving for example. One driver might feel uncomfortable at 60mph, another might start to feel unsafe at 75mph, yet there are some who think nothing of hurtling along at 120mph. Irrespective of the actual danger, people judge the situation quite differently. The same applies to the security of IT systems!

One company will only feel comfortable with extensive disaster recovery measures in place, with geo-redundant back-ups and a separate firewall for each client. Yet, others are prepared to soldier on with almost no security measurements in place at all for their production systems. Often, it has to be said, these are the companies that have yet to experience significant data loss! They only see the ongoing costs of maintaining security infrastructure. This presumably means that data loss is a risk they’re prepared to take…

How impactful are effective security measures in a content production environment? Is there a trade-off between security and performance? Are once-daily back-up plans sufficient? Like driving on the motorway, there is a wide divergence of views as to what constitutes ‘safe’ in the world of IT.

For companies who have just started their digital transformation or who are in the middle of the process, comprehensive IT security is rarely front of mind. They have other “more important” things to deal with, production deadlines to meet. The issue of data security is, at best, a second-tier consideration. This is a shame, because when things go wrong, then the cost to put things right (if indeed things can be put right) can be crippling.

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) describes this as “functional optimism”. Decision makers know the importance of the topic, but they just see it as a cost factor, not as a “business enabler”. But, when disaster strikes, that view changes very rapidly indeed. By then, of course, it might be too late…

If you ask IT system administrators, you will hear one argument over and over again: back-ups interfere with the day job! For them, the real problem is that the entire IT system is not secure by design and security relevant tasks are not an integral part of the production process. They are carried out at the end of the process or even outsourced. In the past, if a company wanted to pursue a more secure approach to data, then the costs in terms of time and workload for the data teams often increased significantly.

But, there is a solution and, as is so often the case, automation is the key. The best approach to IT security is not daily or even thrice-daily, but 24/7 seamless and automated back-ups to the hybrid cloud, with no need for manual intervention and system downtime. It just happens.

The best content production systems now have fully integrated and in-built automated data security processes, hooked up to the cloud. This approach, according to the BSI, is the best for small and medium-sized companies.

With modern technology, there’s no trade-off between performance and security. Publishers can have both and at a surprisingly reasonable cost.

“Like driving on the motorway, there is a wide divergence of views as to what constitutes ‘safe’ in the world of IT.”

vjoon, founded in 1990, is a leading software company within the digital content management business, with an excellent international partner network. Together with their highly qualified and local business partners, they offer integrated software solutions for publishers.

About Christian Tchorsch
(Details last updated: 7 February 2017)

Christian is the communication manager at vjoon. He publishes his experiences and observations about IT and publishing, amongst other things, on the vjoonity blog.

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