Archive for Sunday, August 29, 2010

Never again?

What steps are state officials taking to make sure the “never event” at KDHE never happens again?

August 29, 2010


Anyone who works with computers knows there’s no such thing as what state officials referred to last week as a “never event.”

The computer meltdown this month at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment wiped out the state’s access to millions of records in the Office of Vital Statistics and forced KDHE to retrieve old records stored in salt mines in central Kansas to restore the system. As of Friday the diagnosis for the problem was a disk drive malfunction that cascaded through the system and a failure of a storage area network.

Although officials called it a “never event,” a representative of the vendor that sold KDHE its storage system said, “These do happen in technology, regrettably.”

So, knowing that, why wasn’t there been some provision for backing up records on an independent system or some other safeguard for the computer event that never happens but “regrettably” does?

The KDHE secretary apologized last week to Kansans who have been inconvenienced, adding, “We don’t anticipate this ever happening again.” Great, but you didn’t anticipate it happening this time. Are steps being taken to not just restore the system to its previous state but to add upgrades that better protect state data?

Although the KDHE situation appears on the way to being remedied, this data loss should be of no small concern to state officials. Other state government departments have the same type of storage system as KDHE. It may be only a matter of time before they suffer a similar event.


sweetiepie 7 years, 8 months ago

I can't agree enough with this editorial. The more I heard about this system crash, the more I wondered "where's the backup?" When the agency started talking about going to get its paper copies of data, I was amazed. Are they just not doing an offsite backup? How can this be? Everyone who works with computer knows that you have to backup your data and to keep it safe and accessible, you have to do an offsite backup.. Where is the offsite backup for this agency? Where is the offsite backup for all the other state agencies?

average 7 years, 8 months ago

Hadn't heard anything about going to paper records. I had assumed the offsite backup was DLT or some other tape, and the site was at Underground Vaults.

Still takes a while to get stuff recovered from tapes. If they're actually going to paper (again, I'm dubious), we shouldn't have an unemployment problem in the area for the next year.

ralphralph 7 years, 8 months ago

Step 1 = Fire Rod Bremby Step 2 = Hire a grownup

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