Case Study Two: Developing a Disaster Recovery Plan
The greatest threats to Dirt Bike's systems today have to do with taking a minimal, low-cost approach to enterprise system security, leaving large areas of their system platform vulnerable to competitors and hackers to steal their sales, finance and product design data. The second most likely threat they face is having their systems hacked into by disgruntled employees, who are seeking to get revenge for either being fired after the loss of $1.4M or for not getting what they may have been promised when they were hired. The third potential threat is to have the entire server stolen their financial systems are running on, as most likely it is not secured in a computer room, which is an assumption based on how small the comp[any is. Data theft of customer records is a fourth potential threat, as are the theft of transaction data of their financial systems which may be not authentication levels to protect them from advanced hacking techniques and approaches. A fifth threat is that of natural disasters including tornados, earthquakes and other extreme events that no one can predict. Taken together, all of these factors point to the need for creating an enterprise-wide disaster recovery plan that can quickly respond to the needs of the company for system uptime and performance. While these several factors are the most critical threats, Dirt Bikes senior management needs to anticipate there will be many more potential threats as the level of sophistication for breaking into systems increases. In defining a disaster recovery plan, Dirt Bike senior management and IT teams need to also consider how the escalation of threats will potentially affect their business over the long-term. Creating restore points for applications and data sets will be critically important, and must be managed with the help of disaster recovery services experts and system planners.
In defining the most critical systems to Dirty Bike's operations, the transaction flow of orders must first be considered, followed by Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems that are used for procuring the products used in making the bikes and then scheduling the manufacturing of them. All of these systems are crucial for the successful operation of the company, as without them, not a single bike could be produced. The website and e-commerce systems supporting it are also critical, however the company could feasibly survive without them for 24 hours until they were brought back up again. Without the SCM and ERP systems that make it possible to get the necessary supplies to build the bikes and the ERP systems to schedule production and price them, the company would come to a grinding halt, incapable of producing anything to sell. In addition to these systems also rely on the financial and accounting applications that provide costing data for use in completing transactions. If the accounting or financial management systems ceased to function, the company would also quickly go out of business. The company could feasibly survive less than a month of the accounting and finance systems, logistics and ERP systems went down at the same time. If one of the three systems went down, they could feasibly operate in manual mode for about 45 days, yet the lack of accuracy and efficiency in orders would be very costly. The net effect would be a major disruption to sales, with the loss deepening past the $1.4M mark over time.
The accounting and finance, SCM and ERP system applications and data files must be backed up daily. Each of these systems needs to also have full fault redundancy engineered into their back office performance requirements. There also needs to be data redundancy across all the data sets including the Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger and advanced account systems. The supply chain systems need to have fault-tolerant back-up of all supplier quality management systems and data, all the application components, and the costs associated with each configured and Bill of Materials (BOM). The Bill of Materials (BOPM) as defined in the case study need to also have the history of pricing captured from the beginning of each fiscal year so trending analysis and Total Quality Management (TQM) metrics can be completed on product quality also stored with these figures. The cost of quality needs to be captured in these system back-ups and programs from the supply chain systems as well. The ERP system is the most critical of all to back up, and also have configured for fault redundancy, as it orchestrates in-bound logistics of materials, keeps the BOMs organized by product line so they can be used to guide the production process of each specific model, and also the scheduling of production resources for each unit being produced. In short, the ERP system keeps the costs, production resources, and resources all in synchronization across the company. Due to all of these factors, the ERP system at Dirt Bikes must be completely fault-tolerant and have multiple instances running either on secured, hosted platforms or on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) architectures that are used for data storage and replication when the ERP system is running within the company's data center or IT department. The ability to switch over to a hosted or SaaS ERP system in the event of a system failure of catastrophic system loss due to a natural disaster could mean the difference between Dirt Bikes being able to continually operate and sell their products.
There are literally dozens of disaster recovery services that specialize in small business, and the two most aligned to the needs of Dirt Bikes is i365, a division of global hard disk drive and storage solutions provider Seagate, and Iron Mountain, who specializes on enterprise-wide back-up systems. Both companies have a great depth of expertise in managing small business backup and disaster recovery services, with each being offering their services for over a decade. Iron Mountain takes a more taxonomy-driven approach to creating their backup instances for enterprise-wide systems and data files, and has an online Backup that is configurable across 25 different servers simultaneously. The Iron Mountain solution also has a series of authentication technologies defined for ensuring data security and redundancy, in addition to defining scenarios when data will be selectively updated or not. The Iron Mountain solution cannot however support a mirrored instance of the accounting, finance, supply chain management or ERP systems. They can replicate and restore enterprise systems to third party secured location, minimizing the impact on productivity and performance for Dirt Bikes. In the event of a disaster, having all data backed up to an Iron Mountain server instance will make its restoration very efficient, yet this solution costs well over $100,000 for the configuration of systems and servers the company has. The second solution is from i365, a subsidiary of Seagate. This approach to data replication is entirely Cloud-based and also supports application-based replication to third-party servers through virtualization technologies the company has developed. I365 also creates a mirror or ghosted image of each application instance, and then replicates the data sets throughout the network over time. It also has a series of replication techniques that allow for data redundancy across multiple hosted platforms, either within the company or outside with a 3rd party provider. The EVault product series also provides for real-time back-ups of all critical accounting, finance, supply chain and ERP-related data in real-time. The system is also compatible with a variety of internal networking protocols in legacy manufacturing environments. As Seagate is the parent company of i365, the investments in virtualization technologies and continual evolution of disk mirroring and replication are outpacing many other competitors at the low end of the market. Due to these investments in R&D and the continual evolution of the technologies inherent in data replication, security and redundancy, and also given the flexibility of using the SaaS platform, it is recommended that Dirt Bikes go with the i365 solution.
Case Study 3
For Dirt Bikes, the two best suppliers of gas tanks are Just Gas Tanks, one of the leading providers of these devices globally, and Epic Cycle Parts. Just Gas Tanks has a greater breadth of support for and broader product line that Epic Cycle Parts, and as a result, would be able to create a more effective supplier relationship with Dirt Bikes. The costs are significantly different however, with Epic quoting just $7.99 for shipping their product to Carbondale, Colorado and Just Gas Takes quoting $14.99 for United Parcel Service (UPS) delivery. Despite this major difference in cost, the quality of the two product is drastically different. The Just Gas Tanks product is far more well designed and has greater versatility form a manufacturing standpoint. It also has a reinforced frame that allows for greater stability on a wider variety of cycle configurations. Despite the higher price for shipping the product, the Just Gas Tanks would provide for far greater…