Where to start I ask myself, you know when you think "surely things can't get any worse" ?.
But first a little story, a story of profund misery and frustration (sorry) :)
Many years ago I was studying at Nene College as it was then for an HND in Business Data Processing, I had sqandered my formal education and this was my last chance to get a qualification and get a into a career with some sort of future.
Technology wise this was still the dark ages in fact in the days of the floppy disk, remember them ?, and their characteristics, most notably their inherent ability to get corrupted, a bit like a politician.
Although these disks were full of data, not full of bullshit and empty promises.
I was keen to get my HND and I had an assignment to hand in on the Tuesday (this was a Sunday), so I went into the colleges computing suite with my floppy disk, on which I had a nearly completed assignment.
"Today I'll finish off this assignment and I can rest easy" I thought, "piece of mind will be mine, I can listen to music, go for a beer or two as a reward for my endeavors, I might even get some decent marks".
Not many people around so I could crack on without interruption, so I sat down in front of some of the best technology available at the time and inserted the floppy disk, opened the file and began to type away, I was feeeling self satisfied, rightous even, smug, pleased with myself.
You probably have already guessed, when I tried to save the file an error message popped up, something about the disk being corrupt, my sphincter did a little dance, sweat appeared on my furrowed brow, what kind of evil is this ?.
I popped the disk out and tried it in another machine, the same message, more sweat, more sphincter salsa, this was not at all what I had envisaged, my smugness evaporated, I didn't even have a mobile or the internet to share my misery as these didn't yet exist.
I had no backup, I was royally screwed, disconsolate and angry, why had this happened to me ?, life can be so unfair, I could have picked that PC up and hurled it through the nearest glass window, windows meant only one thing in those days.
I can hear you now thinking "but why didn't you have a backup" ?, to be honest it's that long ago I can't remember, all I remember is that sinking feeling, knowing I had a lot of work ahead of me and little time to do it.
I suspect we've all been there, many years ago I worked in IT an an NHS hospital, computers were being stolen from Consultants offices on a regular basis, I taught their secrertaries how to make a backup, some did, some didn't, those that didn't lived to regret it.
The lesson here is obvious, backups are vital, for me as an individual my pain at not having one was confined only to me and taught me a salutory lesson,
In terms of any business or any other entity for that matter that needs to keep records, or indeed ensure their ongoing viablity, backups are the difference between staying in business or going out of business,
There is also a legal requirement to be able to provide an audit trail and the ability to recover data for specfied periods so it's not a case of it being a nice to have, it's essential.
In the light of ransomware attacks and other threats to computer systems not to have a backup or backups is suicide, and just as important to regularly test them, this is not an exaggeration, this is fact.
So that's the story, why am I telling it ?
Well, let me direct you to this,
Read it and take in what we are being told, it truly is a new high in the stupidity stakes, it beggars belief and anyone in a real business who made decisions such as this would be out on their ear pronto.
This section is very telling -
Auditors found that the three councils did not have disaster recovery plans or testing arrangements in place and contractual arrangements between the three councils had not been formalised.
With specific reference to Northamptonshire the report said: “We were informed that critical IT systems do not currently have a disaster recovery solution in the event of a serious incident. There is a risk that the disaster recovery solution may lead to signifiant delays in recovering critical systems from a disruption, thereby resulting in operational disruption and reputational damage.”
Reputaional damage ?, in the light of recent revelations I should think the councils reputation can't sink much lower, not being able to provide services because of financial restraints is one thing, because of crass stupidity quite another.