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Posted By David Marble, Tuesday, June 20, 2017

This Friday we are holding our annual Member Forum.  As is practice, we were looking at themes for the event and I suggested the word “disruption”.  Certainly not a novel concept and one that is used often in our industry.  However, the more I have been thinking about the word and its use, the more intrigued I am by the nature of its meaning.  A blog like this might normally default to looking up the definition and picking it apart.  I resisted that temptation because I believe there are so many connotations that it borders on being one of those words that means different things to different people in different contexts.  Many people have a direct line from disruption to stress.  The stress meter redlines as soon as the envisioned plan experiences deviation.  Planning becomes the antithesis of disruption.  If we were all perfect planners and all seers, disruption would disappear.


Is disruption good or bad?  Do you view the word from a negative, positive or neutral perspective?  An alarm clock is certainly disruptive, especially in the middle of a wonderful dream.  We have all experienced the disappointment and even anger when it goes off.  But doesn’t it depend on why it is set to go off in the first place?  If it is waking you up so you can arrive at your wedding on time, the disruption is welcome.  I maintain that reactions to disruption are all about ones outlook and overall perspective on dealing with things unforeseen.  I am enamored by the analogy to the rumble strip on the side of the highway that jolts a driver who nods off.  Certainly disruptive but potentially in a life-saving way.  In a business context, I have certainly witnessed disruptive events that act like the rumble strip, jolting a company from complacency and making them better for it.  At the conference, you will hear about both sides of the coin.  Disruptions that truly led off course in a negative way and those that had profound positive impact.  I enjoyed the Atrion “Always On” symposium this year which had the theme “Resilience” with wonderful talks from people who had life changing “disruptions” and their stories of perseverance.


We in IT deal with the concept of disruption constantly.  Much of our objectives center around the minimization of disruption.  Disaster Recovery is now termed Business Continuity as we make technical progress toward the ability make applications always available.  Planning for disruption is interesting; just try to get a maintenance window for a network like OSHEAN’s and you will see how much tolerance there is for disruption.  We continue to raise expectations and expectation rarely deals with the unforeseen.  That translates into requirements to spend more and more time in planning and practice.  One of the great features in our Cloud DR service is the ability to test failover while in production.  The technology affords us with an unprecedented level of planning and practice to set an expectation of result in the event of an actual disruptive event.  We in IT live the opposite of “no expectations therefore never disappointed”.  Cybersecurity is a classic case study in planning for disruptive agents and events that cannot be characterized entirely.  Frameworks are the key elements used in cybersecurity planning as many times exacting detail is elusive.


I am looking forward to the event this week and hope to see you there!

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