Data in times of crisis: The danger of earthquakes and loss of valuable data
On 22 March 2020 Zagreb was struck by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake. More than a hundred aftershocks followed, and more than 7000 buildings were damaged. Just as life started moving on, in the last days of 2020 an even stronger earthquake shook central Croatia. The town of Petrinja was hit by three foreshocks, culminating in a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that caused human casualties, and even further material loss and destruction.
It is impossible to predict natural disasters with far-reaching consequences, but we can do our best to prepare for them. While the safety of people is everyone’s first concern, when the dust settles, we start to worry about our data centres.
Data centres in earthquake-prone areas
Data centres are basically large rooms that hold servers, which are usually large towers that are at risk of toppling over when an earthquake of a larger magnitude hits. Earthquake-prone areas (e.g. Japan) have to take this risk seriously, as irreparable damage can be caused to businesses that rely on data. While it may not seem like a major concern when a natural disaster occurs, people will eventually go back to their daily lives: just imagine what would happen if hospitals were to lose their patient information or banks data on their clients’ money status.
Building smart foundations
Modern data centres in Japan are built on shock absorbers, i.e. isolators made from metal and rubber on which buildings “float” while the ground beneath shakes from side to side. Some data centres also have floor-level and rack-level isolators. Rack-level isolators essentially allow for the servers to move along with the building on metal rods, so the force of the quake is attenuated as the servers are allowed to glide but are in no danger of toppling over. This is again something very specific for those areas.
Resolving power shortage
Once the shaking stops, the next issue data centres are faced with is power. Server rooms are equipped with UPS units which will allow them to run for a few minutes and ensure they shut down properly without any loss of data. But what if the power shortage is more long-term? This is where back-up generators come into play, allowing the servers to be up and running for a longer amount of time.
Implementing disaster recovery plans
Disaster recovery plans, which are of high importance for pharmacovigilance service providers who have to prove their Business Continuity over and over on audits and inspections, become extremely important in those situations. ISO/IEC 27001 is an information security standard that helps mitigate such risks. For example, one way to mitigate this risk is to have back-up servers on different tectonic plates, which significantly reduces the risk of data loss and allows for business continuity when a disaster occurs.
It is a challenge, but it is a challenge which service providers have to take head-on and ensure patient safety at all times. In Marti Farm, we make sure that all valuable data is regularly backed-up and taken care of. This includes the backup for our data management solution, as well as our pharmacovigilance solution – Sympto®.
Our business continuity and disaster recovery plan has been put to the test several times during the last year due to the coronavirus outbreak and the earthquake situation, but we have successfully passed these tests, ensuring that our business runs as usual. We are proud of our team and our ability to easily adapt and work even amidst such challenging and troubled times.
Rest assured that Marti Farm continues to work vigilantly during these two crises to successfully manage all of your valuable data and time-sensitive deadlines. But, most of all, we wish for everyone to be safe, healthy and assured that all of us are in this together, being closer than ever.
Lea Debogović, MSc / Senior Pharmacovigilance Associate, Pharmacovigilance Software Validation and Implementation Associate
Lašćinska cesta 40
Planinska ulica 13/2
Office: +385 1 5588 297
Pharmacovigilance: +385 1 5588 297
Clinical trials: +385 1 5614 330
Registration: +385 1 242 0873
Marketing: +385 1 2420 890
Fax: +385 1 2420 860
Tel: +385 1 5588 297
Full company name
Short company name
Marti Farm Ltd. Trade and Services
Marti Farm Ltd.
Lašćinska cesta 40, HR-10000 Zagreb
Planinska ulica 13/2, HR-10000 Zagreb
a limited liability company
Commercial Court of Zagreb
HRK 20,000.00 (paid in its entirety)
Martina Diminić Smetiško, director of the
company (Representing the company
individually and independently, Responsible
person for data protection)
HR3623600001102197724 (Zagrebačka banka)
HR4324020061100628669 (Erste banka)
Full company name: Marti Farm Ltd. Trade and Services
Short company name: Marti Farm Ltd.
Headquarters: Lašćinska cesta 40, HR-10000 Zagreb
Office: Planinska ulica 13/2, HR-10000 Zagreb
Legal form: a limited liability company
Court register: Commercial Court of Zagreb
Registration number: 080751121
Share capital: HRK 20,000.00 (paid in its entirety)
Authorized representative: Martina Diminić Smetiško, director of the company (Representing the company individually and independently, Responsible person for data protection)
Bank account: HR3623600001102197724 (Zagrebačka banka), HR4324020061100628669 (Erste banka)