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Judy Weitz and Homeland Security

Judy Weitz and Homeland Security

Some time ago last year my ex-employer received an award that I felt was mis-given. I never did express my opinions about the situation but now that I no longer work for Compucast Interactive I feel I should speak freely about the situation.

While I was employed at Compucast Interactive as one of the lead developers in August of 2007 they received notiriety for being the model of “business preparedness” in the wake of a disaster, Katrina. Now granted there are 2 things that Compucast did perform as a service for local business which were great (not necessary exemplary, as anyone with a similar high profile client list would of done this) , they

  1. Setup several blast email lists for a few clients to communicate with employees
  2. Setup a job board for the hospitality industry

What they didn’t do, which was the claim that got them the notiriety in the first place, was secure live synced dedicated internet servers in two locations across the country in preparation of a disaster. This was an extreme stretching of the truth and play on peoples misunderstanding of technology. In my opinion they only reason that they were even recognized was the high profile of the clients that she had and the ability which she “gave” them to communicate, email.

Now “gave” is a relative term here, if you consider someone that purchases insurance for their car a hero because their insurance company “gave” the person that was a passenger in their car money for a much needed surgery after getting into an accident well, then Judy Weitz is indeed a hero. This is essentially the same as what happened.

Judy weitz says

With the business now located in two cities on opposite sides of the country, we were confident all Web sites would continue to function if a hurricane were to hit New Orleans.

I, as one who understands technology, would interpret this to mean that if a web business were to be “located” on two opposite sides of the country that a live synced backup of the data would be concurrently running. This would mean that they would have to have live synced dedicated internet servers in two locations across the country. This in fact was NOT the case at all. The actual situation was that they had a dedicated server hosting account with a company out of San Francisco that had a service level agreement for redundancy. This hosting company had redundant servers running in San Fransisco and Pennsylvania. This DOES NOT mean that Compucast made any sort of special technology based disaster plans or even themselves had live redundant servers it means that the hosting company had redundancy, an industry standard for hosting companies.

In this case it seems that the only reason she got this award was because of the high profile of her client, The New Orleans Bar Association a collection of local law professionals, and their connections with the government. In my opinion Judy Weitz did nothing more than ANY OTHER responsible web development agency in the local area or elsewhere, this is not deserving of a nationally recognized award.

Simplified: Compucast Interactive purchased a dedicated server hosting account with a company not based in New Orleans and with no specific internal plans for a redundant backup of the live data being transmitted on their clients sites or the databases of their internal sites. Because their hosting company was not located in New Orleans when Katrina hit their clients did not lose email connectivity and they did not lose any data on their sole dedicated server, is this exemplary/worthy of notiriety?

So I ask you: