What is a Single Point of Failure?

by Royce Yeager

Have you been reviewing your DR plan, checking its robustness and trying to mitigating failure points? This post is for you.

First of all, what is a single point of failure?

A general definition is any part of a system that is not redundant, but if non-functional would cause said system to fail. What are we really talking about here though? Your point of view might depend on what department of your organization you are a part of. IT professionals might think of that pesky router that could fail causing your whole office to lose internet access. This is a common and very apt example, but the point is to look beyond the obvious IT hardware that is typically associated with single points of failure.

What else can be a single point of failure?

Like the definition states, any part of a system that does not have redundancy would be a single point of failure. There are probably three words in that sentence that make you think of technology and computer hardware, but there are plenty of other parts of your “system” that could fail and cause problems.

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