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The October Country

5:30 PM -- Years ago, author Ray Bradbury described the eerie aspects of autumn in his book of stories, "The October Country." On this Friday the 13th in October, we'd like to take a similar view of the terrors of IT gone awry.

As senior editor James Rogers reports, it's not that difficult to fall into self-made catastrophes with the best of intentions. That doesn't mean trouble can't be bypassed. The key is to read -- and heed -- the warning signs that you may be about to fall into a trap of your own making. (See On the Brink of Storage Disaster.)

There are other goblins afoot. Records mismanagement, including failure to retain and retrieve email and instant messages, has become the bane of many financial firms, causing regulatory watchdogs like the NYSE's regulatory arm and the NASD to go on a spree of fines and sanctions. (See Regulators Rip Records Managers.)

The really scary part of this is that storage and IT pros don't seem to be getting the message. Despite all the high- and low-profile email disasters we've seen in recent months, many folk continue to have little or no way to organize, search, and retrieve email and/or instant messages in response to lawyers or regulators.

Do you have any pre-Halloween wisdom to share? Are there any dire warnings you'd like to impart? You know where to find us -- starting with the message board below.

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