Tim LaPean, Infrastructure Consultant, Superior Consulting Services, LLC
What happens when you talk about IT infrastructure? Do people immediately lower their geek shields? Probably. Let’s face it: IT infrastructure doesn’t sound as cool as the latest mobile app. It’s all about boring hardware and cabling and maintaining the status quo, right? It is, until some little blip on the radar shuts down access to the ‘net or a tornado does a drive-by or a worm invades your system. Then suddenly, everybody cares about IT infrastructure. When it’s good, it goes unnoticed. When something bad happens, IT infrastructure takes center stage (along with complaints from grumpy workaholics jonesing for a digital fix). IT infrastructure resiliency planning is designed to minimize these scenarios.
The Evolution of IT Infrastructure Planning
IT infrastructure planning has long focused on reducing downtime and eliminating threats. From the IT infrastructure manager who ran the “hurricane committee” to cross-functional business continuity planning, the process of IT infrastructure planning has evolved over time. The next step: IT infrastructure resiliency planning. Prompted somewhat by widespread availability of cloud computing, managed services and other innovations that transfer functional operations to third parties, IT infrastructure resiliency planning can achieve optimal and continuous infrastructure operations regardless of whether systems reside internally or elsewhere.
What Does IT Infrastructure Resiliency Planning Do?
IT infrastructure resiliency planning combines the practices of business continuity and disaster recovery to more effectively address ebbs, flows, glitches and steady-state operations. The reality is that all businesses face threats to their operations. In a 24/7 world, you cannot plan for 100% up time all the time. The sophistication of technology today and widespread dependence on it means the likelihood of a threat is extremely high.
Tips for Shifting toward IT Infrastructure Resiliency Planning
For a business to achieve infrastructure resiliency, it must be able to rapidly rebound from disruptions and react to the diverse dynamics of a multi-resource, multi-system IT environment. Here are several ways to start increasing resiliency:
Identify ALL Vulnerabilities
Identify all IT infrastructure risks with IT teams, business teams and third-party providers. Catalog vulnerabilities and risks to serve as a foundation for building a complete resiliency plan.
Bring DR and BC Together
Both disaster recovery, which focuses on bringing systems back up, and business continuity, which focuses on maintaining consistent business (not merely IT) operations, offer practices, data and tools to improve business resiliency. Bring these two groups together to see where separate practices can be combined or refined to improve IT’s ability to react to challenges.
Address Third-Party Providers
Work with third-party IT infrastructure, application and service providers to define resiliency expectations. Have your cloud applications been assessed for resiliency? Do your providers have their own resiliency programs in place? What metrics define them? You should have clear expectations about provider processes and responses to disruptions.
And Test It!
As with all things IT, testing can show you exactly how resilient your IT infrastructure is. Regularly test your IT infrastructure planning and performance to ensure systems bounce back and to identify new risks.
Reach out to our team at SCS to help you strategize the best approach to IT infrastructure resiliency planning. Call 952-890-0606 or email us at SCS@teamscs.com.