There are several ways to look into IT infrastructure‘s resilience. If you are in the stage of rapid IT development, your needs are quite different from the organization with well-established infrastructure.
Each digital innovation introduced to your internal and external users must be backed up by relevant IT infrastructure solutions and supporting procedures. There is also a general level of IT management maturity that has to be achieved in order to maximize value and ROI of your investments.
Relevant IT infrastructure. With every digital upgrade, the amount of data your organization generates and shares will increase, in some cases multiple times. So, you will need to figure out where and how to store it and make sure that your network throughput is enough for increased data flows. Your internal and external users should be able to use everything in a secure, but user-friendly way.
Supporting procedures. IT infrastructure can’t be separated from its users and the only way to make sure rules are clear for everyone is to establish a set of procedures and integrate it into the daily life of your organization. Though most of the procedures concern the work of IT department, they have to fit the needs of whole organization and focus on best practices instead of being just another bureaucratic piece of paper.
IT maturity. Rapid IT development might be a challenge for top management of any organization, as it requires a set of specific knowledge to lead through it. Familiarity with best practices, possible threats and ways of dealing with them, restrictions and possibilities of each technology in use is crucial in securing a budget and investments into IT infrastructure. On the other hand, such processes require a team of high skilled IT specialists – investments in their competences should result in improvements of the overall IT maturity (i.e. it should focus not only on technical skills, but also on strategic/IT management ones).
If your IT infrastructure is already built around business needs, another step further is ensuring necessary resilience measures. By that we mean knowing what happens when things don’t go as well as they shouldThink for a moment – how long could you continue your most important business operations without functioning IT? At what point you would start to experience financial or reputational losses? When you would need to totally close your business?
Building up resilience for IT infrastructure starts from analyzing possible worse-case scenarios (losing the main SAN storage device, disappearing of main database with all data, flood in the data center’s facilities, electric outrage, and down-time on the day when responsible IT person is unreachable, etc.), level of their probability and estimated threat level for key organizational operations.
Based on this information, two following steps can be implemented:
- Solutions for risk prevention and management are deployed making sure that, for example all data is regularly backed-up, stored in a distant location and can be recovered. Recoverability is tested on regular basis.
- Recovery plans are prepared and tested, making sure that there are clear scenarios on what should be done in case of incident and that all the necessary persons in the organization (and third parties) know what would be their role in dealing with it.
Are we there yet?
The job is not over here. Even mature organizations with well-established IT infrastructures have to continue keeping their eyes on the topics discussed above.
Organizations are constantly changing and their external environments are changing as well. All this – growth in size, new technological solutions, specific business needs – have influence on IT. Or, in other cases, IT department itself starts to take an active role in shaping its environment and working with other operational units to better innovate.
This means that existing IT infrastructure also has to be constantly maintained, restructured, adopted, upgraded to ensure its stability, functionality, flexibility, security and usability to keep and support your business operations on the highest level.
To wrap-up. IT infrastructure’s resilience is a never ending game, but if managed smartly, it can become a driving force for your whole organization and its future.