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What CIOs can learn in the wake of a major IT outage

By Andrew Martin | Nov. 19, 2017
The impact of system outages brings to light the stark reality that as cloud continues to evolve, there are serious challenges to its true resiliency to withstand unforced errors
 

Outages from Australian organisations across the financial, government, travel and telecommunications sectors seem to be occurring on a weekly basis often caused by hardware failures, software upgrades, human error and ransomware attacks - causing major service interruption.

The impact of these outages brings to light the stark reality that as cloud continues to evolve, there are serious challenges to its true resiliency to withstand unforced errors.

From reputational damage to lost revenue, lost productivity or other measures – one thing is certain, no business can afford an outage in today’s ultra-competitive business environment. There has never been a better time for CIOs to take a cold hard look at their business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) plans to see if they are truly prepared.

The fact remains, that the cost of investing in a truly resilient disaster recovery (DR) platform is exponentially less than the cost of having to fix the situation after the fact. To do this, increasingly CIOs are seeing the true value in having a layered approach to their cloud strategy - meaning a secondary (or more), geographically and meteorologically, off-premise recovery data centre. This ensures that should anything happen to your primary site, you will always have a secondary location to avoid or reduce the impact of an outage.

The cost of downtime

In a world where we increasingly rely on IT capabilities, with much of it supported in the cloud, some businesses are incredibly vulnerable to any down time, and can find themselves with their entire website, and consequently their business, offline for a significant amount of time.

Some business applications will be the hardest to have these multiple layers as they are designed in place and are not designed for portability. To solve this challenge, and have the right safety nets in place, many CIOs are now looking at how to build a more hybrid cloud, leveraging a managed service provider or their own data centres.

Downtime can have disastrous implications for a business, both financially and reputationally. In fact, Gartner estimates that on average, every minute of downtime will cost a business $5,600, which adds up to over $300k per hour.

Diversity adds to the resiliency-in-layers effect

Having a DR plan alone is not enough. Again, resiliency-in-layers is key here when it comes to business continuity. This means examining your vendors, locations and technologies to understand how to make this all heterogeneous.

Having diversity adds to the resiliency-in-layers effect by separating one action, activity, bug or catastrophic event from impacting the rest of the business environment. And you must test that plan regularly, to ensure that if you are hit, you avoid downtime by having the automation muscles built into your plan.

 

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