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Waiting for bad things to happen is never a good practice. Once a system is down, it may be too late and the damage to the business can’t be undone. Critical outages often have a negative impact on the entire organization, hurting customer satisfaction and reputation. Outages also consume the time and resources of operation teams that get tied up in costly troubleshooting and recovery efforts.
The good news is that the majority of unplanned outages and data-loss incidents can be prevented. Here are five things you can do to ensure the resiliency of your critical IT infrastructure.
Every resilient system starts with good planning. Design your IT environment with your service availability goals in mind while implementing proven technologies and practices. According to a recent survey of over 200 IT professionals, the most effective strategies to ensure resiliency are high availability systems for physical and virtual hosts and replication/DR.
In today’s ultra-dynamic IT landscape, it’s almost impossible not to make mistakes even when we all do our best to ensure that changes go smoothly. IT environments are just too large and diverse for our teams to test each and every configuration across all IT layers to ensure compliance with industry best-practices and vendor recommendations. Even when testing is done, our test and production environments are rarely completely identical, so we can’t fully guarantee that a successfully-tested modification would work as planned when deployed in production.
As our resiliency survey shows, lack of knowledge and inadequate resources are top concerns regarding ensuring resiliency:
Implementing automated verification of changes introduced to your environment is key to closing the knowledge gap. Automated testing means more rigorous and accurate testing of your staging environment prior to rolling out new configurations to your production environment. Automated validation can be also applied to production environment configuration – identifying discrepancies between staging and production, as well as any changes directly introduced into the production environment.
Beyond the challenge of validating changes we intentionally introduce, there is a constant effort to align our environment with industry best practices and an endless list of vendor recommendations.
|With automated routine verification of your environment, IT teams can identify areas of risk. They can focus their attention and resources on fixing these issues before they impair business operations and turn into costly undertakings.|
Due to the dynamic nature and complexity of today’s IT environments, identifying potential deviations from these best practices and recommendations that could lead to disruption and failure is not a simple task. Predictive Analytics is the most effective approach to turn all that big data of your entire infrastructure configuration into meaningful insights that not only highlight the possible impact on service availability but can also point to the root cause and alert you to take action.
Integration with existing enterprise systems – email, support portals, and ticket management systems – is crucial for timely remediation. First and foremost, the relevant owner must be aware of the problem by getting a real-time notification that a risk was detected. Since saving time is critical, the information relayed should include the root cause and recommended corrective actions. With this information in hand, your team can quickly assess the situation, prioritize issues according to severity and potential damage to your business, and take immediate remediation action.
Collaboration is key for everything to ensuring IT resiliency. However, as we can see in the chart above, cross-¬team coordination is a top challenge that keeps organizations from ensuring infrastructure durability and dependency.
Detect issues BEFORE they impact your business
Cross-team visibility into up-to-date information about risks and their potential impact throughout the entire IT infrastructure is essential for effective collaboration. Beyond the immediate benefits of minimizing the number of issues that turn into actual outages and service disruptions, it can also help your teams learn from past mistakes and optimize IT operations moving forward.