As people increasingly work remotely and shop online, IT organizations must scramble to upgrade their IT infrastructures to support these new types of users. Bandwidth, or lack of it, is the first major challenge that IT departments have faced, and many still struggle to provide adequate connections. Along with bandwidth, IT departments are providing a variety of additional technologies, such as online collaboration software, VoIP systems, virtual desktop access, upgraded web servers, and VPNs and anti-malware services for home computers and laptops. Businesses are now also looking to create more IT resilient environments to ensure their operations can stay available during these changing times. Here are some components to building a resilient IT environment.
Three ingredients for successful IT resilience
Each organization’s technology needs differ. However, they all have to fulfill three basic requirements to be successful:
A resilient IT environment is one that can recover rapidly, with little to no loss of data, after a power outage, natural disaster, or ransomware attack. Cloud computing offers a significant level of resilience since providers typically have redundancy built into their facilities. Established cloud providers invest in in redundant UPS systems, environmental controls, servers, network carriers, power sources, etc., to ensure maximum up-time. Leading cloud providers also have multiple data center locations, to ensure continued operations should any one of the locations experience an outage.
Read our Strategic Guide to Cloud Computing
Monitoring and automation
Managing a widely distributed IT environment requires remote monitoring and automation. Without them, routine tasks such as maintenance, security alerts, and patch updates become time consuming and inefficient. Fortunately, many complex processes can be automated and orchestrated. For instance, an automatic security process might detect and identify a potential hacker, automatically send an alert to IT staff, and sever the network connection to stop the intrusion. Likewise, software updates, data backups, and DR failover can all be automated. Automation ensures that critical processes take place immediately instead of waiting on a human response.
Cloud computing provides considerable flexibility. IT departments can quickly scale up storage, compute, bandwidth, and other IT resources as needed. The cloud makes it easy for an organization to expand its geographic coverage to remote employees, provision additional user licenses, or customize applications for mobile workers. IT departments can leverage the flexibility of the cloud for their DR strategy by using Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).
DRaaS, like all “as a service” cloud offerings, enables an organization to select different levels of DR protection depending on their recovery needs and budget. Cloud-based DR provides the flexibility to choose the type and frequency of backup and level of recovery that will be most cost effective and provide an appropriate recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) for each application. DRaaS can provide an RTO of as low as a minute or two for critical systems while giving lower priority to less time-sensitive systems such as archival applications or non-critical productivity applications.
DRaaS and cloud as a solution for IT resilience woes
Cloud computing and DRaaS make it possible for organizations to have resilient, automated, and flexible IT environments capable of supporting a variety of employee needs. Cloud-based DRaaS also makes DR more effective by through automated replication and failover to off-premise locations.
The need for virtual workspaces and ecommerce will continue for as long as the coronavirus pandemic lasts, and probably well after. The move to online work, school, entertainment, and commerce is creating a new set of requirements for IT. Cloud based solutions such as DRaaS can help to meet the challenge of this newly virtual world.
TierPoint’s customized DR services can help to ensure the resiliency of your data, applications, and infrastructure, and minimize the impact of unexpected disruptions. TierPoint’s teams of DR and cloud-computing experts can provide management and recovery capabilities for most leading platforms and applications.