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A three-step guide to achieving IT resilience

14 Sep 2018

Today’s digital economy has seen an increase in organisations embarking on their digital transformation journeys so as drive greater efficiencies as well as be more nimble and data-driven to take advantage of business opportunities in a competitive landscape.

While it is no surprise that technology advancement and adoption drives a lot of this transformation at the basic level. However, this puts the technology under scrutiny from the whole organisation and leads to questions about the viability of adoption investment vs ROI.

The ‘State of IT Resilience’ IDC global white paper found that 37% and 51% of respondents from APAC (comprising of respondents from Australia and Singapore) reported that digital transformation and data protection modernisation respectively were key IT priorities for them for the next twelve months

Ensuring that the entire IT infrastructure is resilient is critical for business success and for completion of transformation, modernisation and cloud projects.

The last two years have seen outages and downtimes among organisations skyrocket which has led to the erosion of revenue and brand reputation for organisations.

While there have been many factors of the cause of these disruptions - hardware failures, natural disasters, malicious attacks, and operator error, among others - it is nonetheless becoming far less tolerable among consumers who expect 24/7, always-on service in this digital era.

IT resilience is the ability to seamlessly adapt to new technology and drive IT transformation, while mitigating the risks of downtime, ensuring an “always-on” business and the best customer experience.

These are our three tips for attaining IT resilience.

  1. Continuous availability

The most important thing you can do is deliver an ‘always-on’ customer experience - no matter what planned or unplanned changes are going on in the infrastructure. At its core, continuous availability is the approach to an IT system that protects users against downtime by keeping customers connected to their documents, data, and business applications. Think of it as breakdown cover for your IT.

Current backup strategies must be reviewed as they are critical to delivering this. Backups have been an important part of any organisation’s IT strategy for many years, and having a copy of data and applications stored offsite or in the cloud ensures that a business can recover something no matter what happens to the production environment. However, by modern day requirements, most organisations today are using technologies that are inadequate for the job we need them to do.

Periodic backups that only provide a snapshot in time are not compatible with demands for RPOs of seconds and RTOs of minutes. This, coupled with the complexity that often comes with legacy solutions and requires specific skill-sets to manage, means that organisations should be looking to integrate alternatives that offer incremental, journal-based protection and can be accessed across multiple hypervisor, storage and cloud platforms.

Essentially, continuous availability means that whatever pothole you hit, be it a cyber attack, flood or planned work to improve IT, both you and your customers are completely protected against any disruption, good or bad.

  1. Workload mobility

Workload mobility is the insurance, or the business confidence, that allows you to move applications and data workloads with ease, all while being completely protected. This can cover anything from migrations to consolidations as a result of mergers and acquisitions or new efficiencies being driven within your organisation.

Although workload mobility is not a new concept, many IT practitioners are moving workloads around much more regularly due to the rapid adoption of public cloud. With the multitude of public cloud options and cloud service providers on the market, it’s more important than ever that IT teams have easy, seamless and risk-free workload mobility and agility in order to unlock their on-premises environments and extend their data centres to the cloud.

This is also key to many digital transformation journeys as the cloud provides cutting-edge features and capabilities for organisations that don’t want to be locked into one vendor along the way.

  1. Cloud agility

Fundamentally, creating a strategy that includes multi- and hybrid-cloud enables you to leverage the cloud to help accelerate your business and properly take advantage of what the cloud offers. The benefits of this include the freedom to choose your own cloud, and the ability to move to, from, and even between clouds that have vendor lock-in.

There are many factors that are driving enterprise adoption of multi-cloud strategies. After all, each cloud offers different services and features that may be more suited to specific applications than others. Organisations that choose to adopt a multi-cloud strategy are gaining the ability to cherry-pick the best levels of performance, response time and throughput for each.

As part of IT modernisation and transformation, the common use-case is moving disaster recovery and backup to the cloud while reducing physical data centres. Speed-to-market is a critical element of digital transformation, and the cloud can provide that by driving new efficiencies and getting applications to market quicker, without having to worry about underlying infrastructure costs or maintenance.

All three of these elements working together ensure you can withstand any disruption and leverage any new technology seamlessly. Combine these with the likes of analytics, control and a unified platform for leveraging new technologies and your organisation will have the elements to spark innovation and enhance business efficiency.

Once you can become completely IT resilient you can confidently drive forward on your road to business transformation.

Article by Zerto A/NZ country manager Sean Abbott

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