Quest Technology Management

Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Developing a Strategy of Business Resilience: 8 Best Practices

Resilience concept illustrated by a blue arrow made of balls

According to Gartner, by 2020 60% of businesses will suffer major service failures due to mismanagement of risk in new technology and use cases. This is why, in my last post, I suggested that the best way to deal with these risks is to commit to a strategy of resilience — “the capacity of an organization to plan for and adapt to change or disruption through anticipation, protection, responsive capacity, and recoverability.”

To get a sense of a resilient business in 2015, let’s start with where you want to end up.

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To Deal With Technology Risk, Focus on Resilience

Green and white Rubik's cube

Have you noticed how people are talking more about risk these days? Not surprising, given the spectacular nature of recent hacks. Even reinsurers express worry: in a poll last fall, 40% ranked cyberattacks as the most threatening emerging risk of 2015.

Yet, cyberattacks threatening your systems’ security and your data’s privacy are only part of a much larger risk problem. This greater scope of risk is more about effect than cause – if you contain your risk strategy solely to cyberattacks, you’ll leave yourself exposed on other fronts.

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A Forward Look: Riding the Digital Waves of 2015

Concept of divergence with branching arrows

At year’s end, I always find myself looking back over the previous 12 months and then, inevitably, I can’t help but look forward to the coming year. Since I’m in the information technology business, this exercise can be pretty interesting.

Technology trends translate into products and services that matter, but when you hear about technologies like web-scale IT, cloud bursting, advanced analytics, self-aware apps, context-rich systems, software-defined networks, etc. – well, it’s hard to keep your eyes from glazing over. So I’ll narrow it down to two waves coming at all of us: Continue reading

Keep Your Guard Up During the Holidays

Yellow sign with exclamation point

The holiday season is upon us – which means it’s also cyberattack season. Though, arguably, 2014 has turned into an entire year of the cyberattack: one study estimates 2014 will rack up an incredible 42.8 million cyberattacks worldwide. That’s more than 117,000 attacks every day!

Which leads me to the topic of firewalls. It’s been 20 years since the first firewalls were deployed to make a perimeter gateway barrier blocking unwanted IP traffic.

Since then, firewalls have evolved to keep pace with new technologies, the ever-increasing complexities of network infrastructures and applications, and new business models that have spawned things like cloud computing and mobile apps. These days, companies deploying firewalls and advanced perimeter controls see a 15% return-on-investment. Continue reading

Are You Ready for Your Own Bleeding Edge?

Manufacturers love buzz words. And, it’s true, most of us are susceptible to catchy phrases.

One that’s caught my attention is ‘bleeding edge’ — used to describe the very, very latest technology product or service. It’s a heady feeling, being at the forefront of technology, and the urge to acquire the newest and best can be downright irresistible, as evidenced by sales of the iPhone 6.

Yet there are times when you should resist. Being on the bleeding edge can be fun and impressively rewarding. But rushing headlong into something your organization is not prepared for can hurt.

So even though this issue of our newsletter highlights achievements in keeping pace with the near-constant change in technology offerings and capabilities, we urge caution.

Before you allocate budget to ‘leading or bleeding edge’ products or services, be sure you’ve answered these three questions:

  • Is our infrastructure ready?
  • Do we have the necessary skillset?
  • Does it provide the capabilities we need?

If you’re unsure about the answers to any of these questions, get help from a trusted technology advisor before making a commitment that will bleed more than just your budget.

Giving Thanks During the Season of Patching

Abstract concept of patching

As the nights grow longer and colder, giving thanks for all that’s warm and light-filled makes wonderful sense. We are, in effect, expressing appreciation for feeling secure and safe.

In fact, this is a time of year when it’s a good idea to pay particular attention to security — especially data security. With the season of holiday gift-buying underway, opportunities for data thieves, hackers, and malware abound.

This isn’t only a concern for retailers and credit card firms. We’re all vulnerable and we all have to continually tend to the security of our businesses.  Continue reading

Planning for 4 Key 2015 Technology Challenges

Colleagues making a plan

Four technologies will very likely impact your business in 2015 — whether or not you explicitly consider them in your planning. Which is to say, ignore them at your peril:  Continue reading

3 Steps to Closing the BYOD Gap

Policies tab on a folder

In my last post, I discussed the gap between business units that enthusiastically embrace BYOD and IT departments, where BYOD is regarded with more hesitation.

Yet it’s clear: BYOD is not only here to stay, it is quickly becoming a dominant force that IT departments must deal with. And in most circumstances “just say no” isn’t an option; BYOD offers employees too many rich opportunities to boost productivity, innovation, and collaboration.

So what’s an IT department — your IT department — to do? Continue reading

The BYOD Gap

Navigation concept

What’s the state of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in your organization?

When I ask this of our customers I get replies aligning with industry research and other anecdotal evidence pointing to what I call the BYOD gap.

Business units are adopting BYOD – along with mobile apps and consumer-grade cloud services – pretty much as fast as they can, but too often such adoption is unsanctioned by their IT departments; there is no BYOD policy.

In the shadows

It’s a sizable gap, too: by some reports, almost 90% of employees use their own devices at work – but only about 40% of enterprises have committed to implementing BYOD policies, procedures, and infrastructure.

This is classic Shadow IT, and it’s on a scale unlike anything since the 1980s when corporate business units defied their IT departments to acquire PCs. It took mainframe-obsessed IT staff a good long time to grasp that forbidding PCs was a supreme waste of time, because whenever business unit managers find tools enabling them to boost productivity and achieve better results, they are enthusiastically embraced whether IT likes it or not.  Continue reading

The Recovery Gap – Part 2: A Short List of 5 Best Recovery Practices

360-degree arrow concept

In my last post, I shared some sobering numbers from a recent study by the DRP Council on how well  and not well  organizations recover from disruptions. Many of the problems revealed in the study can, I believe, be attributed to four causes:

  • Inadequate recovery plans that don’t anticipate the types of events that actually occur
  • Insufficient plan documentation and lack of compliance reporting
  • Not nearly enough recovery plan testing
  • Failing the recovery tests that do occur

All of this is eminently understandable  it’s hard to focus budget and time on what we prefer to regard as unlikely possibilities.

So here’s my first recovery best practice: think of your recovery plan as the best way to keep those possibilities unlikely, because when they do happen, they cost plenty. Continue reading