Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

8 Best Practices to Develop a Business Resilience Strategy

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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4 Capabilities to Look For in an IT Staffing Company

Two hands joining together two oversized jigsaw pieces

When it comes to choosing a firm to help with your IT staffing efforts, it’s important to remember that some IT staffing firms do a better job than others. Here’s what you have a right to expect:

1. An IT staffing company should be able to help you strategically plan your IT hiring
This involves a thorough examination of budget priorities, workloads, the skillsets of current team members, and future projects — all with an eye on flexibly meeting both your short- and long-term goals. Look for an IT staffing company that helps you determine what types of special skills you need for your IT projects, the best mix of permanent IT staff and contractors, when you’ll see workload spikes, etc.

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Are you buying a service — or an illusion?

Handshake in gray

Imagine discovering that for the last 12 months none of your company data had been backed up at your designated co-lo.

Worse, you only found this out because your corporate site has suffered a catastrophic failure. All your data has been lost — and you have no way to retrieve it.

You’re outraged, of course, and you want answers. How could your co-lo provider fail to back up your data? What about your provider’s vaunted disaster recovery service? Who is responsible for allowing this to happen?  Continue reading

Do your Cloud provider due diligence

Checklist with a cloud on it.

Whether or not we give it much explicit thought, we all do at least some due diligence every time we buy something.

When it comes to Cloud services, due diligence ought to be done explicitly and with forethought — because getting out from under a bad Cloud choice can be onerous. It’s worth your while to choose well in the first place.

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Why IT environments managed by service providers are more secure

Cloud with a lock and key to illustrate Cloud Security by Service Providers

For a while now, those of us who provide Cloud services have been saying that a properly run Cloud environment is inherently more secure than traditional on-premise IT environments.

Now a recent study from Alert Logic backs up that claim. The study compared security in traditional on-premise and service-provider-managed environments of 1,500 organizations with active investment in IT security.

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Data backup/recovery best practice #10

This last of my backup/recovery best practices is far from the least of them:

#10 Conduct regular testing and reviews of your data recovery capabilities

Backups can be corrupted (especially if they’re tape-based) and too often backups are performed incorrectly. Key files, directories, or components may have been excluded, especially if your infrastructure has undergone adds or deletes.

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Data backup/recovery best practices #6, #7, #8, and #9

Continuing with my views of backup/recovery best practices, I offer up # 6 through #9:

#6 Back up your data locally as well as remotely.

Data restores usually are faster from a local backup source than a remote one, especially for data that you recover frequently.

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Data backup/recovery best practices #3, #4, and #5

Last time, I described the first two backup/recovery best practices. Here are the next three:

#3 Make sure your backup/recovery strategy adheres to all governance and compliance rules that apply to your organization.

Rules abound about data privacy, security, retention — and vary by industry and region. Look for a reputable advisor who has the experience needed to understand your compliance environment and who successfully completes SAS-70 Type II audits.

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Backup/recovery best practices #1 and #2

As I see it, there are 10 best practices that can make the difference between backups that really do keep you in business and backups that seem to work okay — until you actually try to use them. Here are the first two:

#1 Understand your data so you can decide what needs to be backed up and how often.

Base your decisions on the cost of loss, which you can get a sense of by noting the types of data your business relies on — emails, spreadsheets, databases, line-of-business apps, etc. — and determining the impact of losing that information for good and having to recreate it (if you can). Add in the cost of unhappy customers and potential regulatory/compliance violations — and do the math.

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Trick or treat — or paradigm shift? What do you want to accomplish on your way to the cloud?

Anybody seeking to overcome the limits of traditional IT environments and streamline their business has to consider one of the most significant paradigm shifts of our time — cloud computing.

But take note: Cloud computing takes planning, because each move to the cloud is unique.

To figure out whether cloud computing will deliver what you need, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?”

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