IT outages can have serious financial consequences.
Per Gartner, IT outages cost companies an average of $5,600 per minute, amounting to over $300,000 per hour. And the reputational implications are equally as damaging.
Most recently, cloud services provider Fastly suffered an outage that prevented people from accessing sites like Reddit, Twitch, Hulu, The New York Times, and more for nearly an hour, resulting in mass confusion and frustration. Unfortunately, Fastly isn’t the only company to experience this sort of devastating setback – and it won’t be the last.
As IT grows more complex, there are more opportunities for failure. Luckily, there are measures you can take ahead of time. Follow these three steps to prevent IT outages from disrupting your business.
1. Architect for resiliency and high availability
Today, businesses require constant operations and are expected to architect for higher availability. Make sure you build resilience into your production systems, so they have a greater level of availability. Additionally, build redundancy and fault tolerance into your production systems.
It’s important to remember, however, that highly available systems are more expensive, and they don’t address every type of disaster. Which is why you need to…
2. Implement a disaster recovery plan
If your production and IT systems fail, you must have the technology and solutions in place to recover your business in your disaster recovery (DR) location. Therefore, you must implement a DR plan.
A reliable DR plan includes a detailed course of action for before, during and after a disruption. As far as technology goes, digital tools are instrumental. You need software that can be used to carry out risk assessment, performance monitoring and security checks. Data collection is also important, as it can be used to analyze your business processes and tell you which ones should be prioritized.
Make sure you tier your applications based on business value and define your recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).
Consider enlisting third-party help with your DR planning, as well as embracing cloud-based recovery solutions like disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). That way your business can benefit from real-time back up and expert consultancy to help you with your plans.
3. Address people, processes and governance
Of course, it’s not just about your technology and systems. Your people, processes and governance are equally vital.
Establish a dedicated DR team that’s properly and consistently trained so they know their roles if a disruption occurs and have built the requisite muscle memory to be fully prepared and recovery ready.
Additionally, be sure to test your DR plan regularly. How often you should test varies, but it usually depends on how much downtime your business can afford.
Typically, if you have a two-day requirement, you should test twice per year. If you have a one-day requirement, you should test once per quarter. You must also factor in major changes to your environment, or to internal or external requirements.
Regular testing is the only way you’re going to uncover and fix any problems with your plan before it’s too late.