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When IT Hits the Fan: What IT Should Do When Infrastructure Goes Down

4 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on May 10, 2018 9:14:20 AM

Your IT infrastructure is a delicate part of your overall business. It is the glue that holds together all of the hardware, software, data, and information that keeps your staff, customers, managers, and stakeholders up to date whilst your business runs smoothly. However, as with any technology reliant parts of your organization, there will be occasions when your IT infrastructure fails.

Although this isn't an ideal situation for any business to have to face, as long as there are caretaking procedures in place, your business can continue to run without too much difficulty until infrastructure is restored.

IS your IT infrastructure recovery procedure addressed in your business continuity plan?

What is IT infrastructure?

IT infrastructure comprises of the software, hardware, network resources, and services necessary for the operation, management, and existence of an enterprise IT environment. The infrastructure enables an organization to deliver IT services and solutions to the employees, customers, and partners. This is usually internal to an organization and implemented within an enterprise owned facility. Precisely, an IT infrastructure comprises of all the elements that are involved in overall IT, and IT-enabled operations. If there is no IT infrastructure, the businesses will struggle to move and share data in an efficient way, in turn affecting the workplace process.

How Can Infrastructure Outages be Prevented?

Predict Using Pre-Collected Data Trends

To prevent losing revenue, reputation, and customers you can collate and log existing data in order to best predict the circumstances needed for an infrastructure outage to occur. This way, your IT response team will have the data available to foresee an oncoming outage and stop it in its tracks before disaster occurs.

Once your IT team have collated and correlated sets of data, they can apply predictive analytics. This way, your IT response team will be almost fully prepared for failure. Weaknesses can be pinpointed, fixed, and tested before they become public problems for your business.

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Data driven projections can reveal the effects of growth or surges in traffic numbers. Accurate predictions make it possible to cost, and carefully provision resources to meet demand as needed.

Analyze Response Not Utilization

With a myriad of data available to your IT team, it can be difficult to know what to analyze. Therefore, it's important to concentrate on the performance of your online assets, rather than machine utilization.

Understand how, when, and why your customers visit your website and related applications, and how they expect your them to perform. What are the user expectations for their overall experience when accessing them? Do they address the objectives of your business and offer enough information for your customers? Is this information available to be accessed quickly and efficiently?

Make the necessary adjustments so that your customer can access all of your services with speed and efficiently.

Plan

Plan for any infrastructure outages. Consider when they are most likely to happen. When will you expect a surge in traffic? Are your systems vulnerable to viruses? Although you can't predict every possible outcome, you can use the data available from past experience to make informed predictions that could save you and your team a lot of money and time.

If you're expecting a technical slowdown; prepare and prevent. Use emergency notification systems to inform customers, staff, and stakeholders if you are having predicted potential infrastructure problems. This is particularly essential if you have an eCommerce business. If your bread and butter is reliant on the functionality and infrastructure of your website, then planning and prevention need to be executed using metrics, analytics, and smart algorithms.

Test

When you upgrade hardware or software you must test your infrastructure to make sure it all works smoothly in sync with these changes. Testing repeatedly for various scenarios can help prevent customer and revenue loss following a service failure. This can also prevent public embarrassment and brand reputation damage which can have potentially long-lasting damage.

How Should IT Respond When Infrastructure Goes Down?

Presuming that you have a business continuity plan in place, you should have already selected an IT response team with pre-defined roles for restoring normality in times such as these. Let's also presume that you have planned and tested scenarios using pre-correlated data selected around themes of IT and infrastructure.

Consult Your IT Response Team

As soon as your infrastructure goes down you must consult your IT response team and ensure that they are working at restoring systems as quickly and efficiently as possible. They can then notify all parties impacted by this failure using your emergency notification system in order to keep everybody up to date with what's occurring in real-time.

Your IT response team should then consult your business continuity plan and adhere to pre-defined procedures that will ensure that your business continues to run as best as it can, until all infrastructure is restored to a fully functional level.

Inform all Parties

Make sure that all parties are informed that need to be notified of any changes in your business infrastructure. Consider customers service, stakeholders, staff, and management when you are sending out notifications ad updates regarding the situation.

Make sure that all parties are informed using messaging systems and platforms that are relevant to them. If you have an emergency notification system in place, you may have already segmented various audiences into relevant categories so that you can message them all at the click of a button.

If you envisage the problem lasting a while, you may be able to schedule updates into the future to keep key people informed as often as necessary.

Fix and Learn from any Mistakes

Once this problem has been resolved, restructure your infrastructure and IT team in order to maximise preventative measures for potential future IT infrastructure problems. Take a look at all the reasons that this failure took place, and edit your business continuity plan in accordance to increase is efficiency and prevent future problems.

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Topics: business continuity, Technology