10/05/2021 - 12:00

How to rethink resilience in the age of disruption

10/05/2021 - 12:00

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By Claire Sangster, WA State Manager, NEXTDC 

 

The combination of digital transformation and a global health crisis means organisational resilience has never been more important as strategic goal. According to KPMG, building resilience is set to become a core skill requirement for every organisation to foster in the post-pandemic world.  

Today’s data economy means business never sleeps. Therefore, organisations are eyeing speed, immediacy and resilience in order to adapt quickly to disruption, maintain continuous business operations, and protect people, data, assets and brand power.  

Ready for anything 

In essence, resilient organisations are ‘always in a state of readiness’ meaning they’re uniquely placed to respond to change, survive uncertainty and endure disruption. Moreover, they’re better equipped to innovate and create disruption, both to themselves and their market.  

A shared commonality amongst all digitally progressive organisations is a continual improvement focus on strengthening the resilience posture. Having a ‘resilience plan’ not only protects operational efficiency, cash flow and the balance sheet, but also drives real competitive advantage. It’s become the ‘new cool’ for many organisations as they take a fresh, deeper look at the risks they face and how they plan to mitigate them.  

Certainly, digital transformation is fuelling the push. According to Gartner, organisations are reprioritising their digital investment plans to increase business resilience and prepare for accelerated, larger-scale transformation. 

Businesses are rethinking digitisation strategies and reviewing their dependence on self-managed digital infrastructure. Blind to the next big external disruption, ‘being prepared’ (like the boy scout’s motto) – particularly on the data centre front – is not only smart but makes good business sense.  

Organisational resilience starts with digital infrastructure 

Digital transformation has become a critical lever to build business continuity and resilience. KPMG also reports that fears of more regular, unexpected crisis events, given our interconnected world, will provide the stimuli needed for advancing resilience agendas. This is especially the case for many small to medium enterprises that have lagged in their digital transformation journeys.  

With data and business never sleeping, organisations require certainty around power, security, and connectivity, the linchpins in keeping critical infrastructure available 100% of the time. As organisations continue to advance their digital transformation and accelerate their journey to cloud, the need for an interconnection-orientated digital infrastructure platform that is both reliable and highly available heightens. It’s the new imperative for driving business forward today and will continue to be well into the future. 

Regardless of how you look at it, organisations need to bolster digital and operational resilience in a bid to ensure their people, processes and technology are prepared for whatever lies ahead.  

Just look to the guidance from Uptime Institute (UI), which offers the most recognised validation for data centre resiliency, and whose certification program embodies the need for resiliency.  

UI urges organisations to undertake a thorough evaluation of risk, as well as conduct a hybrid infrastructure data centre assessment, which can offer invaluable insights into the overall performance and fault tolerance of a complex system. 

Third-party certification is validation and non-negotiable 

It’s important to consider the certification piece of your physical digital environments. Identify what level of resilience and redundancy is needed to support your immediate and longer-term resilience objectives and ensure you find a solution that’s independently verified as capable to deliver on those requirements.  

But it doesn’t stop there. Keeping your business interconnected, powered and secured all of the time goes beyond simply having UI certification. There should be rigorous processes and procedures in place to ensure your IT services operate uninterrupted and in alignment with the need for flexibility and agility. 

Things to consider 

  • Is the location where your infrastructure is housed independently tested, certified and continuously monitored?  
  • Are you able to support business operations during a disaster, or other unforeseen events?  
  • Does it undergo rigorous BCP testing protocols, like Dark Site testing, to monitor the fault tolerance of electrical infrastructure and ensure 100% operational uptime?  

Zero downtime guaranteed   

To service the modern-day customer, organisations need to deliver service excellence, without disruption, and they require assistance to help reduce the risk posture. Locations where you house the critical digital infrastructure enabling you to achieve those requirements must deliver a level of resiliency that’s less complex, and more cost-effective. 

There are three major items on the ‘resilience checklist’ to consider:  

  • Hardware redundancy;  
  • Simulating failure situations; and  
  • The importance of monitoring systems.  

Redundancy is a big talking point; the goal is to ensure zero downtime, even in worst case scenarios. Certainly, there’s growing pressure to maintain 100% uptime and recover quickly from any disruption – no matter the cause.  

But redundancy dictates that for every data centre component required for robust, continuous operation there’s at least one duplicate standby component – making it an expensive, complex proposition if tackled on your own.  

Questions to consider about organisational resilience: 

  • Do you know what the cost to your productivity and revenues is in the event of an IT outage? 
  • Is your cyber security strategy merged with your physical security strategy? 
  • How quickly can your infrastructure and connectivity architecture be reconfigured to effectively manage planned change and unexpected disruption? 
  • Do you have the technical expertise within your organisation to respond quickly to unforeseen service interruptions? 
  • Is your infrastructure flexible and equipped to scale easily – without interruption to your business – to meet demand peaks and troughs? 

The main consideration here is how you can guarantee data centre uptime without being financially and operationally responsible. Reach out to NEXTDC to further understand how business continuity starts with digital resilience. 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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