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The Brilliance of Resilience in a Cognitive World

Recent headlines from the halls of Washington, D.C. to our major airports have served to remind us of the increasing complexity and importance of having complete layers of resilience that protect our business systems. These interlocking layers include combinations of high availability and disaster recovery (HA/DR), security and managed service solutions that completely envelop and protect a company’s critical systems and data. It’s the convergence of these technologies and services that have emerged to protect businesses and keep them compliant across hybrid environments in our fast-moving world.

Much has been published about the mounting rates of data proliferation, security breaches and system failures. As companies wrestle with making better use of their technology infrastructure and system assets, they’re finding it more difficult to keep their business systems protected and available in the midst of platform shifts. These shifts offer the promise of leveraging the best combination of on-premises, virtual cloud and mobile technologies to mitigate security threats.

Data Loss

Time itself has become a precious commodity as we struggle to satisfy compliance requirements that are set by corporate boards, auditors and government regulators. In a recent survey of 1,600 IT professionals conducted by Vision Solutions, 37 percent of respondents reported their business had lost a day or more of data in a recent outage. This volume of loss can alter careers—and in many industries, rise to the level of fiduciary neglect.

Of those who experienced data loss, 30 percent indicated the reason was storage failure and another 21 percent reported no viable backup copy. But data loss is only one of many data points that are top of mind for business leaders.

In fact, a convergence is underway of key metrics that have greatly increased the importance of keeping business systems highly resilient. Here are a few of the most common terms:

• Recovery time objective (RTO) identifies how long your critical business systems can afford to be down
• Recovery point objective (RPO) identifies how much data your business is willing to lose
• Security objectives include myriad challenges that keep corporate executives awake at night, such as eliminating system breaches and preventing intellectual property theft
• Company reputation and customer loyalty objectives vary widely but can have a positive impact on valuations and other financials when systems are secure

Layers of Resilience

The good news is a convergence is underway of HA/DR, security and managed service solutions that completely envelop and protect a company’s critical systems and data. It’s the integration of these technologies and services that protects businesses and keeps them compliant across hybrid environments.

These layers of resilience serve to protect data and systems, while giving businesses the peace of mind they need to focus on their core objectives, knowing they are complying with regulations and satisfying key stakeholders, regulators and auditors.

Managed Services Layer
Bringing it all together, a managed service with a trusted provider is an ideal option to ease the complexity of leveraging and managing hybrid environments. These providers increasingly include special skill sets to manage blends of physical, virtual and cloud-based systems.

Even in the simplest environment, managed services remove the burden from your IT staff by handling the day-to-day management of your resilient environment to ensure you stay protected and switch-ready. These experts can also perform periodic audits and annual switch tests.

Management and Analytic Layer
In response to increasing levels of privacy breaches, regulatory requirements and planned and unplanned system downtime incidents, central dashboards are in high demand. These user-friendly interfaces allow system administrators and security officers to monitor system availability; identify performance issues and suspicious behavior; drill down to the appropriate system, asset, object or user; and quickly take an appropriate action.

Security Layer
In another recent survey conducted by Vision Solutions, 52 percent of respondents indicated that compliance auditing and reporting is the primary security-related measure they are addressing in the coming year. A fully integrated security suite addresses that growing requirement by enabling companies to control access, maintain compliance, conduct and support audits and provide dashboards, alerts and reports.

The most complete suites enable system administrators, security officers and auditors to monitor and manage across groups of systems within a single interface. Managing security across systems significantly reduces reporting efforts and simplifies enterprise-level oversight.

HA/DR Layer
A number of factors must be considered when selecting an HA/DR solution to meet your backup and recovery requirements. The industry’s most trusted brands meet important RTOs and RPOs while minimizing the bandwidth required to replicate data across systems and locations. The most proven solutions also eliminate the need for expensive storage add-ons, and they require minimal levels of maintenance operations or management oversight.

Addressing Tomorrow’s Challenges

As IT professionals have experienced, the state of business resilience has been profoundly affected by historic weather events, business model shifts, technological advancements and the “graying” of the workforce. Nevertheless, pressures to meet customer expectations and fiduciary commitments have made “always-on” more than a catchphrase: It’s a commitment. Thus the increasing need to converge HA/DR and security technologies, with managed services to keep business systems resilient in increasingly complex, hybrid environments.

Companies that manage more data centers with legacy methods and technologies can be left behind in a rapidly evolving landscape, as IT leaders continue to juggle day-to-day responsibilities while planning for upcoming challenges.

However, IT staffs globally are dedicated to meeting higher expectations and conquering tougher challenges as they implement more progressive ways to address these cycles of change in their technology systems. Their efforts directly impact profitability, employee and customer satisfaction, and overall company reputation and valuation.