Building Resilient IT Infrastructure

The last few years have shown essentially every person and business that anything can happen and change in the blink of an eye.

This reality is felt keenly in the world of technology, where cyberattacks are all too common and pose real threats to individuals’ and countries’ most valuable information. We’ve lived through global and national disruptions, and we know that the IT space is susceptible to attack – so how do we respond? 

One of the foundational ways to approach and prepare for disruptions (anything from a power outage to a pandemic to a cyberattack) is to achieve IT resilience. 

Simply put, IT resilience is having the fortitude and ability to defend your information in the face of an unexpected attack. Additionally, it allows you to continue business operations amid chaos because your IT infrastructure and systems have been prepared all along.

A similar concept surrounding IT resilience is business continuity, which is related to IT resilience but is not the same. Business Continuity is more concerned with having a consistent plan for your healthiest business operations, whether your organization is in crisis or not.

A strong business continuity plan and a resilient IT infrastructure enable your organization to respond well to crises.

You can have the best IT systems, training, and strategies in place for your company – but failing to develop a resilient IT  infrastructure will leave you high and dry when your organization and those you serve need you most.

Planning for foreseen and unforeseen cyber disruptions 

Cyber disruptions can happen for reasons that have nothing to do with ill intent – whether routine maintenance or a software update, your company will know that these cyber disruptions are coming – but they are disruptions nonetheless. You can have knee surgery and plan for it for months, but that doesn’t change the recovery process once it happens! 
Then, there are unforeseen cyber disruptions, which can include malicious attacks like ransomware but can also include things like accidental data deletion, power outages, and server failure. 

The best way to combat cyber failure disruptions is to build resilient IT infrastructure by implementing the following components:    

Continuous availability 

Enables users to experience little to no downtime in the event of an unforeseen cyber disruption and is achieved by accomplishing the following three goals:

  1. High Availability
 Specifically focuses on removing single points of failure. This means identifying any server your network depends on and ensuring that no system will fail if that single server goes down. In other words, your organization always knows they’ll have a plan B if plan A fails. 
  2. Disaster Recovery

This is the specific process of planning for the aftermath of a disaster, which includes backing up critical data, recovering data, and having detailed plans for how to interact with stakeholders in the event of an emergency. Your disaster recovery plan should be a comprehensive strategy that every member of your organization is trained in.
  3. Backup and Recovery
Backing up information is one of the main ways to achieve continuous availability – if you lose your data, you can’t move forward with your typical operations. Backing up your data across multiple platforms is key to responding swiftly in the event of an attack or system failure. 

Workload mobility

This is the ability to transfer one system or an entire dataset to or from a cloud automatically, which removes the chance of human error and ensures data security. Certain applications are suited best for cloud storage, while others need to be stored on-site. The needs of your organization’s applications can shift and change over time, so it’s crucial to know you can securely move them on or offsite as needed.

Cloud agility

Rather than storing all of your data on one cloud (which is still a great first step for building your infrastructure!), your ability to respond to cyber threats is strengthened the more you have your data stored on not one but multiple clouds. In the event that one cloud is rendered defenseless, you know that you still have at least one other cloud (from a different provider) to still backup your information. Think of it like insurance for your insurance, and rest assured your information is secure. 

There are two main strategies for cloud agility:

  1. Multi-cloud
    This is the use of multiple public cloud providers, such as using Google and AWS for various needs within your company. Rather than choosing one cloud to meet all your needs, you can create a multi-cloud strategy that incorporates the best of multiple clouds to suit your organization’s preferences.
  2. Hybrid cloud
    A hybrid cloud takes the customization element of multi-cloud use and extends it to both public and private clouds. Your organization may choose to employ a hybrid-cloud system for greater security, or to reap the particular benefits of public and private clouds at once.

Fortifying your IT infrastructure can feel overwhelming – but if this article tells us anything, it’s that there are so many options to ensure your data is secure. 
When your organization achieves IT infrastructure resilience, you will be better equipped to serve your customers, respond to threats, and maintain high performance amid unexpected system challenges.

If you have questions about implementing these reinforcements for your systems, please reach out! We’d love to talk you through it.