Click to learn more about author Ziv Kedem.
Entrepreneurs are natural risk takers, and risk is necessary to grow a business. But some risks are out of a business leader’s control and these outside forces must be considered for the overall longevity and survivability of a business.
Catastrophic events that include earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes and wildfires seem to be increasing in intensity. Cyberattacks are becoming so large-scale, their financial repercussions are lasting – hitting businesses with revenue losses, reputational damage, technology clean up, harsh fines, or worse, losses that are so severe they can’t recover. And outages of any kind – whether internet, cloud or a network providers failure can halt business immediately.
Whether direct or indirect, these events do create ripple effects in our hyperconnected world through shared technology ecosystems, supply chains, data and intelligence. This new and enabling – yet potentially crippling – dependence on technology has created a climate where 93% of organizations have experienced a technology-related business disruption in the past two years. As a result, businesses need to assess their current vulnerabilities, determine their risk tolerance levels, and act to mitigate any weak spots.
Below are three ways companies can mitigate their data risks in 2019 and foster more resilience.
1. Assess Geodiversity for Employees and Technology: Are most of your company’s assets, including your employees in one location? In the event of a disaster, putting people first should always be a top priority. Having an action plan to relocate employees and their families to a safer location if needed, is something that’s often overlooked, but it can save your most valuable assets. With the use of innovative technology like virtual desktops, employees can remain safe and also perform critical work functions remotely if needed. As your company expands, consider employing people in multiple locales or leveraging a remote workforce.
For IT, it’s important to have geodiversity in your data centers. The estimates of the financial losses when data centers go down are frightening – 98% of enterprise organizations say a single hour of downtime costs more than $100,000, according to ITIC. In addition, according to IDC estimates, 50% of organizations would not be able to survive a disaster event at their current level of preparedness – often due to a lack of properly protected and staged offsite data. Assess your company’s critical data and IT services risks. Determine if redundancy, continuous replication and availability of data exists, and if data can be moved quickly and easily to the cloud, or to an alternate data center when needed.
2. Avoid Vendor Lock-in: Modern consumers expect availability at all times. Your internal consumers rely heavily on technology to do their jobs. Therefore, it’s imperative that a modern organization provides services engineered to be immune to mistakes, hardware failures, security compromises, and data loss.
A recent Lloyds of London report calculated a catastrophic Cloud outage in the US to cost $19 billion. The reliance on many Clouds instead of just one Cloud Provider hedges risk should one go down, preventing this level of cost, and creating more flexibility for an organization. This was something that Jayme Williams, Senior Systems Engineer at TenCate realized, opting to deploy a Multi-Cloud Strategy after experiencing multiple ransomware attacks. This example highlights how redundancy in Cloud environments is critical, and the same should be true for your networks. Do you have failover options in place? A small investment in failover solutions that leverage 4G/5G wireless now can increase diversity, augment your current service and help ensure continuous business uptime should things go down.
IT organizations should also have the capability to shift data and workloads confidently, seamlessly, and with lightning speed to, from and between on-premises environments and any of a range of Cloud Providers. Business leaders should ensure their technology is chosen with interoperability in mind, with the potential to move workloads easily and without disturbing or disrupting business.
3. Plan and Practice: Lastly, you don’t want to wait for a natural disaster to bang down your door. Proper planning, that is pre-approved and practiced across all departments, is critical for success, should the worst happen. Plans must be laid out clearly with owners and step by step instructions. Plans must be signed off across all department heads, including your board of directors. This involves extended coordination and continuous communication, and in times of trouble will prove to make things as seamless as possible.
In 2019, it is almost guaranteed that the risks that organizations face will only grow in number, which makes it reassuring that a recent survey found that 94% of businesses expect to spend more on IT resilience in the next 24 months. So as sales teams push to close out the year with big numbers, IT teams and business leaders should also focus on shoring up defenses, reviewing plans for action if needed and metaphorically bearing down the hatches for what is to come.