Well, not really post-Sandy. #Frankenstorm is still swirling around in the Northeast, not quite done leaving a morass of devastation. The thoughts of those fortunate CIOs (like me) not still in full-fledged disaster mode should rightly turn to business continuity planning.
Or better said, business resiliency planning. I don’t particularly wish to plan to recover systems and services. The ‘new normal’ is to build resilience into information technology from the beginning.
Recovery by its nature implies customer impact. Resiliency can reduced or even elimininate impact.
Most existing, sizable organizations like UNH have a heterogeneous set of systems, ranging from legacy apps on individual servers to SaaS or cloud. So there probably isn’t a one-size-fits-all.
- Leverage shared physical infrastructure: UNH and Keene State College share dark fiber running from the seacoast over to Keene in the western part of New Hampshire. We have virtually unlimited bandwidth between the two campuses, so are increasingly using each other’s data center capacity to make systems more resilient.
- Leverage alternate solutions: For new applications, cloud models are always a primary option, and due diligence is conducted to make sure the hosting locations have built-in resilience (with SLAs to match). The new services in our eUNH platform, such as lecture capture, are in the cloud.
- Build resiliency into the lifecycle: With each upgrade, reduce the need for recovery by looking at ways to have resiliency. We’re looking at eventually moving our enterprise systems into the cloud.
- Security, security, security. Don’t let malware create a disaster, possibly with serious financial and public relations consequences.
The above are obvious possible solutions. We can’t control Mother Nature or backhoes cutting through cables, but we can have the foresight, leadership and collaboration to make iterative, positive progress to increase resiliency and reduce the need for recovery planning.
Aside: The best people I know at resiliency and recovery are local public safety professionals. My hat goes off to UNH and Durham police, firefighters and emergency personnel. CIOs can learn from the dedicated professionals in your communities.