Infrastructure Impact Analysis

Technology has become so pervasive and indispensable to most businesses.  In today’s world, not only does ICT underpin the “nervous system” without which regular business transactions would not be possible, it has also become a strategic driver for innovation and competitive advantage.

Staggering investments have been made in technology to the point where, in certain instances, operational expenditure on ICT represents more than 40% of a company’s overall budget. For these reasons, protecting ICT resources and preventing ICT related operational disruptions, has become a key focus area of most organisations risk management efforts.

It is therefore important that CIOs and IT managers understand cost effective ways of providing operational resilience through the efficient management of ICT Service Continuity using techniques and solutions (e.g. virtualisation, high speed data replication, hosted managed services, etc.) that maximise value.

Managing ICT Service Continuity has become a C-level function requiring the combined expertise of the CIO, CFO and CRO to ensure that fair value is paid for ICT resilience measures, without compromising returns on profitability.

Our experience has shown that measures to ensure the availability and recoverability of ICT systems need not necessarily increase ICT capital or operational expenditure. Through careful analysis of an organization’s ICT Infrastructure landscape, ContinuitySA has formulated a mechanism to assist CIOs to benefit from the application of hybrid ICT Service Continuity and Disaster Recovery solutions which result in a smarter utilisation of ICT opex and capex.

What is an Infrastructure Impact Analysis?

The Infrastructure Impact Analysis (iIA™) is an advisory service provided by our business continuity experts and technical specialists to identify, segment and prioritise critical elements of your ICT infrastructure based on an analysis of:

(a) the level of business process dependency on the disparate elements of ICT and

(b) the operational as well as financial impacts resulting from the disruption of a single or combination of ICT components or systems.

The iIA™ is essentially a structured assessment of the impacts and associated costs resulting from the temporary disruption or permanent loss of various components of the ICT infrastructure, in terms of revenue streams, competitive advantage and market share. The outcome of an iIA™ is to enable a smarter way of financing your ICT Service Continuity requirements by ensuring optimal spending on ICT capex and opex for purposes of business function productivity and disaster recovery.

Advances in cloud computing have resulted in many IT executives over-specifying and over-spending on their ICT disaster recovery requirements. Replicating everything just because the technology to do so exists, does not make economic sense.  If anything, it represents a narrow-sighted and irresponsible utilisation of funds within the ICT budget which could be better spent on other areas within the business.

The IIA segments infrastructure into three tiers:

(i) super critical,
(ii) core but not pervasive and

(iii) core but pervasive.

 

 

The three tiers represent different levels of priority assigned to each segment of an organisation’s IT infrastructure based on the level of dependency which various business processes have on each component.  This in turn determines the type and cost of protection or resilience measures which need to be allocated for each infrastructure tier.

From a cost point of view, not all elements of the ICT infrastructure are co-locatable or replication-friendly.  Some are, for example transactional based systems and supporting infrastructure.

Our experience has proven that the bulk of systems which have longer Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Points Objectives (RPOs), can safely be protected using block-based-replication configured in snapshots which meet the prescribed RTO/ RPO specifications, with the data only being made available to production at the time of invocating the disaster recovery process.

Conducting the Infrastructure Impact Analysis

In conducting the IIA, ContinuitySA applies a best practice methodology encompassing the following steps and deliverables:

All elements of the ICT infrastructure landscape are examined during the IIA process.  This entails a detailed analysis of all elements within the ICT production environment from application servers, storage platforms, to network and security elements.

Depending on the complexities of a specific business environment, a traditional Business Impact Analysis (BIA) can be an elaborate and time consuming process to determine business continuity strategies and plans.

For companies which have not undertaken a traditional BIA or wish to streamline the time and effort spent in determining their ICT Service Continuity Framework and associated ICT Disaster Recovery Plan (ICT DRP), the IIA offers a targeted and quick-win approach to achieve these objectives.

An added benefit of conducting the IIA is an Efficiency Analysis on current versus optimal utilisation rates for bandwidth, server workloads and data throughputs which are required to support the required business continuity solutions.

The iIA’s™ tiering process enables focused spending on ICT resilience.

The iIA™provides the CIO with an ICT resilience financing profile which maximizes operational efficiencies in the way that ICT infrastructure is procured, utilized and protected.

Based on the iIA™, cost effective decisions can be made on which components of Infrastructure should be configured or deployed in High Availability and Geographical Redundancy mode and which elements are suited to traditional disaster recovery solutions.

ContinuitySA’s portfolio of services encompasses all facets of classic / traditional standby services for disaster recovery as well as cloud-computing based methods with respect to virtual server hosting and replication services. ContinuitySA also boasts a range of network services to support the cloud or virtualized business continuity services.

Contact ContuinuitySA to conduct an Infrastructure Impact Analysis for your company.