When you manage IT people, it can seem like spring fever hits your staff harder than other departments. Perhaps that’s because they work such long hours in the winter, tapping away at keyboards in darkened rooms long after the street lights have come on. It comes with the job.

Then someone cracks open a window and a fresh breeze washes over everyone. Your team gets that look in their eyes: the realization that there is more to life than performing SQL queries or provisioning resources. You feel it, too. Maybe tonight you’ll even manage to leave the office while there’s still daylight.

Suddenly, the network goes down and it’s all hands on deck. With a heavy sigh, you shut the window and tell your team to hunker down for a long, long day.

The 2017 Veeam Availability Report has some interesting statistics that indicate just how common a scenario like this might be:

  • 82% of respondents recognized the inadequacies of their recovery capabilities when compared with SLA expectations of their business units. Translation: They aren’t able to recover fast enough or prevent enough data loss to meet their commitments.
  • 66% of organizations report digital transformation initiatives are being hindered (either significantly or somewhat) by unplanned downtime or insufficient application availability. Not a good thing if yours is an information-driven organization prioritizing digital transformation.

It’s no wonder so many IT leaders believe unplanned downtime can negatively affect their career, even putting them out of a job. Here are a couple of strategies that can get you out of the office faster this spring.

2 Ways to Get Outside Faster

#1 Hope for the best; plan for the worst. To meet your SLAs, you need good disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity plans. Here are three elements to consider as you create yours.

Think hybrid. Planning for a disaster used to be prohibitively expensive because it required an investment in infrastructure to duplicate your operations. These days, cloud computing has dramatically lowered (often eliminating) these CapEx requirements.

Know your metrics. The two most important metrics in DR are Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). Setting realistic targets can help you make the most cost-effective investments and meet your business unit SLAs.

Remember your people. Physical disasters affect more than just data and systems. To minimize downtime, think about how you can get your people back to work in a timely manner while minimizing their stress. Our workgroup recovery services can help.

Related posts:
Disaster Recovery: Are Your Bases Covered?
Offsite Backups Are Not a Disaster Recovery Plan

#2 Apply an ounce (or more) of prevention. A strategy for preventing these outages in the first place will get you outside enjoying the fresh air even faster. To prevent unplanned downtime, it’s important to understand the root cause. According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2016 Cost of Data Center Outages Report, the top four root causes are:

UPS system failure (25%)
Human error (24%)
Distributed Denial of Service (22%)
Water, heat, or air conditioning failure (11%)

Let’s take a look at strategies for mitigating each of these risks:

UPS system failure – Testing your UPS systems can help prevent unexpected equipment failures. While this won’t prevent unplanned downtime, it can avert data loss by giving you enough time to shut down your systems and minimize damage.

Human error – It happens. In a recent Avaya study, 20% of companies said they had fired an employee for bringing the network down. The challenge is that most IT departments are spread thin and have limited budgets, which prevents them from hiring the level of expertise they really need. If this describes your organization, working with a Managed Service Provider to manage your networks and servers can help.

Distributed Denial of Service – According to the Ponemon Institute’s research, DDoS attacks are becoming more and more common. In 2010, they were the cause of only 2% of downtime. In 2013, that percentage skyrocketed to 18%, and in 2016, it climbed to 22%.

Water, heat, or air conditioning failure – Data centers are tightly controlled environments, but most organizations don’t have the budget to hire an experienced facilities manager. Putting your data center resources in the cloud or a cololocation environment can resolve this common problem.

Like what you’ve read? Contact us for a 30-minute no-obligation whiteboard session. A half hour with our IT experts may be just what you need to enjoy this spring and many more to come.


Todd Currie is VP and General Manager at TierPoint where he leads business operations and client engagement. Tapping a 19-year career in the technology industry, Todd guides clients through the rapid evolution of business technology and data center services with a focus on helping companies apply the right technologies that drive performance, manage risk and create market opportunity. He is based in the Oklahoma region. 

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