IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

Many organizations are turning to hybrid multicloud environments to help ensure that resilience is maintained and enhanced in this period of  accelerated digital transformation. Andrea Sayles highlights four areas that organizations need to consider in their migration to hybrid multicloud.

As part of their response to the ongoing challenge and threat from COVID-19, organizations are looking for new ways to maintain and protect their operations, critical applications, and data, while being better prepared to more effectively respond to emerging threats.

For many, this requires undergoing or accelerating a significant digital transformation, including embracing hybrid multicloud solutions and AI applications that demand expertise and skills many companies may not have today.

Establishing a resiliency plan that parallels a cloud-based digital transformation is critical. Balancing resilience automation, appropriate staffing, and governance and management practices will enable clients to pave the way for long-term success, while being ready for whatever new hurdles COVID-19 or other crises create in the future.

To underscore the growing importance of business resiliency and digital transformation during these uncertain times, here are four key imperatives organizations should consider in their migration to a hybrid multicloud environment:

Develop a clear view of the hybrid multicloud growth plan

When embarking on a major digital transformation, it is important for organizations to begin with a realistic look at where they are in moving applications and data to the cloud, and how the complexity of the move will expand over the next two to three years. As part of this evaluation, they can identify and understand how critical and important each of their applications are as they move through this process. Once that happens, organizations should create a hybrid infrastructure team to ensure all plans and changes are reviewed, approved, and aligned to the hybrid strategy and growth plans, before any changes are implemented that may impact future business outcomes.

Require identification of application and infrastructure dependency, vulnerabilities, and risks – and their potential business impacts

Taking the step to identify application and infrastructure dependency, vulnerabilities, and risks is a necessary step in making sure organizations have considered all potential business impacts when planning a move to a hybrid multicloud environment. After this, they should update their plans by tracking past performance, including the number of incidents – their causes, the severity of business impact, how they were identified, how they were remediated, and the cost of remediation. One way to track performance is with a business impact analysis (BIA) which looks at business processes, applications, and risks that could impact the business strategy, growth plans, and key objectives of any migration to hybrid multicloud. Using the information from the BIA, organizations can create and update the mapping of applications to technology for the short-term and long-term that will show the application interdependencies which are critical to understand in this transformation.

Build out a view of how the resiliency plan will operate within the overall cloud strategy

It is important for decision makers to consider how their resiliency plan will operate within their organization’s overall cloud implementation. The view they create should include their approach to backup and recovery, monitoring, and event response. It’s particularly important to pay attention to the level of automation and the availability of staff with the skills to meet present and future needs as organizations consider their event response protocol. According to a recent Forrester study commissioned by IBM, one-third of hybrid multicloud decision makers agreed their firms do not have the right skills to manage their hybrid multicloud resilience processes, and another one-third stated they do not have the staff with the right skills to recover quickly from system outages and downtime. By considering any gaps that exist in an organization’s hybrid multicloud resilience process, decision makers can hire appropriate partners to fill those gaps.

Look for partners to accelerate realization of the resilience plan

The use of partners to address resilience allows for the sharing of knowledge and best practices across an entire organization. Internal IT teams will know their own systems and environments while partners can bring in local resources that have market and industry knowledge, technical expertise and best practices needed for success. The right partner needs to bring various skills and best practices including cloud skills, resiliency skills, and security skills along with proven processes. Decision makers should rely on partners to act as trusted advisors during their digital transformation journeys. Also, good partners can help determine if, when, and how, to best use automation and new or enhanced skills to deliver on the resilience strategy and plan – both initially for rapid acceleration and for long-term stability and operations.

As organizations undergo and continue their digital transformation journeys, many are choosing to migrate their workloads to hybrid multicloud platforms. While this migration can bring significant benefits, it also introduces new security and business continuity risks, as well as complexity. Many organizations are not prepared for these risks, are potentially leaving their data vulnerable, and putting themselves in danger of losing customers, market share and brand reputation. Now is the time for organizations to re-evaluate their resiliency, business continuity, and IT recovery plans and make sure they have the ability to update those plans and test them to ensure that they are fully aligned with their business strategy, objectives and outcomes.

The author

Andrea Sayles is General Manager of IBM Business Resiliency Services. Go to IBM's 2Q earnings announcement to find out why more and more clients are turning to IBM to help them achieve their resiliency and technology goals.

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