Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

What Exactly IS Mission Critical? By @TMcAlpinxm | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Disasters are rare, and – in case you haven’t heard – data breaches are not

When business disruption, occurs, it is more likely to sneak in through your defenses than it is to overwhelm you by fire, flood, earthquake or hurricane. Instead of breaking in through your walls and ceilings, it sneaks in through your defenses to steal data, install malware or freeze your operating system.

Business disruptions used to be natural disasters, resolved by the Business Continuity Department, and sometimes they still are. But disasters are rare, and - in case you haven't heard - data breaches are not.

That's unfortunate because, according to a recent survey conducted by Dimensional Research, 80 percent of IT professionals say losing digital data is more damaging than losing buildings or vehicles, and an IT disruption starts to impact the business within just 15 minutes.

The New Reality
Service-level agreements (SLAs) for reporting and resolving incidents are getting shorter. Employees and customers have expectations that services will always be on - so much so that any drop in service is unacceptable.

Even for a problem with corporate email, IT has to determine what is mission critical to the business, and how it should react.

What Is Mission Critical?
To a certain extent, what is mission critical depends on your business and the expectations of your customers and employees. If you process credit card payments, every second of downtime is a disaster. But if you stream polka music, 10 minutes of downtime is just, well, a blessing to your neighbors.

So I've put together a few guidelines to help find the line between mission critical and merely important:

  • Affects revenue: A major incident is generally one that affects customers and hits the bottom line. So even if your core business is operating, if your customer relationship management (CRM) or marketing automation system goes down and you can't generate sales leads... that's something we would call mission critical.

Recommendation: Contact your major incident manager right away and begin resolution. In the meanwhile, have a backup plan, even if it's just Excel templates. Your sales reps can standardize their data until they can enter it into the system.

  • Hurts customer satisfaction: If customers cannot use your product or contact you, you're going to hear about it. This is especially true if you provide one of those key services like CRM or marketing automation.

Recommendation: Be proactive with your customer communications so they hear about outages from you before they discover it for themselves or see it on social media.

  • Reduces employee productivity: At one time, people waited patiently if your email was down. Today, most information workers would turn to Slack or another service, but employees who still rely on email have no patience for being without it.

Recommendation: Take a cue from your customer communication and be proactive.

  • Threatens compliance: For credit card companies, lending institutions and banks, a communication outage or any suspicious activity can run afoul of regulators.

Recommendation: Honesty is the best policy. Have regulators' contact information in your communication system so you can alert them without fumbling for phone numbers or emails, further increasing downtime.

  • Potential future impacts: In today's hyper-connected business environment, remembering where your systems end and third-party systems begin is challenging. Suppose a third-party monitoring system goes down and you lose sight of activity on a third-party incident ticketing system. It's sheer terror until systems are restored and you can see if there is damage.

Recommendation: Include redundancies throughout your system supply chain. Use closed-loop system integrations so you can keep an audit trail in the originating system of record.

  • Special cases: In June 2015, the U.S. State Department revealed that it had not issued visas to travelers around the world for weeks because of a computer glitch. This error impacts travelers, but it also presents a very serious security risk.

Recommendation: Have a major incident communication and resolution plan in place. Have consequences for SLAs.

Today, something as small as an operational glitch can bring an enterprise to its knees, so it's best to have a plan and technology in place to rectify disruptions quickly and easily and get the business back up and running.

More Stories By Troy McAlpin

Troy McAlpin brings more than 20 years of experience to his leadership role at xMatters, with expertise in process automation, strategic initiatives and corporate strategy. His domain experience includes IT strategy and vertical market expertise including technology, banking, consumer and retail industries. Prior to founding xMatters, formerly AlarmPoint Systems, he managed marketing, sales, development, M&A and financial aspects at two successful start-up companies and also worked at AT&T Solutions and Andersen.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Early Bird Registration Discount Expires on August 31, 2018 Conference Registration Link ▸ HERE. Pick from all 200 sessions in all 10 tracks, plus 22 Keynotes & General Sessions! Lunch is served two days. EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2018. Ticket prices: ($1,295-Aug 31) ($1,495-Oct 31) ($1,995-Nov 12) ($2,500-Walk-in)
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...