We see resilience as one of the four integral key pillars to any IT strategy success. Our unique approach and forward-thinking looks to support and deliver ‘outstanding’ around those 4 pillars, which also include performance, security, and compliance plans.
IT resilience provides the capacity to recover quickly from a system failure or intentional cyber-attack to ensure seamless business continuity. We have identified several key areas where having robust systems have the most impact in mitigating disaster. Effective IT resilience can pay dividends to system-availability, productivity, marketing effectiveness and even customer retention.
LAN & SD-Branch
Ensuring your LAN infrastructure uses fully-managed switches with resilient port-channel connectivity and dual power feeds is an excellent place to start. Resilient layer-2 technologies such as Spanning Tree, LACP, and Virtual Chassis are often un-optimally configured or not enabled at all.
If your business has multiple branch locations, adopting the SD-Branch model increases resilience, performance, and security. It also lowers costs while simplifying branch management and new site provisioning processes. At Think Connect, our team of experts can quickly and efficiently review your current LAN infrastructure and reveal specific areas needing improvement.
WAN & SD-WAN
Due to a multitude of environmental challenges, the physical circuits that make up your Wide Area Network infrastructure are prone to failure. We strongly recommend that every site should have at least 2 WAN circuits. To ensure seamless failover should disaster strike, utilising supplier and local exchange diversity is a solid best practice. L3 services such as HSRP/VRRP/GLBP, OSPF, BGP, and IP SLA tracking can ensure automated failover should your primary line go down for any reason.
SD-WAN is a design model that takes resilience to the next level. A single or multi-site business can not only enjoy full WAN diversity, but SD-WAN’s central orchestrator also ensures that traffic can take the most optimal path possible. Real-time services (i.e. voice and video calls) will be re-directed to use the WAN path with the lowest latency. Traffic that is not as sensitive to latency but needs more bandwidth (i.e. bulk download and internet browsing) can use a larger capacity link.
If you are interested in reviewing your existing WAN infrastructure or considering migrating to SD-WAN, we are on hand to guide you every step of the way.
Virtual Services – IaaS, PaaS and SaaS
Cloud services such as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS have made a significant impact on shared network applications. Usually provided as a pay-as-you-go model, these cloud computing models are scalable, plus you only need to pay for services when you use them.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a design model that migrates your servers, disk storage and virtualisation layer onto our cloud service. The only aspect you are responsible for is managing the virtual server operating system and the applications that sit on top; we handle the rest.
With Platform as a Service (PaaS), we also supply and maintain the virtual server’s operating systems and back-end services such as backups and user accounts. This model is designed for application development so your team can focus on the application without concerning themselves with hardware support, virtual server build, operational issues, and backups.
SaaS is the entire shooting-match. Think Connect manage the entire system on your behalf, including end-user applications. Our team also handles network hardware, virtual servers, operating systems, backups, software upgrades and support.
Cloud Data Storage & Secure Off-Site Backup
Cloud computing leads nicely onto our next area of resilience, cloud data storage and secure off-site backup. We thoroughly recommend a hybrid approach by combining a well-respected public cloud service such as Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure with Think Connects private cloud service. A private cloud is essentially a more secure version of public-cloud services that are not accessible via the internet.
Storing your data in a public or private cloud has several benefits, such as access-from-anywhere ability and reduced server costs. Data resilience is another significant benefit. By using a secure distributed cloud service for your data storage requirements, data resilience becomes built-in.
Secure online backups using one or more cloud providers is an effective strategy to increase your data’s integrity and security. You can utilise either private or public cloud services (or both for) added resilience and incorporate technologies such as air-gap immutable backups, discussed in the next section.
Disaster Recovery (DR) Preparation
A well thought out, documented, and implemented Disaster Recovery plan is often an overlooked step, only called upon when there is a significant service-affecting issue. The advice we give to all of our customers regarding using an effective DR policy is to document key processes, implement, test, and review.
From anti-ransomware air-gap immutable backups with unchangeable data to resilient cloud and edge DR systems, Think Connect has every angle covered. If you are unsure of the most effective DR technology and processes to put in place, we are on-hand to guide you every step of the way.
IT Service Desk
The saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is an effective mantra to adopt when aiming to reduce the business impact caused by service affecting issues on your corporate network infrastructure. A technically proficient and effective IT Service desk adds a vital additional layer of resilience to your network operations.
With the right team in place, a potential service-affecting issue can be quickly identified and efficiently resolved before the problem escalates. WAN degradation, applications crashes, DDoS attacks, and server hardware failure are just a handful of issues that, if identified early on, can reduce or eliminate system downtime.
The Think Connect IT helpdesk offers a service that can be on-hand for your business, 24/7/365. We have specialist teams trained on LAN, WAN, security, cloud, voice, and more.
Anywhere Operations (AO)
Analysts have already predicted that by 2023, up to 40% of organisations will have adopted a hybrid-office model that supports remote working, reduces unnecessary staff commutes and relaxes rigid 9-5 schedules.
Far from being an interim work-from-home solution, Anywhere Operations (AO) is a design model that creates the ideal environment for enhanced customer services and employee remote working.
With AO, day-to-day operational processes can be performed by staff from any remote location. This geo-location diversity adds a welcome layer of resilience to business-critical services. Should there be a connectivity issue in the main office, your remote-working teams can take over until service is resumed.
Think Connect offers a full consultancy service to analyse your AO business requirements and provide a detailed future roadmap. We combine several key technologies such as secure team-based applications, efficient video conferencing and document sharing, always-on cloud applications, and secure remote VPN services.
Resilience comes in several forms; hardware, software, LAN, WAN, cloud services, remote working, and disaster recovery processes all play their part in building a solid foundation for the technology platform your business relies on. With the right solution in place, your network can be both self-protecting and self-healing.