Formulating a Strategic Implementation Plan
Step No. 3: Formulating a strategic implementation plan
Next, your small or midsize business will formulate a strategic implementation plan beginning with a risk-based analysis. This will determine the level of risk versus capital investments an organization is willing to make to ensure viability. Your plan will be guided by the wisdom gleaned from the following analysis to determine where best to focus your expenditures on a reliable system. To determine the strategic implementation plan, the four business models below need to be analyzed:
1. On-site versus off-site: Determine whether the investment will be made for an on-site infrastructure that will include redundant systems for power, cooling, connectivity and hardware, or will partnering with a hosted co-location facility be a better investment with less TCO? Every plan must include an off-site option, with automatic replication or manual storage in case of a physical disaster.
2. Downtime tolerance: Determine how tolerant an organization as a whole is to downtime. Then, within the organization, a tolerance threshold determination needs to be made depending upon the type of data, services being provided and customer demand. This will determine the layers of redundancy required by the organization to prevent downtime.
3. Quantity of data: Determine how much infrastructure to invest into the on-site location, based on the amount of data that is deemed mission-critical and needed to recover from a disaster. The cost point of on-site redundancy versus off-site remote access will focus the organization on where to invest its precious dollars.
4. Communications infrastructure: In conjunction with the quantity of data, determine the communication infrastructure needed to replicate large amounts of data to an off-site location or which network services are necessary to maintain a reliable remote access connection to off-site repositories of live data. The more data being replicated, the larger the data access point will need to be. Eventually, the cost will be prohibitive for replication and remote access will make more sense.
Step No. 4: Executing the implementation plan
Now that you have designed a plan to respond quickly to user needs, lost or damaged data, server crashes and natural or unnatural disasters, you are ready to execute. Ongoing testing and monitoring of the system is key, as test restorations and war-gaming help you prepare for recovery. The policy, plan and procedures will need to change periodically as your system grows and changes, so an annual evaluation is necessary.
As you can see, the majority of the project is in the planning, analysis and evaluation stages. SMBs, in particular, need to focus their attention on off-site and hosted solutions that provide enterprise-grade support and fault-tolerance at SMB prices. This is what will enable the SMB owner to rest peacefully at night, knowing that their critical data and systems are being given the attention they need from professional IT infrastructure specialists.
Thomas Nieto is Director of Strategic Consulting Services at AnalySYS. Thomas presently oversees strategic planning for clients and directs a team of consultants engaged in projects, project management and consulting services. Thomas is responsible for managing the company's data center and server farm, while providing strategic vision and technical expertise for the company's internal IT infrastructure. Prior to this role, Thomas was IT Director for a regional behavioral health specialist with eleven offices throughout the eastern United States. He can be reached at email@example.com.