Behind the services of every major business today is the IT department. IT professionals are in charge of managing all the IT services that keep a business running smoothly. However, even the best IT departments face problems from time to time. The ability to maintain system availability during a disaster or major component failure is one of the objectives of a competent IT team. There are four characteristics of IT Business Continuity; learning about these will help you to understand what a Business Continuity Solution should try and address.
This comes into play when a component, service, or application fails. An IT service that is high availability may go down but will recover quickly enough that the employees and clients are not significantly impacted, if they notice at all. High availability helps mask or minimize the effects of the failure and makes it less of an issue for those who consume that IT Service.
An IT service is made up of many individual components. If the system has a high fault tolerance, the entire system will not fail even if a critical IT service component is compromised. This is achieved through solutions with redundant hardware and software so that the slack is immediately picked up by the secondary system. This is especially important for businesses and organizations that cannot afford to have IT services go down for any period of time without a significant impact to the bottom line.
Planned downtime is, unfortunately, a common occurrence for most IT services. However, recent innovations in virtualization, such as VMware’s vMotion, allow IT teams to perform maintenance windows on systems without downtime. IT Services that meet this requirement are considered to be in continuous operation. This is a major benefit for anyone that needs access to the system 24×7 or must perform routine maintenance frequently, since they can avoid planned downtime.
Going one step further than Continuous Operation, this is the ultimate goal of IT teams. This characteristic means that the service achieves 100% availability by avoiding both planned and unplanned downtime. This is achieved through a combination of Disaster Recovery and business continuity solutions.
Let these four characteristics of business continuity help you articulate the levels of IT service available for critical business applications and then you can justify each level’s cost to the business depending on their needs.