Simultaneous demand for new cloud services, IoT connections, and AI technology is straining traditional IT infrastructure. It’s also stress-testing organizations’ disaster recovery solutions as aging networks struggle to keep pace with the rapid increase in data volume and complexity.

This strain highlights the critical need for modernized, highly interconnected data centers that can support seamless communication and data flow, as well as robust disaster recovery mechanisms to ensure continuous operation and data integrity. This dual focus on network excellence and disaster recovery best practices is necessary to maintain operational continuity when complex IT environments face disruption.

As you evaluate the evolving needs of your organization’s own infrastructure demands, consider whether your network is equipped to handle a growing volume of data-intensive applications — and if your team is ready to act in the face of unexpected service interruption.

The cost of data disruption

The push to adopt advanced technologies like AI and automation are the main drivers of network optimization for most organizations. But the growing prevalence of volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) situations is another reason to review your communications infrastructure’s readiness to withstand future challenges.

VUCA is a catch-all term for a wide range of unpredictable and challenging situations that can impact an organization’s operations, from natural disasters to political conflict, economic instability, or cyber-attacks. The real-world consequences of network disruptions can be significant, ranging from business losses to public health and safety risks.

For example, the National Weather Service (NWS) has been plagued with a series of telecommunications disruptions, including an infrastructure outage during a severe storm in April. The outage prevented forecasters across the U.S. from receiving critical weather data and disrupted severe weather warnings in multiple states. Though the agency had redundancies in place, they were not robust enough to maintain continuity during the widespread outage.

The NWS’s network challenges offer a clear lesson on why today’s complex IT environments demand organizations level up their disaster preparedness mechanisms — or risk reputational and financial consequences.

Ensuring network resilience as challenges evolve

Maintaining operational continuity and resilience in the face of VUCA events requires a combination of strategic planning, operational flexibility, technological innovation, and risk-management practices. This includes investing in technology that improves agility and resilience as well as in people who are prepared for adaptive decision-making when VUCA situations arise.

As workloads become more complex and your organization becomes more reliant on data-intensive technologies to support essential operations, it’s important to take proactive steps to future-proof your network. At minimum, you should plan to:

  • Enhance network interconnectivity and redundancy: Companies are increasingly willing to invest in networks that can ensure connectivity and resiliency for their most critical workloads. For optimal performance, prioritize highly interconnected data centers with geographically diverse network paths. This setup enhances reliability through built-in redundancies — if one path goes down, there are multiple backup routes available, ensuring continuous data flow.
  • Invest in edge computing: By processing data closer to the source, edge computing reduces latency, improves real-time data processing, and alleviates the burden on central data centers. This approach improves performance while adding an extra layer of resilience because it distributes processing power and reduces the risk of single points of failure.
  • Develop a comprehensive disaster recovery plan: Most organizations do a good job prioritizing the technical infrastructure and software required to minimize disruptions but overlook the non-technical elements critical to a swift response. Your disaster recovery plan should detail strategies for data backup and recovery procedures, team roles and responsibilities, and communication protocols to ensure rapid response and minimal downtime. When developing your plan, conduct risk assessments to identify likely threats and run business impact analyses of your most critical systems to help prioritize recovery efforts.

Don’t get caught off guard when disruption strikes

Network resiliency and connectivity is a strategic imperative as your reliance on complex and data-intensive workloads grows. Infrastructure disruptions are unpredictable — and the consequences can be devastating for both your organization and your customers.

But with the right network technology and a robust disaster recovery plan in place, you can swiftly triage disruptions, minimize downtime, or perhaps even avoid an outage altogether. By taking proactive measures, you ensure your organization remains resilient and capable of navigating whatever challenges arise.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Downie

Chris Downie is the chief executive officer of Flexential. Joining Flexential in 2016, Downie is responsible for setting and managing the strategic priorities of the company to drive profitability and growth. He is a proven CEO with deep expertise in the economics, delivery and operations in the data center and hybrid IT industries. Downie is a well-known speaker at industry, business, and regional events. Before Flexential, he was CEO at Telx Holdings, a leading interconnection and data center solutions provider based in New York City. Downie has more than 30 years of executive leadership experience in finance and operations, working for Bear Stearns, Daniels & Associates, BroadStreet Communications, and Motient Corporation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in international business from New York University.

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