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Why every business needs to define ‘mission-critical infrastructure’ on its own terms

April 30, 2024

Enterprise IT infrastructures are built with intention. The component parts of a larger system are deliberately chosen to enable new capabilities and efficiencies for the organisation. At the same time, IT leaders and enterprise executives are keenly aware of the tech interdependencies inherent to a modern IT infrastructure.

When organisations treat the entire IT environment as a digital ecosystem, they lay a foundation for better business outcomes. But this holistic approach to infrastructure must also recognize that, when it comes to maintaining the organisation’s day-to-day operations, certain components are more important than others.

Compare this infrastructure hierarchy to your office environment. Your business may be able to get by without its printing machines or its time management system, at least temporarily. But if an Internet outage occurs, it may become impossible to continue working.

A similar dynamic is at play within your IT infrastructure. To help IT teams and service partners to prioritise projects, tasks and system security, organisations must distinguish “mission-critical infrastructure” as a separate category within its larger tech environment.

Disorganised infrastructure innovation can create new security risks

Software vendors and other infrastructure solution providers are incentivised to position their technology as mission-critical—especially when trying to close a new deal. Unfortunately, this can convince organisations to apply the “mission-critical” label a little too broadly—which causes the benefits of categorising essential technology to disappear.

If all of your infrastructure is mission-critical, none of it is. Treating all of your infrastructure as equally essential eliminates your ability to implement different approaches to maintaining, upgrading, and recovering the solutions that are critical to business operations.

When mission-critical infrastructure is clearly defined, organisations can use infrastructure management and optimisation solutions—such as AI ops and micro-segmentation—to assess for potential threats to these core applications. These capabilities are particularly valuable when integrating new technologies and modernising heritage systems with new technology, which is one reason why the global network automation market is projected to grow by nearly 20 percent annually between 2023 and 2028.

Without proper governance, digital transformation can expose your mission-critical infrastructure to disruptive and costly security threats. By segmenting core infrastructure from the rest of your system, you can implement governance protocols and other safeguards that reduce the cybersecurity risk posted to your business operations.

The benefits of labelling your mission-critical infrastructure

When executives and IT teams work together to categorise the organisation’s critical infrastructure, your business will be positioned to realise the following benefits:

  • Enhanced security for core applications. Robust security parameters can be implemented to keep mission-critical infrastructure safe even when a security breach or application outage strikes another application in your system.
  • Optimised resource management for IT teams and partners. Labelled infrastructure will give IT teams and outside partners more guidance in allocating resources and prioritising tasks. When a backlog of service needs develops, mission-critical infrastructure needs can be automatically moved to the front of the line.
  • A reduced risk of halted operations. By prioritising security and resource allocation for your core applications, you reduce the likelihood of an infrastructure outage disrupting your business continuity.
  • Faster recovery from business disruptions. When disaster recovery is needed, your recovery solution and processes can prioritise mission-critical technology to get your business up-and-running as quickly as possible.
  • A more consistent customer experience. Fewer disruptions and better mission-critical performance will produce a better end-user experience, which can lead to higher customer retention rates and improved revenue generation.

How to prioritise infrastructure identified as ‘mission-critical’

Before you can better support your mission-critical applications, you need to distinguish these components from the rest of your infrastructure.

What qualifies as mission-critical will vary from one business to another, especially when moving across industries. The best way to evaluate each component is by asking a simple question: If this technology goes offline in the next five minutes, will we be able to carry on operations?

If the answer is no, the component is mission-critical.

Once you’ve labelled your mission-critical infrastructure, IT leaders can begin developing a governance framework to guide the management of your core applications. This governance framework will in turn guide any service level agreements (SLAs) you establish with your business or service providers.

Companies that partner with Triangle, for example, can leverage our cloud automation and orchestration solution to streamline and optimise the integration of new applications into your existing infrastructure. At the same time, our managed services can prioritise support for mission-critical applications while preserving the agility needed to innovate your infrastructure over time.

Threats to your infrastructure are everywhere, and disruptions are inevitable. But with the right approach to supporting your mission-critical infrastructure, your business can improve its digital resilience while fostering a culture of continued innovation.

Get in touch with a Triangle expert today to find out how we can help.

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