Limit the Business Impact of COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreaks by Improving Infrastructure Resilience

Updated:2020/4/28 13:05

By: Kevin Ji, Sr Director Analyst at Gartner,

Tao Wu, Sr Director Analyst at Gartner &

Henrique Cecci, Sr Director Analyst at Gartner

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has spread across the globe and reached the stage of pandemic. As public health authorities worldwide marshal their resources to limit the human cost, many businesses are just beginning to assess the impact on business operations.

Disease outbreaks often result in more employees working remotely, particularly when they reach epidemic or pandemic proportions; and travel restrictions within an affected area result in a shortage of available operations staff. These factors drive increased demand for remote support at a time when fewer employees are available to provide it. So how exactly can I&O leaders limit the impact of epidemics or pandemics on operations?

Establish a Workforce Resilience Program

Government restrictions on travel in multiple countries due to the COVID-19 outbreak prevented employees from getting to work, and created telecommunications outages due to demand spikes that limited their ability to communicate with each other remotely.

These conditions are likely to be common during epidemics and pandemics, and building a company private cloud is not enough to ensure continuity of operations. To limit business disruption under these circumstances, I&O leaders should enable employees to work remotely by using public cloud DaaS. DaaS offers quick scalability and a pay-as-you-go model to build workforce resilience in a short time, and is less costly than scaling up VPN access. However, covering remote work arrangements for all enterprise users may be prohibitively expensive, so identify critical staff and determine the costs to provide DaaS.

Determine the supporting model for remote access use cases with security fulfillment. For example, arrange DaaS in advance for all employees who might require it, but activate it only during periods when they will need to work remotely. In addition, limit the regionwide business impact of a pandemic by deploying public cloud DaaS in two different regions.

Build an Infrastructure Response Plan

If an infected person is found in your office, access to your facility may become restricted. I&O leaders should prepare by building a data center response plan to create a shortlist of personnel authorized to be on-site so that critical infrastructure can still be accessed. Please ensure that access rights are granted to needed staff. In addition, I&O leaders need arrange multiple points of contact at the operation support level. Have at least three workers providing for each layer of mission-critical IT service support. The recovery team you think you have, and the recovery team you have, may be very different.

Use Scalable Architecture to Support Business Operations

Travel restrictions and fears of venturing out in public during an epidemic or pandemic make it necessary to conduct some offline business transactions in an online environment. I&O leaders must ensure that their organizations can handle the additional online traffic. This is especially crucial when that additional traffic is related to limiting the human toll of the epidemic. Organizations that can expect increased demand during a pandemic must be able to scale up capability to handle exponential workload increases in a relatively short time. To enable their organization to handle increasing business operations during epidemics or pandemics, I&O leaders must expand on-premises workload capacity by leveraging public cloud services. Build capability based on real-time workload and performance monitoring, and autoscale or rearchitect workloads using cloud-native architecture to ensure continuity of operations. The capacity of on-premises data centers typically is insufficient to support this additional demand. In order to support the mission critical requirement, I&O leaers also need build an authorization and delegation mechanism such as a steering committee to enable the IT department to develop epidemic or pandemic service-related applications that support demand in impacted areas.

These protective measures will have the additional benefit of aligning IT operations in traditional industries with those of internet-based organizations after the epidemic or pandemic is brought under control and the risk level drops.

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