It’s finally 2017. There have been plenty of posts with predictions for the new calendar year, as well as posts with resolutions and goals. If you are going to spend energy on doing new things, that means you won’t have energy for some of the old things you’ve been doing. You’ll have to stop doing some things as a New Years Resolution.

New Years Resolutions List

Have you thought about what you will stop doing to make times for the new things you’ve committed to doing this year? Here is my biggest piece of advice: Stop firefighting in your data center.

Most of the predictions and resolutions I saw this year are about how cloud services will mature in 2017. To make the best decisions about how the cloud can benefit your organization, you need develop the type of mature IT processes that will allow you to deliver IT as a catalogued service to your business.

Stop Fighting Fires

You’ll never get to that point if you are constantly firefighting, and chasing individual projects flung at you by various parts of the organization you serve. Here are some things that IT departments with mature processes already practice that you can implement as a tech New Years resolution:

  1. Know your applications, and understand why those apps are important to the business. Use the tools you already have for documenting the underlying infrastructure that supports these applications. More importantly, spend the time early in the year to meet with your business stakeholders and find out from them:
    1. Which apps are the most important to the bottom line, and why.
    2. Who are the end users for their applications, and where are they located geographically?
    3. Are there times in the month/quarter/year when the applications are more critical than other times?
    4. Is the business using and administering an application (SaaS perhaps) that your team doesn’t know about?

Don’t assume you know the answers. Stop being the protector of the information and all related services, and start enabling information to flow in a way that contributes to profit-making engine of your company. You do this by asking the business what they need, and helping build that platforms that enable it.

  1. Stop pretending that basic datacenter best practices are too hard to do. If you haven’t figured out how to have a proper data protection plan, no wonder you’re still in firefighting mode!
    1. Back up your data, no matter where it lives, regularly. Test restoring that data at least once a quarter. If nothing else, the Star Wars movie “Rogue One” should have made you realize just how important backups are to an Empire. You’re just trying to protect an organization’s data, you can find the resources to make this happen.
    2. At a bare minimum, follow the list of recommendations in the NIST cybersecurity framework recommendations.

Concluding Thoughts

There is good reason to have high hopes for 2017, but remember you’ll need the energy to accomplish the lofty new goals you’ve set. Take a good look at what you can stop doing that will give you the bandwidth you need for 2017.