I recently had the opportunity to work with a group of people where we discussed Windows System Administration, and strategic approaches to virtualization and cloud.  One topic that became a bit of a challenge for the group was that there are just some “best practices” you MUST do when designing technology to keep a business profitable.  The argument being that best practices are just guidelines.  While that is true there are just some things you MUST DO to ensure the success of your business.  These MUST DO’s were emphasized strongly during these conversations.

Here is Why..

Retail

This morning I was planning to do some online shopping at a semi-annual sale that was happening today.  For me, if I don’t get that new shirt, eh, it’s not the end of the world.  The retailer that had the issue on the other hand had site problems for almost 3 hours.  For them this was a big problem impacting profits.

This is what I happened upon when attempting to visit their sale.

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This was 3 hours where eager shoppers didn’t get to buy what they wanted.  Some of those shoppers may not get back in to shop due to their busy days.  While I can only speculate the losses, I feel this could easily translate to millions of dollars lost in that short period of time.

Healthcare

Now imagine a hospital with critical patients relying on equipment dependent on technology.  Failure of critical systems with patients relying on a machine to keep them alive cannot afford a system failure.

Other Businesses

There are so many other types of businesses out there heavily dependent on technology for profitability.  Don’t let improper design cut your margins.

Top 5 MUST Do’s to Keep a Business Profitable

Now, let’s talk about the top 5 MUST Do’s for every business that relies on technology!

  1. Active Directory Domain Controller Redundancy – Domain controllers can be impacted by security vulnerability, hardware failure, operating system corruption, and there are more ways for domain controller service disruption. Regardless of the size of your organization and the production environment you should ALWAYS deploy a minimum of two Active Directory Domain Controllers.

 

  1. Redundancy of Hardware – In this day and age a back-end system supporting the functionality and profitability of your organization should not ever be without redundancy. Dollars lost due to this type of failure a no longer tolerable.

 

  1. Redundancy of Software – This on can be a little bit trickier as not all software providers offer redundancy in their solutions. When there a not redundancy options within software then your backup and recovery processes need to be proven and well validated.

 

  1. Backup and Recovery Testing – My backup software says my backups completed, I can recover the data right? Never Assume, because you know what happens when you assume right?  Your organization must have processes that support time commitment to both backup and recovery testing on a routine basis.

 

  1. Monitoring and Reporting – The value proposition here lends strongly to system availability and sizing of your computer equipment. When monitoring and reporting of systems are not setup correctly that is when issues like we see above occur.  The other factor above appears to also surround proper planning for the flood of people that were looking to enjoy the sale.

 

Concluding Thoughts on how to keep a business profitable

Environment Design is so important with all organizations being so heavily dependent on technology to keep a business profitable.  Make sure all 5 of these recommendations executed on, and in place to ensure that your business remains profitable always.  Ensuring that system downtime doesn’t impact your earnings in a negative way.

 

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