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IT Executives: How to Avoid Burnout

IT Executives: How to Avoid BurnoutThe IT field is fast-paced and highly stressful, especially for those in executive roles. It can be easy to become overwhelmed under the pressure and end up burning out from being stretched in many directions. In fact, roughly 25% of IT execs leave a job after just one year and 15% exit in year two – which is around double the average turnover rate. The good news is there are certain things you can do to help prevent this from happening to you.

Take time for yourself after a significant event.

Things like major system outages and security breaches can and will occur on your watch, despite your best efforts. Managing these situations and navigating the aftermath can be likened to what first responders experience after responding to an accident or other major event. The only way to truly recover from these situations is to take time to rest and recharge once the dust settles. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.

Don’t be afraid to delegate.

The best IT executives know how important it is to hire talented individuals to work on their team. When you place an emphasis on hiring well, you’ll be able to comfortably delegate some of your workload to others without worrying that it will be handled properly. Sometimes just getting a few things off your plate can be enough to help you keep pushing forward. As an added bonus, your employees will learn to master new valuable skills that will serve them well in their careers.

Don’t try and reinvent the wheel.

Many IT executives end up crashing and burning because they try to do too much and overextend their abilities. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Leverage the technology that’s available to you, particularly IT process automation, which can dramatically reduce your workload and that of your employees while simultaneously improving productivity and efficiency, reducing errors and saving your organization money. It’s a win-win!

Make communication a top priority.

IT executives often feel isolated even when they are surrounded by qualified teams and individuals. This can rapidly lead to becoming overwhelmed and frustrated and make it difficult to handle their own challenges, let alone lend a hand to others. Communicating openly and regularly, both within the department and with others throughout the organization, can reduce these feelings and create a much more dynamic, connected infrastructure. It can also reduce much of the pressure IT execs are under, allowing them to do their jobs more effectively.

Recognize that it’s a thankless job.

When it comes to the work IT executives are responsible for, silence is actually a sign of success. When your ultimate focus is on preventing security breaches and your team, armed with tools like automated cyber security incident response, is able to successfully keep these risks at bay, it’s highly likely that your victory will go unnoticed. Recognize this and measure and embrace your successes in other ways, such as reviewing your mean time to resolution (MTTR) and developing best practices to further enhance your organization’s IT performance. It’s a thankless job, but the feeling of accomplishment you’ll get at the end of the day will be well worth it.

If you’re an IT executive that’s on the brink of a workplace breakdown due to stress, frustration and just feeling like you’re being overworked, take a step back. Put the above strategies into motion and over time you’ll be better able to handle anything that’s thrown your way without becoming overwhelmed or burning out.

If you could use some additional help from a technology standpoint, IT process automation is available to use FREE for 30 days. Click here to start your trial today.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




IT Best Practices: A Better Way to Manage System Alerts

IT Best Practices: A Better Way to Manage System AlertsOne of the most critical roles of an IT professional is managing incoming alerts and incidents in the most efficient and effective manner. Doing so protects the organization from incoming security threats and also helps to reduce internal issues, such as system outages. Yet, with hundreds if not thousands of incoming alerts pouring in on a daily basis, many of which are false positives, what’s the best way to avoid becoming overwhelmed and risking the chance of critical issues slipping through the cracks?

Most corporations employ the use of some type of monitoring system, which allows technology to do much of the work in keeping an eye out for problems – both external and internal. The problem is, these monitoring systems are often not effective in streamlining the actual process of managing these incoming alerts. In other words, it’s very much like having only a piece of the puzzle, which is somewhat effective but missing some important components to really get results.

Enter IT process automation. When integrated with a monitoring system, such as Solarwinds, automation can take incident management to a whole new level. Working in collaboration together, these tools help to identify, analyze and prioritize incoming alerts and also ensure that notification is sent to the appropriate party in the event that a serious issue is detected. What’s more, notifications can be customized based on preference, with escalations being sent via email, SMS or telephone.

In addition to bringing more order to the process of incident notification, integrating automation with your monitoring system can also vastly improve efficiency of incident response. Automated workflows can be created to open, update and close tickets in the service desk, escalating those that require human input and automatically handling those that can be resolved electronically.

The results of such a collaboration of tools is a closed-loop solution that is much more efficient and highly effective in reducing response and resolution time, which means less downtime and faster mean time to repair (MTTR) for your organization. Let’s take a look at a real-life example of how integrating a monitoring system with IT process automation can help streamline the incident workflow:

  1. The monitoring system detects an incident within the IT infrastructure and sends out an alert.
  2. The alert is picked up by the automation software, which immediately triggers a predefined workflow.
  3. As part of this workflow, a trouble ticket is automatically created in the service desk.
  4. The appropriate party or parties receive notification via their preferred method (email, SMS or phone).
  5. The system waits for acknowledgement and response from the network admin.
  6. Upon response, the ITPA workflow will execute the appropriate task to address and correct the problem.
  7. The ITPA system then sends notification to the network admin advising of the recovery and automatically updates the service ticket accordingly.

This process essentially closes the loop on incident management, taking the entire process from start to completion with little need for human intervention. So, while utilizing a quality monitoring system is essential, leveraging the power of IT process automation as a complement to that system can truly bring your IT operations to another level.

Ready to get started today? Check out our available solutions or download your free trial to get started right away.



eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Cyber Security Best Practices: Assembling the Right Team

Cyber Security Best Practices: Assembling the Right TeamWhen it comes to strong cyber security it’s important to not only have the right technological tools in place, but also a dedicated team that is experienced and prepared to handle any incoming breach with the utmost precision. Assembling this team can involve choosing existing IT personnel to take on new roles, or it may require that you hire externally – depending on your current resources. In either case, there are certain guidelines that should be followed in order to ensure a smooth and effective implementation.

The first step in putting together a cyber security team is gaining a clear and accurate understanding of exactly what this group will be responsible for. This will help you further define each team member’s individual duties, who will handle what, which points of escalation will exist and how the group will work together. The more thought and preparation you put into this task, the better equipped your organization will be to prevent and address any and all incoming threats swiftly and effectively.

Successful cyber security teams will:

  • Closely monitor all systems for breaches
  • Consistently audit and assess existing strategies to identify any areas of potential vulnerability
  • Stay abreast of and proactively prepare for emerging threats
  • Research and evaluate new software options
  • Conduct regular penetration testing
  • Document all security incidents
  • Develop and continuously improve on best practices for cyber security
  • Serve is a central point of communication for both incoming reports of cyber security incidents as well as to disseminate critical information about security incidents to the appropriate parties
  • Promote awareness across the entire organization about the critical importance of cyber security and how to proactively prevent incidents from occurring
  • Continually hone and update current policies, procedures and systems to ensure maximum protection

Once you have a clear picture of what’s expected of your cyber security team, the next step involves getting them prepared and arming them with the resources they need to do their jobs most effectively. To accomplish this, you’ll need to begin by thoroughly training them on the location and proper use of existing cyber security tools that are currently in place within your organization. You’ll also need to facilitate access to critical data and any relevant information so that in the event of a potential threat, the situation can be handled without unnecessary (and costly) delays.

Your cyber security team should also be briefed on the appropriate notification and escalation policies. In other words, who is responsible for handling which tasks, who should be notified in the event of a legitimate security breach and which personnel will be tasked with making critical decisions. Having the right technology in place, such as an automated incident response strategy, can significantly improve in this area, as such a platform can provide a central point of communication and offer visibility for better ownership. It can also ensure that the right parties are always notified automatically to prevent costly bottlenecks and mitigate damages.

The cyber security team infrastructure will ultimately depend on the size and nature of your organization. Obviously, for smaller firms, there may be a good deal of shared duties and having a dedicated team may be more challenging. In these instances, automated incident response tools are especially helpful in bridging the gap and addressing areas of staff shortages. For larger enterprises, most cyber security teams are made up of at least the following key roles:

  • Team Lead
  • Incident Lead
  • Associate Members (IT contacts, management, legal representative and/or PR specialist)

Once you’ve got your team in place and have outlined the roles as well as their duties and responsibilities, the last step is developing a documented strategy for managing the incident response process. We recently shared an article entitled The Best Way to Manage Your Company’s Cyber Security, which includes some helpful advice and best practices for establishing a solid defense against cyber-attacks.

Finally, make sure that the team you’ve assembled and the cyber security policy you have in place is adequately supported by the right technology. Today’s online criminals are far more sophisticated than those of the past, and their attacks are relentless. The only way to effectively protect your firm is to meet them where they’re at – essentially, fight fire with fire, by using tools like automated incident response.

Is your cyber security as strong as it should be? Don’t take chances. Download your free trial of eyeShare today and start creating a hedge of protection that will stand the test of time.





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




How to Maximize Business Efficiency in 4 Easy Steps

How to Maximize Business Efficiency in 4 Easy StepsIn today’s business world, sufficiency is no longer enough to remain competitive. Organizations of every size and industry are listing their biggest challenge as finding a way to maximize efficiency to help them improve performance and service levels. Unfortunately, the flipside to that coin is figuring out how to achieve this goal at the lowest cost possible – something that may have seemed next to impossible. That is, until now. If you are looking for a cost-effective way to bring your business to peak performance, here’s how you can do so in just four easy steps.

Step 1: Organize & Plan

Planning is the secret to operational efficiency because it allows you to identify areas that are causing problems so they can be addressed accordingly. It also provides the opportunity to develop and implement formal strategies that will help keep everyone on track and on budget. Evaluate the workload down to as minute a detail as necessary and then build out from there. Create schedules, establish timelines and SLAs and develop action plans for each job, team, department and business unit.

Step 2: Use Technology

In today’s digital age, there’s really no excuse not to be leveraging technology for all of the many benefits it affords. Operational efficiency can be dramatically improved, as can overall productivity, by using affordable tools like robotic process automation. This works by shifting manual, repetitive (but necessary) tasks and workflows from human to machine, streamlining production and eliminating errors. Meanwhile, workers will be freed up to apply their valuable skills to more important business-critical projects, like developing new product ideas or implementing an accelerated growth strategy.

Step 3: Manage

Once you’ve established your business process strategies and implemented tools like robotic process automation, the next important step is making sure the policies and procedures in place continue to operate as smoothly as possible. Business leaders must be intimately familiar with the overall goals and objectives of the company, particularly as they pertain to maintaining operational efficiency. This can be further solidified by incorporating efficiency milestones and achievements right into the performance review process. Make it matter to them, and you will see an improvement in all areas.

Step 4: Audit

Achieving operational efficiency isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ initiative. It’s an ongoing process that should be treated as such. Leadership should remain vigilant about monitoring and measuring performance against the company’s strategic goals to identify areas where improvements can and should be made. Furthermore, as newer technologies are discovered and released, such as new and improved robotic process automation tools, they should be regularly evaluated and adopted when appropriate. Fast and effective change management is essential if your business is to maintain the highest efficiency levels.

Maximizing your organization’s efficiency is the key to ongoing success and future growth. It starts with the right plan, a strong technological advantage and dedicated attention, both to the here and now as well as the needs of tomorrow.

Ready to give your business the lift it needs to get a step ahead of the competition? Start your free trial of eyeShare today and experience for yourself what a difference robotic process automation can make.



eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




The Best Way to Manage Your Company’s Cyber Security

The Best Way to Manage Your Company’s Cyber SecurityA few years ago, The Wall Street Journal estimated that cyber-crime was responsible for nearly $100 billion in losses in the US alone. This amount has been widely disputed and is believed by many to be much higher. Meanwhile, British insurance company Lloyd’s estimated that cyber-attacks cost companies in the UK up to $400 billion every year. This damage includes the direct impact of a cyber security breach as well as the post-attack disruption it causes.

And it’s only going to get worse. In addition to cyber-crime costs quadrupling from 2013 to 2015, Juniper research predicts that those costs will increase to $.2.1 trillion globally by the year 2019.

Cyber-crime is something every business in every country on every continent in the world must be mindful of. According to Ginni Rometty, the Chairman, CEO and President of IBM Corp., these types of attacks could very well be the greatest threat businesses have ever seen.

So, what can you do to protect your organization? What will it take to ensure that your business doesn’t become a part of the alarming statistics listed above? Well, it starts with creating a comprehensive cyber security incident response strategy – that is, a formal plan for proactively defending against incoming attacks that also includes a documented course of action for addressing and remediating incidents in as timely and effective a manner as possible.

That being said, here are five key steps to actively managing your company’s cyber security.

Establish ground rules.

First and foremost, make cyber security a priority and make it clear that protecting the assets of the company is everyone’s job. Establish policies and procedures, communicate them clearly and regularly and enforce them as needed. For instance, develop, institute and enforce a policy that requires all network users to create and use strong passwords. Post banners that remind users of their responsibilities and restrictions regarding the security of company data.

Get the right team in place.

Today’s cyber-attackers are as savvy and sly as they’ve ever been. They are constantly working to identify new vulnerabilities that they can exploit. In order to combat these sophisticated criminals, you must assemble a team that is dedicated to developing, implementing and managing your organization’s cyber security incident response strategy. It cannot be an afterthought or a side-venture. The team should be well-trained and provided with all the tools, technology and support they need to effectively prevent, monitor, assess, respond to and recover from any security incidents.

Monitor.

It’s been said that the best defense is a good offense, and perhaps in no arena is this more accurate than in cyber security. Being proactive about how you approach your company’s security can mean the difference between an attempted attack and a successful (and costly) breach. Make sure that you have invested in quality monitoring systems, including a combination of technology and skilled security professionals. The ability to quickly pinpoint a potential threat and assess it immediately, before it has the opportunity to wreak havoc will greatly improve your odds of keeping sensitive data safe from harm.

Automate.

The types of cyber-crimes being perpetrated today are far more complex than ever before. Additionally, criminals are using advanced technology to launch relentless attacks at an almost mind boggling rate. The only sure way to fortify your organization’s defense against these ferocious onslaughts is to leverage that same technology to your own advantage. This comes in the form of automation, which provides a round-the-clock virtual army of defenders that stand at the ready to help identify, assess, verify, prioritize, notify and take action against any legitimate incidents. This instant and effective process can dramatically reduce the impact of a threat and significantly mitigate damages – all without the need for human intervention.

Be proactive about the future.

Last, but most certainly not least, it’s just as important to plan ahead as it is to be prepared in the here and now. A solid cyber security incident response strategy should also account for future attacks to further secure and fortify your defense. This can be accomplished by using the documentation from past incidents and determining best practices for future events. It should also involve regular testing and verification of existing systems, applications and security measures to identify weaknesses so that they can be adequately addressed before they become a liability.

Is your cyber security strategy strong enough to prevent your organization from becoming the next victim of a savvy online criminal? Can your company afford such a devastating blow? The time to take action and safeguard your assets is now.
Get started today by downloading a free 30 day trial of eyeShare.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




How IT Process Automation Can Be Your Emergency Power Off Button

How IT Process Automation Can Be Your Emergency Power Off ButtonIn today’s digital age, the risk of an emergency shutdown for businesses is growing greater by the day. Is your data center prepared to handle such an emergency? Should the power go out – either due to a natural disaster or something else – what plan do you have in place to conserve energy and save precious battery power? You may not realize it, but IT process automation may be just the tool you need to be proactive and prepared ahead of time. Here’s how.

You’ve probably already heard the term “EPO”, short for emergency power off button. This is essentially the “big red button” that is in place to shut down all operations within the data center in the event of an emergency or disaster. The problem with this concept is that it essentially equates to an “all or nothing” approach. When activated, the EPO button will cut power to everything in an instant. If this happens in error, or worse – as an act of deliberate sabotage, the results could be incredibly costly.

What if, instead of setting your system up for complete shutdown in emergency situations, you were able to automate a sequence of processes that would shut down specific servers according to internal policies and priorities when power is limited? That way, those systems that are most critical to the business can continue to operate as needed, while other, less critical functions are shutdown to preserve battery or generator usage.

With IT process automation, you can plan ahead for a potential disasters by determining precisely which systems should remain up and running and which ones can comfortably be turned off in a predetermined order. When activated, the designated workflow will be initiated automatically, allowing those managing the situation to focus on other important matters, like getting things back up and running again as quickly as possible. This process is especially helpful in preventing file corruption or data loss.

The process of initiating an automated emergency shutdown workflow is similar to traditional EPOs in that it can be put into action with just one click. The difference, of course, is that because the workflow has been developed ahead of time, that one click sets into motion whatever series of events you have programmed it to do. Rather than shutting down the entire data center, IT process automation gives you the control to keep your most critical systems up for as long as necessary.

IT process automation can be used to handle an emergency shutdown from start to finish. A workflow would be created ahead of time that would include a series of predetermined steps ordering which systems to be shut down, and in what order. Once established and in place, the automated workflow would simply need to be initiated by the user in charge of handling emergency situations. Once activated, the system shutdown would begin and would continue on until the situation has been resolved. Then, it’s simply a matter of reactivating all systems to full capacity again.

This type of strategy helps to better manage a power outage, as well as reduce the risks associated with having a traditional EPO, since only those systems deemed to be less important would shut down if the workflow is triggered – either accidentally or deliberately. The most critical systems will remain up and running, greatly mitigating the potential damages of a total shutdown.

Does your organization have a plan in place for an emergency situation? Don’t leave it up to chance. Protect your data center and its most critical functions by leveraging IT process automation as your EPO.  Download your free 30 day trial today to get started.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes




Combining IT Process Automation with the Cloud

Combining IT Process Automation with the CloudThese days IT professionals are under increasing pressure to deliver services to businesses more quickly and at a lower cost, to maximize efficiency levels their data centers, and to provide users with self-service IT access with timely, automated delivery. While all of this may sound a bit overwhelming, the good news is, it’s not impossible to accomplish. It’s simply a matter of integrating IT process automation with cloud services. Here’s how to accomplish this in just a few steps.

Create a catalog of standardized service offerings with the capability to provide a self-service portal for users. This frees up IT personnel, facilitating a more efficient use of time and resources. It also empowers end-users to handle many of the common, day-to-day tasks on their own, without the need for assistance from IT.

Implement policy-based controls to help maintain system integrity and keep the organization’s overall IT operations running smoothly with little hands-on intervention needed.

Manage the service lifecycle so that all components work together effectively and that accurate alerts can be sent in a timely manner to the appropriate party if and when a problem arises. When the service process runs smoothly and efficiently, improvements can be realized both internally among employees as well as externally in the form of better service levels.

Automate various aspects of their operations, including service and infrastructure provisioning, change requests, support services, user management, alerting and more. Using IT process automation to streamline these repetitive tasks allows IT personnel to focus on more mission-critical business matters that require human intelligence and a more hands-on approach.

Manage across various aspects of the infrastructure, including virtualization, network, storage, and applications. This broad solution creates a more centralized environment in which every area can be managed effectively and instantaneously, rather than each individually as silos.

Intelligent IT process automation tools combine all of these capabilities to provide a single platform upon which enterprises can build and support their private clouds. This creates a greater degree of efficiency, which also equates to a reduction in labor costs and other operational expenses.

Could your organization benefit from integration of IT process automation with cloud services? Find out now by taking a free demo today! Or, better yet, get started now with your free 30 day trial. Click here to download!





EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)




The Importance of Communication in ITSM Automation

The Importance of Communication in ITSM AutomationOne of the biggest hurdles those in IT service management face is the misconception that all the necessary tools and information for success are already available, understood and being put into practice. As such, introducing ITSM automation is often met with resistance that hinders progress and impedes the ability to further improve operations. So, what’s the solution? Well, it starts with good communication. To follow are five steps to help establish a foundation of consistent, open and organization-changing communication that will facilitate positive results.

Don’t take on too much.

You don’t have to solve all of your organizational problems in one sitting, so don’t wear yourself or your team out attempting to do so. Define your goals and set manageable milestones, incorporating ITSM automation into the mix. Then communicate those smaller, incremental objectives to the team via open-plan meetings that keep everyone in the loop. Over time, you’ll begin to figure out what works and what doesn’t so you can improve the meeting process moving forward.

Leave management out of the mix.

Obviously having IT leaders heading up key projects is important, but often times – particularly in a group meeting-type setting – having management present can be intimidating, ultimately hindering progress. The goal is to facilitate more open, honest communication and a more positive relationship with ITSM automation, so it may be wise to hold at least some of the scheduled gatherings sans management representatives. When front-line workers are free to express themselves, it can help to identify new and better ways to improve operations.

Keep things short, simple and focused.

The goal of meetings is to improve communication, but if these gatherings drag on and on without clear focus, they’ll have the opposite effect. Remember, the reason for implementing ITSM automation is to make the lives of IT personnel easier and make operations more efficient. Design meetings with the same purpose in mind. Have an agenda and encourage attendees to arrive with their ideas already prepared. A round-robin type setting where everyone has a set amount of time to share their thoughts and sell their ideas can keep things moving smoothly and on schedule to maximize everyone’s time.

Keep the conversation going.

Ideas, thoughts, feedback and suggestions don’t only arise just prior to or during a meeting, so make sure you’re making it easy and straightforward to keep the conversation going by creating an avenue where people can share and engage with one another any time the need arises. It can also be helpful to have a source of documented ideas to refer back to. Some companies use a Wiki or other open-source forum tool. Others use an enterprise social network that is devoted to all things ITSM automation related. Whatever happens to work for your group, get on it.

Take action.

Ideas and suggestions are great, but they won’t do you or anyone else any good until you actually put them into action. By facilitating open communication and inviting your team members to share their thoughts and feedback, you’ll have a pool of valuable data from which to start building out some ITSM automation initiatives. The best part is, when employees see that their voices are heard and that their opinions make a difference, it will further promote and foster communication going forward.

Support your great communication policy with a powerful ITSM automation tool. Request a product demo or download your free 30 day trial of eyeShare today.





5 Ways to level up your service desk using it process automation




Implementing Workload Automation – Tips for Success

Implementing Workload Automation – Tips for SuccessRegardless of the size, shape or industry, every business has one goal in common: increasing revenue and driving growth. In order to achieve this objective in today’s global economy, everyone from executive leadership to entry-level employees must work together to operate as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, all while consistently delivering exceptional service to remain competitive. Workload automation has become the bedrock for making this goal into a reality.

If you’re considering adopting this technology for your own organization, here are a few expert tips to ensure a smooth, successful implementation.

Plan ahead.

The first step in successful implementation of workload automation is identifying how and where this advanced technology can best benefit your business. There’s no magic formula or perfect blueprint for adopting automation because every organization has its own needs and pain points. Therefore, an audit of current business processes should be conducted to determine where to begin making your business operate smarter and faster.

Create a roadmap.

When you’re traveling, you know that to get from point A to point B, you often need a roadmap. The same concept can be applied to workload automation. Building a clear and comprehensive roadmap of the people, processes and problem areas that should be incrementally addressed is the key to successful implementation.

Overcome objectives.

One of the major stumbling blocks organizations face when attempting to rollout workload automation is resistance from staff. This is due in large part to the mistaken idea that automation will eliminate the need for human workers. While it’s true that some roles will inevitably change, the key to getting buy-in from team members is to overcome their objectives by selling the benefits and keeping a constant line of two-way communication open. Show them how this technology will help not hurt them.

Start small.

You may have some lofty goals for workload automation, but you don’t have to achieve them all right out of the gate. In fact, a more sustainable way to approach implementation is to start small, setting specific, relevant and incremental milestones that are measurable and achievable. It’s better to think about workload automation as a marathon, rather than a sprint, where slow and steady consistently wins the race. The time and commitment of both human and financial resources will be well worth the positive results in the end.

Invest in training.

Most workload automation tools are relatively user-friendly, but that doesn’t mean there won’t still be a substantial learning curve. In many cases, it’s more about training staff to view technology with the right perspective – both for empowering them and for how it directly aligns with your company’s overall business needs. With the right training, your employees will be able to establish a solid foundation upon which additional automated processes can then be built.

Adopting a comprehensive, highly effective workload automation solution is a significant undertaking that should not be taken lightly. In order for the process to be rolled out successfully, it requires a detailed, strategic approach that involves planning, testing, validating and tweaking until you finally get it right. When you do get it right, your business will rise to the next level and become a lean, efficient and successful operation that will be able to consistently outperform the competition.

Are you ready to take that first step? Click here to download a free 30 day trial of eyeShare.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




Cyber Security Incident Response: The ROI of a Solid Disaster Recovery Strategy

Cyber Security Incident Response: The ROI of a Solid Disaster Recovery StrategyMany organizations place disaster recovery on the back burner because they consider it to be too big of an expense. Why allocate money toward “what if” scenarios when those funds can be put toward more immediate business needs, like sales and marketing? The problem is, treating cyber security incident response and disaster recovery as an afterthought or unnecessary luxury in an attempt to save money may very well end up costing your company a lot more than you may realize. In fact, some research indicates that upwards of 25% of businesses that close due to unforeseen events never reopen.

Even a temporary downtime can be incredibly costly, with average hourly losses ranging from $50,000 up to millions of dollars. Shifting perspective from expense to investment by identifying ROI can improve how disaster recovery is viewed and increase adoption, which means a safer, more secure business operation.

First and foremost, you can’t calculate the value of having a solid cyber security incident response and disaster recovery strategy until you first understand what a loss could potentially cost. Specifically, by determining what costs and losses are acceptable, you can then begin to establish acceptable recovery parameters. This will include a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) as well as a Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

Your defined RTO should indicate the maximum amount of downtime your organization is willing to tolerate. Your RPO should help gauge how much data your business can comfortably afford to lose, measured in seconds, minutes, hours and/or days. Typically a different RTO and RPO values will be set for each system or business process, based on importance. For instance, you would likely set higher objectives for systems for which downtime would likely have the lowest business impact, such as email servers, versus mission-critical systems that directly impact revenue.

Assigning priorities to each proposed scenario can be handled using a “cold” versus “hot” scale, with higher RTO and RPO scenarios requiring a cold solution and those will lower tolerances requiring hot capabilities. For example, systems that can withstand a downtime of 24 hours or more without making a significant impact would be categorized as cold while systems with an RTO of 15 minutes or less would require a much more urgent – or hot – response.

The final step in the process is to officially calculate the expected ROI considering the following factors:

  • Unprotected downtime (amount of time required to restore operations without a formal disaster recovery plan in place)
  • Protected downtime (amount of time to recovery with a DR solution in place)
  • Hourly revenue (amount of annual revenue divided by the total number of working hours in a year)

By multiplying both downtime scenarios by the hourly revenue you can determine the potential loss associated with each. The difference between the two represents the loss that can be avoided by implementing a documented disaster recovery strategy.

From there, the formula for calculating the overall ROI of DR is as follows:

ROI = (Avoided loss – cost of disaster recovery solution/disaster recovery solution cost x 100%)

It’s important to point out that given today’s digital landscape, the risks associated with potential online security breaches and the subsequent downtime they can cause should play an integral role in the overall disaster recovery policy. Specifically, implementing a strong cyber security incident response plan that features automation as a central tool for monitoring, evaluating and addressing incoming incidents can help avoid potential losses that a successful breach can result in. This can and should also be considered when calculating ROI.

IT professionals who recognize the importance of cyber security incident response and a strong, established disaster recovery strategy can make a case for their cause by presenting the proposed ROI to key decision makers. By selling the value of such a strategy and positioning it as it rightfully should be – an investment rather than an expense – the chances of getting the financial backing needed will greatly increase.

To learn more about how you can beef up your company’s safety and security and limit costly potential downtime, give us a call today at 1-800-652-5601 or click here to request a free product demo.





EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)