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Best practice for IT managers in a crisis

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Crises happen, that’s inevitable. What matters is how you deal with a crisis when it happens.

When there is a crisis in IT, maybe a major security breach, or some kind of systems failure, the IT manager becomes the focus of the business and may find himself or herself on the receiving end of other people’s frustration.

The key lies in preparation.

Make a strategic plan

And to start, ensure what to do in the event of a crisis is put in writing. A technology road map is a document which combines an audit of existing technology with a plan clearly laying out how IT will be applied to meet the IT strategic plan. It should include procedures on how to respond to a crisis.

But whatever procedures you put in place, make sure all relevant personnel are familiar with these procedures. Companies apply fire drills; they may want to practice how they respond to a crisis.

Know who to contact

The crisis plan may involve a chain of contact, detailing who will contact who, for example and various responsibilities, detailing who is responsible for what.

Put back-up in place

It’s important to have IT redundancy and linked with that back-up.

A data centre for example, needs to have spare servers and storage in the event of failure and back-up power in the event of a power cut.

But also, ensure regular data back-ups, and that it is secure. In this way, if the IT system is subjected to say a denial of service attack – DDoS – or if your data is corrupted in some way, the back-up can at least enable you to rewind, and reset.

Data backup will also be essential in the event of a systems breakdown.

Prepare in advance!

By preparing in advance and trying to rehearse what to do in the event of a crisis, the situation can be managed more smoothly.

Even so, no amount of planning can prepare for all eventualities. This is why establishing communication channels is so important. The IT manager needs to keep cool in such circumstances, not shout, panic, or ever resort to rudeness.

But the IT manager can also play a role in ensuring that the company can respond to a broader crisis, maybe a problem with a product.  The IT manager can confirm that IT is appropriately geared to cope with a crisis. By making use of the cloud, IT can ramp up processing and storage capacity to meet extra demand, for example. The IT manager can guarantee smooth communication channels, for example ensuring it is easy to update websites with messages explaining how the company concerned is responding to a crisis. Or, it can ensure technologies for communication via social media or emails to customers.

By preparation and attempting to think through all possible crisis scenarios, the IT manager can maintain minimal disruption, even when the potential for damage when IT is unprepared is huge.

 

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Tags: Business, IT Transformation