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Big Risk, Big Opportunity: IT-Infrastructure Complexity

Created: 04 Oct 2012 • Updated: 11 Jun 2014 • 1 comment
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Professor John Graham of Indiana University points out that “large amounts of resources are devoted to slight or speculative dangers while substantial and well-documented dangers remain unaddressed”.  It has been well established that people often too much weight is placed on risks of low probability.  Such is the dilemma of complexity within IT infrastructure.  We often talk about hackers, malware, floods, fires, earthquakes, and tornados; while the real crisis is happening right under our nose and it has well over 5,000 risk signatures.  This crisis is the complexity in the IT infrastructure and it is causing considerable losses for companies.

The likelihood that an organization will experience a catastrophic loss from an IT failure is far greater than any catastrophic disaster or "black swan" event.   IT failures are costing companies trillions of dollars every year; worldwide downtime is estimated at over $35 Billion monthly.  When it comes to losing data, the infrastructure is the cause between 50% and 75% of the time. The proliferation of IT failures is eroding profitability for organizations during a time when they are searching for every opportunity to cut costs; controlling the losses due to IT-infrastructure failures can provide significant contributions to any cost containment effort. 

While a flood, a fire, a earthquake, or a tornado maybe lead to a potential crisis, the real crisis is the failures caused by the increasing complexity of the IT-infrastructure, that crisis occurs daily.  According to a Gartner survey, 73% of IT executives say their infrastructure complexity is either ‘high’ or ‘out of control’.  While complexity is spiraling toward out of control, I prefer to see this as a huge opportunity for organizations to improve.  If this trend can be reversed not only are the financial rewards compelling but the improvements will yield a significant competitive advantage to any organization; controlling the IT-infrastructure can be our finest hour.

Today’s modern IT-infrastructure is a conglomeration of heterogeneous platforms, dynamically changing virtual environments, and emerging technologies. In today’s world of Big Data, Private Clouds, and Mobile computing success depends on resilient and interdependent information systems, together with reliable and accurate information.  Symantec help organizations simplify the inherent infrastructure complexity and get the big things right.  Solutions like Virtual Business Service, ApplicationHA, Cluster File System, and Veritas Operations Manager increase service resiliency by mitigating the consequence of IT-infrastructure failures; an improvement that will translate directly to the bottom line.

Blog Author:
Mr. Wenk is Principal Resiliency Architect for Symantec’s Storage and Availability Management Group. He has consulted worldwide with large Fortune 500 customers; Generating demand for Cloud Infrastructures and architecting private cloud solutions for technology-intensive organizations in over 20 different countries; tackling some very challenging, complex, and ambiguous problems. His experience includes developing architectures and strategies for highly available, resilient and secure infrastructures in heterogeneous IT environments. He has performed quantitative operational risk assessments that were used to justify the significant investments required to build, transform and maintain resilient infrastructures; he has performed technology assessments, IT consolidation and transition strategies, and developed site selection criteria for complex heterogeneous technology consolidations. In addition, he has developed charging methodologies, performed capacity planning and performance evaluations in large, complex IT environments. Dennis has developed a number of risk-based services that quantify the return on technology investments that increase resiliency and improve continuity programs. His background includes experience with EMC Consulting as Senior Cloud Architect and with Hitachi Data Systems as Principal Global Solution Architect for High Availability Solutions, IBM Global Network as an Outsourcing Project Executive; Comdisco where he was Western of Director Technology Consulting; KPMG where he was Senior Manager, Group Leader for IT Operations and Transformations, as well as Heller Financial where he served as VP/Information Processing. Dennis Wenk earned an MBA in Accounting and Finance, BS in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University. He is a certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Data Processor (CDP), and Certified Systems Professional (CSP), certified in ITIL Service Management. He was awarded Best Management Paper by Computer Measurement Group, and currently he sits on the Advisory Board for Continuity Insights and Serves as their Technology Chair. He has held the Cloud Special Interest Group Leader for the Outsourcing Institute and the Business Continuity Focus Expert for Information Technology Infrastructure Management Group. He is an advisor to Business Continuity Services Group. Dennis has written award-winning professional articles, white-papers and has been published in Information Week, Computer Performance Review, Trends and Topics, Continuity Insights, Infosystems, Computer Measurement Group, and DR Journal. He is a regular speaker at world-wide industry conferences. Some current topical expertise include; ‘3 Simple Complexities of Data Protection’, ‘Think About Never Failing, Not How To Recover’, ‘Focus On The Largest Source Of Risk: The Data Center’, ‘Risk Economics’, ‘Gaining Competitive Advantage: The Myth of the Resiliency Paradox’, ‘Eco-Friendly Data Center’, ‘Virtualization, a Resiliency Enabler’, ‘Economic Impact of Interruptions’, ‘Risk-based Business Continuity’, ‘High-Stakes Business Impact Analysis’, ‘A Risk-Based Approach to Internal Controls’, and ‘Resiliency: Clearing the Five Nines Hurdle’.

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jimnelson's picture

This is a well considered and timely position with some relevant insights. Thank you!

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