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Infrastructure Reliability Impact Analysis (IRIA)

Created: 17 Jan 2013 • Updated: 11 Jun 2014
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A principal challenge many enterprises face is identifying exposures to their complex IT infrastructures.   There are considerable business dependencies on this strategic resource and weaknesses within the IT-infrastructure may lead to serious business interruptions.   It is not enough however, to merely identify weaknesses; the impact of those weaknesses must also be clearly understood and quantified.  This is an important point because it is difficult to know how much to invest to strengthen the infrastructure unless there is a sense of the size of the risk to the organization.

IT infrastructures can fail due to a wide range of events.  These events can be as simple as a process failure or as catastrophic as a full system crash.  It is unrealistic and costly to eliminate each and every harmful event; therefore, a priority ranking based on the consequence of the event is very useful.  Ranking the potentially damaging events based on their economic impact and likelihood of occurrence allows management to focus appropriate attention on the material weaknesses that reduce the overall exposure to the business. 

In addition to a range of bad events, there is also a wide range of protection measures that can be applied to mitigate the bad events.  These protection measures will each differ in terms of their features, functions and costs.  The key benefit to measuring the economic impact/likelihood is that they also provide a method to evaluate the various options and appraise the investment-value based on the option’s ability to reduce the economic exposure for the organization.

A quantitative risk-based approach will identify the material exposures to the IT infrastructure and their relative economic impact.  This approach identifies the material weaknesses in the IT-infrastructure, economically quantifies the relative impact of those weaknesses, and then identifies the optimal solutions that will reduce the overall exposure to your organization.

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’.