Resiliency in the Face of Cyber Monday Crowds

Cyber Monday BlogsizedCyber Monday, that splendid day of amazing online deals that promises to be a boon to Christmas shoppers. Without leaving their homes, they can find one-of-a-kind bargains on just about anything that could brighten their holidays. For people who manage IT for retailers and related logistics firms, Cyber Monday can be a pretty frightening proposition. Know those huge crowds that line up at midnight to shop on Black Friday?  On Cyber Monday, they’re queued up at your ecommerce servers, but no security guard can ask them to wait a moment before rushing the door.

Cyber Monday presents the quintessential IT management challenge. How many customers are you going to have hitting your website and transactional systems? A lot? A lot squared? Cubed? And, of course, when? It’s one thing to have three hundred thousand customers shop at your site throughout the day. It’s another thing altogether if they all decide to buy the $56 flat screen TV “door buster” at exactly 11:32 AM. What if your database server decides to go down from an unsustainable volume of queries? You’ll be donating a lot of customers to the competition.

It’s a risky day. Load management difficulties can slow down the sales process or worse, crash entire systems. Security threats loom. Even the name itself suggests the new world of security where we now conduct business. A cyber world is vulnerable to cyber crime and cyber warfare. Given what’s happening in the world, the threat of cyber attacks should not be deemed too farfetched for us today. The cyber warfare division of a foreign army could be charging your firewall, but they’re not after the flat screen TV deal.

What can we do (better) about these rising threat levels and load management struggles? The risks of Cyber Monday provide a good context for rethinking how we use the traditional countermeasures inherent in information security, cyber security, backup, disaster recovery, failover and data replication. Instead of considering the value of these specialized disciplines on their own, it may be better to take a broader view and think in terms of business resiliency. Borrowed from the physical world, the concept of business resiliency refers to the ability of a corporate organization and its IT assets to bounce back from a problem like a person recovering quickly from an injury. When disaster strikes, no matter where it comes from, a resilient business can resume operations rapidly.

Business resiliency brings multiple security and disaster recovery disciplines into one, coherent business resiliency plan. Then, with cloud computing and cloud storage, business resiliency becomes a practical reality. Cloud-based Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS), Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) and managed security services make it possible for a business to implement a resiliency capability that is agile, fast-moving, scalable and economical. The cloud also potentially provides a unified point of control for DRaaS, BaaS and so forth.

Cyber Monday starts to look less risk-filled when you’re operating with a selection of business resiliency services behind you. Knowing that you can establish fast recovery time objectives (RTOs) with cloud-based DRaaS, for instance, you can worry less about staying on top of private, on-premises disaster recovery solutions. Or, if your expected volume of Cyber Monday sales transactions goes up, it’s easy to add more virtual machines in the cloud to handle the increased business.

CenturyLink has extensive resiliency service offerings that can help you ensure positive business outcomes on a mega-traffic day like Cyber Monday.  Our business resiliency services combine disaster recovery, managed security services, data replication and professional services that help you develop and then implement an optimal resiliency plan. We have standardized, tiered offerings that can be adapted to your specific resiliency needs. These include multi-data center designs and cost-effective cloud DRaaS.

Our business resiliency services professional services teams works with you to identify points of vulnerability and protect them in ways that align with events that can potentially affect your business. The IT assets that expose the most severe impact on your business are where we focus our efforts. Our goals are always the same: Mitigate your risks; Ensure resiliency; Keep the TCO manageable. To learn more about CenturyLink’s portfolio of business resiliency services, contact us.

So, this Cyber Monday let business resiliency services do the worrying for you. Go ahead and kick your feet up on your desk and browse for that flat screen TV you’ve always wanted.

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