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How to Minimize IT Risk Without Stifling Innovation

Article Written by Dino Balafas

Companies delivering IT services must minimize unnecessary risk while continuing to take chances and make bold decisions -- capacity management and performance monitoring software can make it easier to strike the balance.

In a business environment that increasingly values innovative IT service, healthy risks are essential to keep your company moving forward. As Mark Zuckerberg says, "in a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy guaranteed to fail is not taking risks."

All the same, though, it's important to only take the risks we decide are worth taking. Any IT managers looking to move forward need to eliminate unnecessary risks that could mean damaged reputation, hours wasted fixing the problem, and worst of all, thousands in lost revenue. Here are some strategies for reducing risk without stifling the innovative spirit at your company, so you can be free to focus on taking the chances that push your business forward.

Accurate Capacity Planning

The goal of capacity planning is to prevent an unacceptable risk: service outages. Even a single minute when your services are down or suffering from a bottleneck could have a serious impact on your bottom line. Capacity planning can help you learn exactly what resources you need and when you need them.

An up-to-date, automated capacity planning system can teach you about your infrastructure limits with impressive precision. It can tell you which parts of your system will cause future bottlenecks, forecast upcoming workloads, and discover redline performance limits. Best of all, capacity planning reduces risk without stretching resources beyond their limit -- good capacity planning tools will help you allocate IT resources efficiently between various machines, preventing both outages and overspending.

Prepare for the Worst

When trying to minimize only unnecessary risk, worst-case scenarios are a great place to start. Despite the obvious benefits, companies often scrimp on disaster planning or forego it entirely. Although this may save money, it leaves them exposed to a risk that could literally put them out of business.

Skipping disaster planning is all the more inexcusable because it can be achieved by simply reallocating resources. IT managers would be wise use their capacity planning tools to find underutilized assets that can be called upon in case of a disaster.

Don't Sacrifice User Experience

As an IT manager, one of your goals should always be to delight customers with exceptional service. Make sure that your risk minimization strategies don't lead to changes in your product that will frustrate its user base. For example, rerouting servers away from your consumer web pages to machines waiting on standby for emergency situations could slow down your site and make customers flee. Thankfully, there are enough other ways to minimize risk that frustrated customers almost never need to be a trade-off.

Avoid Capital Investments

When it comes time to take a risk on a new IT venture, don't immediately invest in expensive physical infrastructure -- it's in many cases more risk-averse to go to the cloud. Cloud computing provides an elastic infrastructure that can be scaled up or down depending on the success of the project. That way, your company won't be saddled with a major investment in underutilized technology. Cloud services are an enormous opportunity for innovation -- they make it possible to take on adventurous new initiatives without the risk of sunk server costs.

It's key to understand the two types of risks in IT. The first type has no upside: it can take the form of security breach or a bottleneck, and IT managers need to be vigilant in order to prevent this type of risk from happening. The second type of risk results from a deliberate choice: it could result in failure, but also holds great potential for improved outcomes. This could mean switching service providers in the hope of shorter wait times, or eliminating redundant infrastructure.

By minimizing the odds of the first type of risk, IT managers can get the confidence they need to pursue the second one. A successful risk minimization strategy should always leave room for the the exciting ventures that make progress possible.

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About the Author

As TeamQuest's VP of Global Marketing, Dino Balafas leads the organization's efforts in a wide variety of areas, including Product Strategy, Field Marketing, Marketing Communications, Events, and Market Development efforts for their suite of Information Technology Capacity Planning, Performance Management, Financial Management and Decision Support businesses. Dino combines an engineering and marketing flair to his content. His deep knowledge of how software works, along with virtual and cloud environments, allows him to share sound advice to everyone from the systems administrator to the CIO.

Dino Balafas 

Published Friday, January 06, 2017 8:01 AM by David Marshall
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