Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>

Matt Brunk | June 30, 2017 |


IT Risk Mitigation Examined

IT Risk Mitigation Examined Over- and under-engineered IT solutions can inadvertently lead to greater risk exposure.

Over- and under-engineered IT solutions can inadvertently lead to greater risk exposure.

Prevention, response, and investigation are three key approaches that, when used together, can assist IT in deciding whether to accept or mitigate the level of risk.

This same risk management principle relates to engineering economics, in assessing whether the cost of a preventative solution outweighs its benefits. Risk management seems black and white, but in practice cost becomes a factor.

Oftentimes, senior management does not fully share the cost of the risk -- as related to disruption or downtime -- to IT. This opens the potential for IT and other operational areas to over-engineer solutions, which in turn leads either to a high total cost of ownership that outweighs the benefit or to a solution that fails to work as anticipated due to complexities or change.

Another key metric lies within carrier and provider SLAs. Do these levels of commitment complement or oppose each other? By that I mean, if the cloud provider states availability at 0.99% and the carrier is at 0.995%, then you have an imbalance -- and the potential to over- or under-engineer your solution. The point is, you need to know your exact SLAs with both carrier and cloud providers, at least when it comes to access/availability. The cloud provider with 0.99% availability can be down for 7.2 hours while your carrier committing to a 0.995% availability is only down for 3.6 hours in a 30-day month, for example.

In practice, we see over- and under-engineering daily, across disciplines and in all industries. Workstations have more than enough hard-drive capacity but lack in RAM, or firewalls don't account for simultaneous connections, BYOD, or the Internet of Things. These types of risks are preventable and, when overlooked, can be effectively remediated when discovered during investigation into root cause of failure or disruption.

Case in Point
The response to an IT failure is accepting the risk or mitigating it to eliminate or minimize impact. I'll use power disruption as an example, since IT needs continuous and undisturbed power to provide availability to services.

While investigating why IP phones were failing intermittently at a county agency, I found that all IDF and MDF LAN switches and routers had redundant power supplies. Power supply #1 connected to the UPS source, and the UPS connected to an orange receptacle served by a standby generator. Power supply #2 connected directly to the house receptacle, bypassing the UPS.

The thinking was that if the UPS failed, then the secondary power supply would already be active and so there'd be no downtime during the repair or while awaiting replacement. However, power supply #2 had no surge protection -- which I uncovered. Power disruptions and disturbances to the unprotected house power impacted the LAN switch. The agency implemented its power supply configuration for the right reason, but it did not account for the power disturbances and transients that occur daily in every installation on unprotected power.

Hopefully the IT response to this situation isn't to add a secondary UPS to every IDF and MDF. Instead adding whole panel surge protection devices (SPD) is a more cost-effective solution with a lower TCO.

While IT staff often takes for granted doing the right things to prevent downtime, not every situation is the same and thinking through the solution is important. In the example I used, the solution added another layer of risk -- a risk that came to fruition, causing disruption to the LAN switches. Instead of providing less risk, it increased vulnerability.

Thinking Big Picture
As a sidebar, consider the potential impacts -- good and bad -- of using a carrier data centers for both transport and cloud services. What does the SLA look like for enterprises using one source, what are the risks, and what are the planned responses during an outage? What kind of preventive measures have you employed and do they work? How do you know?

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter!


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.