In recent weeks, COVID-19 forced many organizations to either scale up their existing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments or set up a new one. Either of these approaches is a rushed response to an evolving business continuity risk, as a significant percentage of employees are now forced to work remotely. Your IT continuity risks are evolving in line with your evolving responses to COVID-19. As an infrastructure and operations (I&O) pro, you must:
- Review your evolving IT continuity risks. Imagine if this VDI setup — the backbone of your employee enablement — fails. What are your options? Heightened reliance on VDI infrastructure has skyrocketed the criticality of the VDI setup because employees are immobile and have no other option to perform their jobs. VDI infrastructure is clearly a single point of failure for many firms and, hence, an IT continuity risk. Now is the time to identify more of these risks that face your organization as a result of the recently implemented technological changes.
- Review the dependability of newly introduced technologies. From an IT continuity perspective, I&O pros must review the resilience of their VDI setup and the peripheral infrastructure that makes the VDI ecosystem work. History tells us that when user load increases, either the systems crash or user experience declines so much that they cannot get their work done. If this VDI setup was part of a planned project, you would have the time and luxury to create a detailed project plan, pick the best solution, perform testing, roll out in a planned (phased) manner, and so forth. Remember, though, that this time your response will be rushed. Once VDI is put in production, it gives you a chance to look back and see what single points of failure — knowingly or unknowingly — have been introduced. What remediation options do you have?
- Prepare for the unprepared. You don’t want to be caught unprepared again if the systems are incapacitated and cause system outages. If your responses are reacting to the evolving situations, you end up in a catch-up mode. IT leaders should take the time now to reevaluate whether their chosen solution has the right features to support disaster recovery. Examples include daily automatic environment snapshots, user data synchronization with cloud storage, and automatic failover. For firms using cloud-based desktop virtualization, ensure that your provider can spread virtual machines across multiple availability zones to avoid outages from major cloud providers.