How to Keep Critical Systems Running During the Pandemic

by Jun 15, 2020

The word critical has taken on increased importance in multiple disciplines since the world was subjected to the novel coronavirus. Items and behaviors that we took for granted have suddenly been raised to a new level of significance in many different aspects of our lives. It’s part of the new normal that we may have to get accustomed to for a considerable length of time.

We are being asked to practice social distancing and wear masks in public because it is critically important in helping to stem the spread of the disease. Supplies such as cotton swabs that were not given a second thought became a critical component in the ability to perform viable levels of testing to identify individuals infected by the virus. A shortage of common products such as hand sanitizer and latex gloves have become critical concerns for healthcare professionals, business owners, employees, and the general public. 

What Constitutes a Critical System?

The definition of a critical system has also evolved due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Systems that were previously thought of as nice to have are now becoming essential components of business operations. Many online merchants and service providers are dealing with an unprecedented increase in traffic as the population negotiates a new way of doing things.

Let’s take a look at some computer systems that have become more important because of the pandemic. In some cases, the use of the word critical may be open for debate. With the modifications we have had to make to everyday life, individuals may have a slightly different take on what constitutes a critical system to themselves and their families.

Websites that provide informational material related to the coronavirus would make anyone’s list of critical systems. Knowledge is power and that is never more evident than when fighting a potentially deadly and extremely communicable disease. Many large and small organizations are dedicated to furnishing information to concerned individuals. Arizona State University has a web application called “Ask A Biologist” that has seen an increase of over 600% in traffic searching for answers about COVID-19 and viruses in general.

The increased number of remote workers has elevated supplemental systems to the level of being essential components that are necessary for business continuity. A case in point is the servers that are used to power the remote workforce which before COVID-19 were only used sparingly in many organizations. While it may have been annoying for these systems to go down previously, in the new world paradigm a failure can make it impossible for businesses to maintain operation.

To maintain social distancing and protect themselves from exposure to infected individuals, many people are opting to take advantage of businesses that offer curbside pickup of their merchandise. Just a few months ago, this was a convenience that only a small percentage of the population used to their advantage. The increased demand on ordering websites can be difficult for support teams to manage. Keeping these systems running is critical both from the perspective of the merchants who stands to lose business and the customers who are depending on them for their daily necessities.

Gaming may not immediately come to mind when considering critical systems, but once again the changes forced on us by COVID-19 have made all forms of digital entertainment more important. Gaming is an effective outlet for social interaction and a diversion from the stresses of coping with a changing world. It has experienced significant growth since the coronavirus made its unwelcome appearance. Providers need to address an influx of new users and strive to keep systems functioning to keep the audience satisfied.

Maintaining The Availability of Critical Systems

The IT departments that support systems that have recently been identified as critical for one reason or another can be hard-pressed to handle the increased demands of keeping them running and performing adequately. They need to have the ability to identify bottlenecks that impact system performance and plan for  upgrading capacity to deal with the additional user requirements.

IDERA’s Uptime Infrastructure Monitor offers IT teams a comprehensive monitoring tool that can be instrumental in maintaining the availability and performance of critical systems. The tool enables teams to monitor virtually anything by using provided plugins and custom scripts. Historical data allows informed decisions to be made regarding capacity requirements so they can be addressed before they cause severe impacts.

Uptime provides a unified monitoring dashboard that lets you see everything in your environment from a single pane of glass. It is very easy to use and its Discovery Wizard feature identifies many device types suitable for monitoring in a single pass. Additional functionality comes from the tool’s ability to monitor and report on service level agreements (SLAs) to ensure contractual obligations are met.

Whether the systems in your computing environment were always considered critical or have just risen to this designation due to COVID-19, Uptime can help you maintain the level of performance and availability required by the most discriminating users. It can be just what your team needs to deal with the demands of keeping your critical systems running in any situation.