From companies scaling up with enhanced technology to digital-native eCommerce and app-based service providers (think Uber and Airbnb), there’s no room for downtime, speed delays or security mishaps. Fail, and you’ll face the consequences of sub-par customer experience and dwindling attention spans.

In today’s current landscape, customer expectations and technological advances are dictating the pace of IT changes in organizations. In fact, a thought-provoking study from Microsoft revealed that the average consumer attention span has dropped to eight seconds — one second less than the attention span of a goldfish! In this ‘swipe to the next’ era, it’s critical to grab attention as quickly as possible, so if your site or app doesn’t load fast enough, customers will likely move on. And if your systems go down, so will your business.

In a 2018 report, Gartner reported that customer trust could be irreparably damaged if your 24/7 online operations are disrupted. “System failures negatively impact revenue, productivity, brand reputation and reliability of digital business systems, which is especially detrimental to digital business initiatives.”

If you’ve adopted a digital-first strategy and want to avoid downtime, speed delays and security mishaps, make sure you check these critical items off your list:

1. Optimize your architecture with cloud solutions

Your IT solution should be architected in a way that realizes the benefits of the cloud platform, while providing resiliency, security, and redundancy. Most digital businesses use a combination of cloud services including public, private or hybrid cloud. This model offers possibilities to scale at the right speed while reducing the need for infrastructure investments.

If downtime does occur, cloud can dramatically improve data availability and speed up recovery time.

Download: Is Your Cloud Environment Evolving the Right Way?

2. Assess your infrastructure

Perform an assessment of your current IT infrastructure to determine which workloads make sense to move to the cloud — and which don’t. Is this a ‘lift and shift’ strategy, a replacement of a few elements within your solution, or a complete rebuild where code changes are required?

3. Put the right skillsets in place

Consider the personnel aspects – is there a high level of expertise in house? Does the cloud journey manager have the skills to see this through in its entirety? Even if they do – do they have the bandwidth? If not, partner with experts who can guide the business on this journey.

It’s worth noting that while a typical business will likely only perform a cloud migration a handful of times, a well-chosen partner will bring years of experience across diverse environments and customer challenges.

4. Link design with business objectives

Design a cloud solution that is firmly rooted in achieving — and protecting — your business objectives. For example, if you’re deploying a new eCommerce solution and uptime is essential to operations and the customer experience, you might simply make use of a web server and database. But this design may be flawed since one single component could cause a mass failure.

Even with multiple servers, your system could go down if you aren’t using availability groups. When updates are applied in the cloud, however, servers can be updated sequentially rather than in parallel, ensuring uptime and meeting your overarching objectives.

5. Create digital resilience

Understand your risks (with in-house experts or through a partner) to ensure your IT solution is rock-solid. While some threats are unpredictable — a natural disaster or malware attack — many businesses go down for mundane reasons that are easily preventable with the right architecture. Understanding your existing services, infrastructure, and interdependencies is the starting point to assessing risk.

These days, digital resilience encompasses much more than cybersecurity. It’s about resilience against downtime — both scheduled and unscheduled, or predictable and unpredictable. Despite any chaos that may arise, your ability to anticipate and respond in a timely way will keep your business moving forward.

Find out more about the various cloud solutions in the market, and which are better suited for your business. Download the free eBook, “Is Your Cloud Evolving the Right Way?