There's a perfect storm brewing in IT. The economic downturn has raided budgets, prevented necessary IT positions from being filled, and deferred vital system upgrades and maintenance. At the same time, new technology -- and businesses' increasing reliance on it -- has yielded a bulging pipeline of new applications to field and support.
The result? IT is now managing too much with far too little. Look around at your infrastructure. If you can honestly say that your systems are in good shape -- backups tested and operational, patches applied, event logs examined for brewing problems, staff well-trained, disaster documentation current, and so on -- you are in the minority and should consider yourself extremely lucky. More likely you're sitting on a house of cards.
That's a harsh place to be, but it's about to get harsher, because we're starting to emerge from the downturn. That should be good news -- but for many IT operations, these tidings will not be welcome at all.
Companies that have been sitting on their cash will soon loosen their purse strings, if they haven't already. At the same time, no one feels particularly confident about the recovery, so few businesses are going to run out and hire more system admins, nor are they likely to decide now is the best time to perform an infrastructure vulnerability review and put things on a solid footing. Instead, they're going to pay for a bunch of new projects that will drive revenue and beat the competition to the punch.
Which is why your dilemma is about to get worse -- a lot worse. You've made things work with less people and less money and have squeaked by, hopefully without any major disasters, but soon the business will run hotter and the solutions pipeline will deepen. As business heats up, stakeholder tolerance for unplanned downtime will shrink even further. When disaster finally does strike, the blame will fall on you. With a huge pool of unemployed IT talent scrounging for work, you may well see the job you successfully protected during the downturn go to someone else.