Mission-critical applications are software applications that are essential to an organization or enterprise. If these applications are corrupted, disrupted, or fail it can have a catastrophic effect on the whole organization.
As businesses grow, transform, and adapt to changes and challenges, so do their application inventories. With the rapidly accelerating pace of technology, many enterprises will amass hundreds of applications in their portfolios over time.
Changes that affect app inventories are business growth, mergers & acquisitions, business and IT transformation, and implementing new processes.
These applications may create a complex and burdensome enterprise architecture without sufficient IT application portfolio management. Monitoring applications is key to maintaining the quality of a business's IT infrastructure and IT cost optimization programs.
Not all applications will be MCAs, and it might not always be clear which applications in the inventory are essential to operations.
Mission-critical applications criteria include:
The kind of MCAs that are vital to an organization will depend on the industry and what they’re needed for.
Two different companies might use the same application but it might only be critical to one.
A mission-critical application example would be payment processing software for an e-commerce business, whereas this would not necessarily be mission-critical to an assembly line.
Personal life examples of mission-critical applications are necessities to daily life such as electricity, heating, or water. All of these things are essential for us to be able to go about our day-to-day life. I.e. cook food, heat our homes, work, keep clean, etc.
When one of these MCA fails, (i.e., in the event of a power cut) we are unable to continue on as we normally would. The disruption has a big impact on our routine.
📚 Related: Assess Application Criticality Levels
For many businesses, online banking systems are MCAs that are core to an enterprise's survival. If online banking critical systems fail it can result in a loss of business, reputation, or even the end of the organization itself.
For the banks themselves, system failure, disruption, or any kind of breach could set in motion a major domino effect. It would not just affect the bank itself, but the businesses that rely on them to perform their daily operations.
Online banking critical systems can be protected using mission-critical encryption software or other technology security processes to keep banking data secure. Cybersecurity itself is mission-critical in the financial world.
Communication systems including mobile devices and radio telecommunication systems are mission-critical to most organizations. Communication mission-critical applications need to stay secure and provide reliable communication at all times.
Failure of these systems could lead to disruptions in life-saving services (ambulance services, police force, airlines, etc). However, in almost all businesses communication is an essential part of everyday operations.
To avoid communications going offline, organizations can introduce multiple communication systems, better flexibility, and more security.
Traffic control systems are MCAs that keep transport moving seamlessly and safely without disruption. Traffic lights, stop signs, and automatic barricades are all examples of mission-critical traffic control systems.
When these systems fail it can cause huge disruptions, accidents, and even fatalities. Traffic control systems must be monitored and maintained continuously so that they work without disruptions.
“Mission critical application” is the label IT architects can assign to essential applications in their application portfolio. The other four labels are:
The LeanIX Enterprise Architecture Management tool (EAM) uses these four labels to create the application criticality matrix. IT architects and analysts use these to assess application criticality levels and systems within their organization.
The label names or scores will depend on the organization, which can be set based on the tool or process you follow.
Administrative service applications tend to be those that are low-priority and non-critical to everyday business operations. When these applications fail it can cause some problems but it will not affect the customer and can be tolerated a bit more.
Business operational applications are the next label in our application criticality matrix. These are also fairly non-critical applications that contribute to running efficient business operations.
When they are disrupted it can cause problems within the organization but they are out of the direct line of service to the customer.
A business-critical application is a label given to business-critical processes, software, and services that require consistent availability.
While breaks in service are not catastrophic, they are highly undesirable. Business-critical applications should be consistent and reliable.
Using these labels to create an application criticality matrix helps architects rank and label applications within their portfolio accordingly. Architects and IT experts can use business critically to assess applications in their system portfolio and reach the target application portfolio.
The aim of assigning labels to applications is to reduce (and avoid) the catastrophic consequences of failure, mission-critical applications can bring to an organization.
Structuring a portfolio this way is the starting point for application rationalization, application modernization, cloud migration, etc.
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What are mission-critical applications examples?
What is a mission-critical application?
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