IT infrastructure helps to make a profit by optimizing the work of employees and all business processes. Therefore, the information infrastructure must meet the requirements for it, which change as the business grows.
How business requirements for IT infrastructure are changing
IT infrastructure is a whole complex of interconnected information systems and services that ensure the functioning and development of information communication tools in the company. Therefore, its construction is an important task, on the effective solution of which business development depends.
As an organization grows, IT requirements change: the larger the business, the more complex and secure its IT infrastructure must be.
So, for an individual entrepreneur who has only one retail point of sale, a computer with installed CRM is enough to work to maintain a database of customers/orders and serve them using connected payment services.
And for a wholesale and retail company, which has several branches in the regions, a dozen distributors, and a hundred or two employees, one PC is clearly not enough. Such a business will need a powerful server, a redundant communication channel, and not one system administrator, but a group that must always be on the alert, because a stop or delay can bring losses.
If we talk about a business of the level of credit and financial institution, which has an online banking system, a mobile version of the site, applications, chatbots, a developed network of customer services, and thousands of regular transactions, even a high-performance server will not be enough for it.
With the growth of the business, the risks of possible losses due to disruptions in the operation of the company’s information network as a result of blocking, hacker attacks, natural and man-made accidents, and other unforeseen situations increase.
The stable operation of an information system is only possible when planning the recovery of IT systems and data in critical conditions. In other words, it is necessary to do everything to ensure the continuous operation of the entire IT system of the company in any situation.
Fault tolerance of IT systems is ensured by IT complexes, which are geographically distributed and divided into main and regional. Their recruitment is carried out taking into account possible information flows and business processes of modern developing companies, making it possible to ensure their continuity.
When it comes to a distributed IT infrastructure, one should no longer talk about a server room within a company or placement in a particular data center. Here you need to talk about renting a whole network of data centers and the accompanying set of services.
This is relevant both for large projects that operate with large amounts of information and for mid-level companies with frequent updates of database positions, as well as for structures that involve high-speed data exchange.
The larger the business, the more secure the IT infrastructure must be. Moreover, such information and computing systems of the company should be located at a distance from each other at a safe distance. If necessary, a disaster recovery plan should be provided and the automatic transfer of company services to another site in the network should be provided.
How to start updating your IT infrastructure
Companies often do not pay due attention to planning the development of IT infrastructure. This leads to the fact that as the business grows, various elements are created, connected by small channels, and the IT infrastructure does not start working perfectly anymore.
But in our practice, there were cases in which clients promptly raised the issue of modernizing the information infrastructure in the company and, as a result, significantly optimized costs.
Let us single out four signs by which one can understand that the IT infrastructure is being used ineffectively and it is time to update it:
- The first is suboptimal network topology. Often, due to the lack of a unified network planning, the routes intersect or are created too long (more than 40 km). All this significantly affects the cost of their operation and safety. It is important to remember that geographically distributed IT networks must be removed from each other at a safe distance.
- The second is ineffective network maintenance. Here we are talking about the fact that the elements of the company’s information network are serviced autonomously and controlled from different points, and there is no single center for management and decision-making. This imposes an additional burden on IT specialists, inflating their staff, and also complicates the work of the accounting department.
- The third is the suboptimal performance of optical fibers. In particular, the kilometric attenuation of modern optical fibers should not exceed 0.25 dB/km.
- The fourth is the high-risk locations along which the network routes pass.
Five important questions
Five key questions will help you decide whether to build a new or rebuild your existing distributed IT infrastructure.
- First, is a file server failure, restriction/termination of Internet access, or an application crash dangerous for your business?
- Second, is it profitable in terms of operating costs to transfer services to cloud storage or move servers to a data center?
- Third – your IT system is operating at full capacity during the high season with 100% load, and in low season and does not reach 50%?
- Fourth, is there a risk of loss (including theft) of important data in the event of another failure or failure of the existing hardware and software complex?
- Fifth, in the next two or three years, will you need to upgrade the equipment inside your IT infrastructure, maybe you are planning to increase computing power or launch a new project?
An affirmative answer to at least one or two questions means that the time has come for the update.
The process of reassembling the IT infrastructure should begin with an audit of the company’s information network and IT services. First, you need to take an inventory of all IT assets of the company.
Then check the reliability and technical condition of the software and hardware, analyze the capacity, assess the safety and efficiency of the existing IT infrastructure, depending on the tasks facing the business. And only after that proposals are developed for its modernization, optimization, or cardinal restructuring.