In 2023, having an optimal IT infrastructure is absolutely essential to succeed in business, no matter what vertical or industry you’re in.
Considering most people interact with your business digitally, you absolutely need a robust, reliable infrastructure that can handle significant traffic while also providing a top-notch experience to your customer.
But that doesn’t mean you need to spend tons of money on it. In fact, you’re probably spending too much money on your IT infrastructure at the moment.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the key steps to optimize your IT infrastructure for sustainable growth.
We’ll cover everything from assessing your current setup to implementing cutting-edge solutions and tracking your success.
Buckle up – it’s time to make some changes!
Assessing Your IT Infrastructure: Where Do You Stand?
Taking Stock of Your Current Setup
Before making any changes, you must first understand your existing infrastructure. Creating a list of all of your existing IT and creating a diagram of how they interact and work together is a great place to start.
Here are the four main components of your business’ IT you’ll want to cover:
- Hardware: Things like servers, workstations, and networking equipment. Any physical device your business owns and that is currently a part of your IT infrastructure should be included
- Software: Anything digital that you own and use in your business. Things like applications, operating systems, subscriptions, and plugins are included in this.
- Security: You know, the things that keep your digital life safe: firewalls, intrusion detection systems, data encryption, and so on.
- Connectivity: This is all the stuff that helps you interact with the world. Internet service providers, bandwidth, and networking topology should be included.
Identifying Areas for Improvement
Once you’ve got a grip on your current setup, it’s time to pinpoint areas where optimization can drive growth. Hiring an IT consultant or partnering with a managed IT service provider can make analyzing your IT setup and finding areas for improvement much easier.
You don’t know what you don’t know – so bringing in someone who does can be hugely helpful at this step of the process. Especially if you don’t have experience in IT.
Whether you bring in outside help or not, you have to identify those areas where your IT can be improved. Focus on the areas that are MOST IMPORTANT to your business (your Shopify account or your servers, for example) and start with those.
Work your way down from the most important areas that you can have the most impact on those that are less important to optimize your time and energy on this part of the process.
Consider the following factors:
- Scalability: Can your infrastructure handle an increase in traffic or workload?
- Flexibility: How easily can you integrate new technologies or accommodate changes in business requirements?
- Reliability: Is your system designed to minimize downtime and maintain high levels of performance? This is critical for businesses in 2023.
- Cost-effectiveness: Are you getting the most bang for your buck with your current investments? Are there places you could save money on unnecessary services?
Implementing Optimization Strategies: The Roadmap to Success
Now that you understand your business’s current situation and have put together a plan (hopefully with an IT professional) to optimize your IT infrastructure, there are a few tried-and-true methods that will work for almost any business.
These simple tips can apply to practically anyone and will almost always yield a positive result. If you’re not doing these bare minimums for your business, your competition is probably beating you on the IT front.
1. Opt for Cloud-Based Solutions
In 2023, almost all of us are using the cloud or cloud-based services to make our lives easier. Whether you’re storing files on Dropbox or accessing remote desktops for your overseas crew, cloud services are integral for businesses in 2023.
Here are just a few things you can achieve with cloud services.
- Scalability: Effortlessly adjust your resource usage based on your needs
- Flexibility: Easily access applications and data from any location
- Cost-efficiency: Pay only for what you use, reducing upfront capital investments
- Enhanced security: Benefit from the latest security measures employed by cloud providers
Want to know more about cloud computing and how it can benefit your business? Check out our full article here!
2. Upgrade Your Hardware and Networking Equipment
This seems obvious – better hardware equals better IT infrastructure, in terms of reliability, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.
Here are some things that could easily improve your business:
- Servers: Opt for energy-efficient, high-capacity servers to handle your workload. Save money on electricity and know your data is local.
- Networking equipment: Implement advanced switches, routers, and firewalls for faster and more secure connections.
- Storage: Utilize solid-state drives (SSDs) for quicker data access and retrieval. Protect your data from physical damage that can happen with traditional hard drives.
3. Streamline Your Software Stack
Revamp your software stack to maximize productivity and efficiency. In general, our goal here is to simplify and unify all of your software together into one unified toolset.
Always think about reducing software bloat – if you don’t use a program, you can probably delete it (and you should!)!
Here are simple ways to optimize software:
- Application rationalization: Eliminate redundant or outdated applications to reduce maintenance costs and streamline workflows
- Software consolidation: Integrate disparate systems for improved data flow and easier management
- Up-to-date software: Stay current with software updates to ensure optimal performance and security
- Don’t be an easy mark: You do NOT need to buy software from sales agents – and if you do, you’ll know it. Software sales agents are notorious for aggressively pushing the hottest new software from their company – usually, you DO NOT need this, but they will convince you you do! If Salesforce is pushing Salesforce…it’s because they work for Salesforce. Not because Salesforce will help you.
4. Prioritize Cybersecurity
Take a proactive approach to safeguard your IT infrastructure. Nobody thinks they need cybersecurity until they get hacked and lose their customers’ trust forever (and that’s before you have to pay the hackers a ransom!).
Here are some simple ways to update your cybersecurity:
- Regular vulnerability assessments: Identify and remediate potential security risks with your team to ensure your defenses are impenetrable
- Employee training: Educate your team on best practices for cybersecurity. Everybody should know how to protect themselves and the company.
- Multilayered security: Implement a combination of firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption to fortify your defenses.
Monitoring Your Success: Keeping Tabs on Your Progress
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
It can be a ton of effort to overhaul your IT infrastructure – that’s why most people hire pros to help them! But at the end of the day how do you even know if your efforts to improve and optimize your IT infrastructure is working?
While every company is different, with different needs and goals, generally speaking, there are a few keystone KPIs that can help you understand if your IT infrastructure is truly optimized (and if you follow our tips and hire an IT pro to help you, it will be!)
Here are some of the most common, most important KPIs for IT across the board:
- System uptime
- How reliable is your system? How often does it stay up? How often does it go down?
- Measure the percentage of time your IT infrastructure is operational and compare it to the past to see if your system has become more reliable from your efforts.
- Network latency
- Monitor the time it takes for data to travel between devices to see how fast your system is. The faster your system operates, the better (DUH!), so if you see an improvement in your network speeds, you’ve done something right.
- Application response time
- A key component of IT is user experience, so your application response time should be extremely low! By tracking how quickly your applications process user requests, you can get a glimpse into how your customer is experiencing your brand.
- Data breach incidents:
- Keep a record of any cybersecurity events so you can see if it’s improved.
- Of course, cybersecurity events are a bit like getting struck by lightning, in that they’re extremely unpredictable and tend to only happen to you once, so this can be hard to track sometimes. But if your key goal is to improve cybersecurity, this is how you can measure it.
Optimizing your IT infrastructure is absolutely essential for companies in 2023, where costs are high across the board and you need to find ways to streamline your operation without ruining people’s lives.
Improving your IT infrastructure through the methods we’ve laid out above can help you save money AND bring in more money without having to put significant resources into increasing revenue or cutting costs.
It’s critical you always partner with an IT professional when undertaking technically-heavy projects like analyzing and improving your IT infrastructure.
Contact us today and we can help guide you through the whole process of making measured improvements to your IT!