IT environments today are increasingly complex. They include hardware, software, and networks, and it can be challenging to manage and monitor every aspect of your environment in-house. This is where IT Infrastructure Management offers an excellent advantage for organisations, particularly when considering infrastructure as a service options.
IT infrastructure as a service brings together the administrative responsibilities, monitoring and management of all the elements within your infrastructure so that your workflow is optimised, you experience minimal downtime, and your resources are used efficiently.
There are a lot of moving parts to a company’s infrastructure today because technology is continuously changing. Many companies are working with cloud computing, as well as private networks and legacy equipment. Your infrastructure includes all these components – computers and devices, servers, software, data storage and facilities, as well as your networks.
Your IT infrastructure management provider works to streamline efficiency in a complex world. They offer the depth of experience and technical knowledge your company needs to stay proactive in monitoring and managing your environment while providing the best solutions to scale with your business.
IT infrastructure is essentially the combined components needed for the operation and management of IT services and environment. It includes software systems and platforms, and also cables and wires, routers, switches, firewall, service components - everything that makes it possible to connect your networks and connect your infrastructure to the internet. But it doesn’t stop there. Your infrastructure includes networks, cloud solutions, systems, facilities, and equipment. It’s essentially everything that’s necessary to your technology processes.
One important component in managing your infrastructure is in providing security. Data security misconceptions might indicate that outside actors are the only consideration in managing your infrastructure. But there are many issues that have nothing to do with cybersecurity. Hardware can experience issues that need to be repaired or replaced. Software can experience issues that need to be patched. And human error is also a consideration in any technology.
IT managed services that provide IT infrastructure management proactively monitor your environment to quickly remediate any issues and offer scalable and flexible solutions in talent, technology, and automation to keep your business moving in the right direction.
Important to note, IT infrastructures do not include application developments (or DevOps). It also doesn’t include the people and processes that use your infrastructure. Devices, such as laptops and computers, are also not part of infrastructure management - these usually fall under endpoint management or the Help Desk.
IT Infrastructure as a service includes the technical aspects of your infrastructure, as well as the operational aspects. Infrastructure management does more than simply oversee your existing environment.
IT infrastructure management is used to manage IT resources and helps align your infrastructure spend and management with your overall business strategy. Organisations can use IT infrastructure management to reduce IT costs, maintain regulatory compliance, and improve connectivity and agility with solutions that scale for your business in a proactive way.
The goal of your IT infrastructure management should be to proactively provide support, maintenance, and solutions that scale to support your business’ operations and evolution. By aligning your IT with your budget priorities, your IT Infrastructure management provider can counsel you on ways to reach overall business goals more efficiently and cost-effectively.
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IT infrastructure includes all your technology processes and protocols. This includes your networks and connections, as well as devices and equipment. It also considers the way that your business uses these solutions and tools most efficiently.
There are three primary components of IT infrastructure – software, hardware, and networks.
Software includes any application used by the business and its staff. The software includes content management systems, as well as operating systems.
Hardware includes all equipment, such as computers, devices, servers, routers, and switches. Hardware also includes the facilities that house your hardware, such as data centres.
The network connects all your endpoints, allowing staff to communicate in real-time with each other, as well as with clients. The network component includes internet connectivity, as well as cloud computing.
There are different types of IT infrastructure. The traditional infrastructure includes data centres, traditional equipment, and data storage. In a traditional model, the business generally owns its own facilities to house all the equipment and servers. This type of infrastructure requires a great level of expertise in terms of staff, a dedicated location, power use, overhead, servers, and equipment.
Cloud computing moves away from the traditional IT infrastructure. Companies can use public cloud options, or they can use a private cloud structure. In the private cloud structure, the infrastructure is dedicated solely to your organisation.
The overall goal of your IT infrastructure management is to provide scalable and flexible solutions to minimise downtime and increase productivity for your business. With dependable infrastructure management, you can rest assured that your connectivity is always optimal and your network is protected from the heightened risks of cyber attack.
The IT Infrastructure Manager would be responsible for the installation, management, and maintenance of the infrastructure. There may be several managers and it may be organised based on the different components of your infrastructure. For instance, one manager might oversee OS platforms while another takes the lead on data centres and storage.
There are many challenges to managing IT infrastructure, especially as new technologies become available. New solutions don’t always integrate well with legacy systems. It can be challenging to integrate various programs and applications while maintaining the integrity and agility of the infrastructure.
Cybersecurity is a continual challenge with the ever increasing cyber threat landscape. There is also a continued evolution of industry specific regulatory requirements (e.g. PCI/ISO/SOCS).
The complexity of today’s technology is one of the main reasons that partnering with an experienced provider is an ideal solution for most businesses.
There are many benefits to working with seasoned professionals to manage IT infrastructure. Below, we’ve listed the top five.
Benefit #1 - Business Continuity Planning
With cycle management and governance mean you can recover failed services and network devices easily, ensuring continuous access to your critical data when and where you need it. Opt-in for disaster recovery and BCP planning.
Benefit #2 – Decreased Downtime
Repairs and new deployments can be handled expertly, limiting the downtime as upgrades and patches are applied.
Benefit #3 – Redeploy Teams to Higher Value Tasks
With your infrastructure managed by a team of professionals, you are no longer firefighting issues or dealing with a backlog of IT administrative tasks, you can now focus on strategy IT initiatives that drive business value.
Benefit #4 – Streamlines Processes
A managed IT infrastructure means that the processes and workflows are unencumbered. With constant monitoring and proactive remediation, employees and clients enjoy a more dependable experience with the IT environment.
Benefit #5 – Fast Response Time
A managed service offers quick response time, protecting business continuity during events that might range from software bugs to full-scale attacks.
Benefit #6 – Reduce Threats and Security Risks
Ensuring a quick identification and triggering of response to your environment’s multiple and increasing threats with key industry regulations.
Benefit #7 – Predictable Spend
There are contracted service levels that allow you full transparency in your budget. You can rely on experienced staff and industry level solutions at a cost efficient price.
Benefit #8 – Scalability and Growth
Business growth can put extra pressure on your IT teams to keep operations seamless throughout the transition with on-demand IT capabilities and capacity it can support your rapid growth.
Benefit #9 – Monitoring and Alerts
Integrate 24x7x365 monitoring and alerts for a wide range of infrastructure and services, including hardware, OS and applications.
Benefit #10 – Real-Time Data Access
With real-time reporting and analysis, companies can arrive at data-based insights that help to scale services and achieve business goals.
Your IT infrastructure is integral to the health of your business. Think of how many processes rely on technology and connectivity. Without it, you risk facing challenges like:
- Costly issues,
- Network connectivity and security,
- Lack of transparency in budgeting,
- Capacity and capability challenges,
- Meeting regulatory obligations,
- Disaster recovery plan, and
- Proactive management.
Your IT infrastructure management oversees all the processes, hardware, and equipment while proactively looking ahead to keep your business performing and efficient. Your provider can oversee network managed services to maintain connectivity and security in your network. Without IT Infrastructure Management solutions in place, you’re leaving your business open to unstable connectivity, a lack of transparency in the ability to budget for future infrastructure needs, and security risks that your business can’t afford. IT Infrastructure Management is essential for a stable and secure IT environment, enhanced efficiency, and minimised disruptions.
Implementing effective strategies for Infrastructure Service Management is crucial for ensuring smooth operations and delivering quality services. Here are seven implementation strategies that can contribute to a successful Infrastructure Service Management:
1. Define Clear Objectives and Scope: Clearly define the objectives and scope of your infrastructure service management initiatives. This includes identifying the services to be managed, establishing performance metrics, and defining key deliverables. Having a well-defined scope helps in setting the right expectations and aligning efforts accordingly.
2. Establish Service Level Agreements (SLAs): SLAs define the level of service expected from infrastructure providers. Collaborate with stakeholders to establish realistic SLAs that reflect the needs and priorities of the organisation. SLAs should cover aspects such as response times, uptime guarantees, incident resolution, and performance benchmarks.
3. Adopt IT Service Management (ITSM) Frameworks: ITSM frameworks such as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) provide best practices for managing IT services. Implementing ITSM processes and frameworks helps in standardising service delivery, incident management, change management, and other essential aspects of infrastructure service management.
4. Invest in Automation and Monitoring Tools: Leverage automation and monitoring tools to streamline infrastructure management processes. Automation reduces manual efforts, minimises errors, and improves efficiency. Monitoring tools enable proactive identification and resolution of issues, ensuring high availability and performance.
5. Foster Collaboration and Communication: Effective collaboration and communication are crucial for successful infrastructure service management. Encourage cross-functional collaboration between IT teams, infrastructure providers, and other stakeholders. Implement collaboration tools, establish communication channels, and facilitate knowledge sharing to enhance teamwork and ensure effective problem resolution.
6. Implement Change Management Practices: Change management is essential for managing infrastructure updates, upgrades, and modifications. Establish a change management process that includes proper assessment, planning, testing, and communication of changes. This helps in minimising service disruptions and ensures that changes are implemented smoothly.
7. Continual Improvement and Performance Measurement: Regularly assess the performance of infrastructure services and identify areas for improvement. Implement a continuous improvement process that includes monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), conducting regular audits, and seeking feedback from users and stakeholders. Use the insights gained to optimise processes, enhance service quality, and meet evolving business needs.
Remember that successful infrastructure service management requires a combination of well-defined processes, skilled personnel, and appropriate technology. Continually evaluate and adapt your strategies to address emerging challenges and stay aligned with evolving business requirements.
There are many factors you should examine when choosing a provider for your infrastructure management. Here are a few things to consider as you move forward in your research.
As an organisation, it’s important to be aligned in terms of purpose and values, thus ensuring you aspire to the same level of performance and accountability that your business requires. Additionally, You’ll want to verify that the provider offers the deep experience needed to manage and proactively offer solutions for every type of infrastructure issue. Finally, its critical to consider the provider's ability to meet regulatory requirements and maintain the highest standards of security.
As the Director of IT, you’ll want to verify that the provider and their staff can work well with your own team and augment where needed. Make certain they have clear processes and procedures in place for identifying, escalating and remediating issues. Additional considerations might include response time and support, such as the level of availability (i.e. 9-5 or 24/7) for your team when necessary. Another consideration is budget and transparency in pricing, thus allowing you to manage business operational costs and determine where they can add the most value and best approach to redeploying your internal team.
To find out more about the Infrastructure Management solution offered by Canon Business Services ANZ, get in touch today for a consultation.