IT infrastructure design has long been a major pain point for businesses of all types and sizes. The enterprise, in particular, has much more to consider than the typical small or medium-sized organization. You have countless workstations and network components that all need to be weaved together, alongside your communications infrastructure, and that’s not even mentioning security or the cloud. How can you guarantee that your enterprise IT infrastructure accomplishes what it needs to, without sacrificing flexibility?
Continuity: 24/7/365 Uptime
It’s clear that uptime is a critical part of any IT infrastructure, and your enterprise is no different. A few minutes here and there can lead to lost opportunities and wasted budget hours. Lost time manifests itself in your IT budget as downtime, which is both costly and wasteful. Therefore, you want an infrastructure that’s designed to minimize downtime. No solution is completely perfect, but you should strive for no less than the best.
However, this type of 24/7/365 uptime model means that there will be fewer opportunities for maintenance, and the always-on trend demands that your enterprise keep data backup and disaster recovery top of mind. You should have a specific recovery point objective (RPO) and a recovery time objective (RTO), to the point where you can quickly get back to work, with minimal data loss, following a productivity-crippling disaster.
Availability: Anywhere, Anytime Access
Remote access is an important part of doing business, especially in a world where mobile devices are functional and capable of tackling important tasks. Business professionals want to take their email on the road, and they want to work on their projects on a variety of devices from both in and out of the office. In particular, you need secure access to your files, especially over a wireless network.
Cloud storage, a common trend in the business environment, is an especially important contributing factor to increased availability and access to your IT infrastructure. You need your employees to stay connected to their work, and the cloud gives them the opportunity to do so. However, when you introduce mobile devices to a network and its data, you need to ensure that they aren’t putting your data at risk. A comprehensive mobile device management policy is needed–one that allows for the remote wiping of compromised devices, application management, and data access control.
Scalability: The Ability to Grow
If one thing in business is certain, it’s that successful organizations grow, and that their IT infrastructures need to be able to grow alongside them. Scalability is an important part of infrastructure design, and is crucial if you want to get the most return on investment for your IT solutions. You want to make sure that your systems can adapt to and accommodate an increase in resource use and workforce size.
The cloud is a great solution that allows your IT infrastructure to allocate resources and add new users as needed. Depending on your enterprise’s specific needs, there are different cloud models that vary in terms of security, data control, and user access, but you can rest assured that there’s a cloud solution that fits what your enterprise desires.
Simplicity: Quick, Agile Communications
You know that IT infrastructures require lots of hardware and networking equipment. Yet, when all of this technology is combined in one location, it can quickly become jumbled and complicated, which can drag down operations and make implementing new technology solutions more difficult. Most importantly, though, is that an overburdened network can interfere with data transfer speeds, which can decrease the quality and quantity of work performed.
Network virtualization can be an exceedingly useful asset to consider for your infrastructure design. Virtual networks allow your business’s workstations to connect to another network, and all of its devices, as if it were on-site, all through a cloud-based interface. This simple infrastructure is better, as it makes it easier for your office to relocate should the need arise, and it’s easier to add new components or workstations. Plus, you can allocate bandwidth as needed, so you can experience optimal data transfer speeds throughout the workday.
Security: Airtight, Encrypted Systems
It doesn’t matter how functional your IT infrastructure is, unless you take measures to secure it from both external and internal threats. An enterprise has many endpoints that need to be clear of vulnerabilities and protected with powerful security solutions, including enterprise-level firewalls, antivirus, spam blockers, and content filters. Additionally, you need systems that can limit access to data on a per-user basis.
In particular, encryption can be a powerful tool to keep your data secure. Any locations that store or access data must be protected with enterprise-grade, end-to-end protection. Otherwise, hackers could steal data and leverage it against you. Encryption keeps your data safe by scrambling it and making it difficult for a hacker to decipher, should they get their hands on it.
There are certainly other important aspects of infrastructure design, but we just wanted to share our top-five list of must-have features for any enterprise IT infrastructure. What does your organization prioritize with its IT infrastructure? Let us know in the comments.