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How to Streamline Your IT Infrastructure Management

Your IT infrastructure isn’t just a cog in the machine that is your business. It’s the central pillar of many of your day-to-day activities. From physical computers and routers to essential software, businesses rely on effective IT infrastructure management to stay up and running.

This guide explains why your IT infrastructure needs effective management and has a step-by-step guide, with handy tips, for streamlining this management. Let’s dive in.

What Is IT Infrastructure Management?

IT infrastructure management is how you oversee and maintain your business’s information technology. The overall IT infrastructure covers hardware and software along with networks and any other IT resources your company needs. IT infrastructure management is essential to your company’s technology risk mitigation and day-to-day running. 

Some businesses have an entire IT infrastructure management team to handle each and every break and error that comes up. Other businesses have one IT employee, a jack of all trades who can fix everything from a blown fuse to a huge data loss. The expansive nature of IT infrastructure management means that, regardless of team size, processes need to be streamlined. 

What’s Included in IT Infrastructure Management?

  • Hardware: This covers your installing and maintaining physical devices such as:
    • Servers
    • Computers and laptops
    • Network equipment
    • Storage devices
  • Software: Software management covers your operating systems and databases as well as any applications your business uses. This type of IT management includes:
  • Data centers: Businesses use a range of data centers, each of which requires management and specific resources like storage systems and servers. Managing this includes disaster recovery and capacity planning as well as overall data security. 
  • Networks: Your business has an overall network infrastructure too, which covers its WiFi and routers along with any firewalls or network software. 
  • Security: IT infrastructure management teams are often tasked with security monitoring. This includes testing for potential security and data breaches and maintaining the overall security posture of the business’s key components. 

The Benefits of Effective IT Infrastructure Management

1. Reliable, Well-Performing IT

Image sourced from goto.com

Broken computers and unreliable networks aren’t just annoying, they actively hamper business. Ultimately, IT infrastructure managers are there to keep things up and running in a reliable manner. 

Not only is well-managed IT more reliable, but it performs better too. Improving your IT management means that all your systems and applications will run faster and with fewer technical hiccups. 

2. Improved Security

Data breaches? Cyber attacks? These words send a shiver down any business owner’s spine. Software and network infrastructure management means better security. You can ensure that safeguards are in place so that your systems and data are safe. 

No business wants a cyber attack. Customers don’t want it either. Improving your IT security doesn’t just benefit your business, it protects your customers and clients too. This means more trust from everyone, from staff to customers and stakeholders. 

3. Cost Savings

It may come as no surprise that better managing your IT infrastructure will lead to cost savings. Whether it’s choosing the most cost-efficient network provider or ensuring optimal performance so you can streamline resource allocation, the money spent on IT infrastructure management processes is well worth it. 

For example, managing your data storage space or cloud infrastructure carefully means you can keep an eye on how much storage or cloud space you’re actually using. That means no money wasted on unused storage space or cloud facilities that aren’t serving you. 

4. Boost Productivity for All

Image sourced from business.adobe.com

A streamlined IT infrastructure management service means your IT team can be more productive. Less time spent dealing with tasks that can be automated. Less time wasted recovering data when it could have been stored in the cloud. The list goes on.

The productivity benefits don’t just affect your IT team. Streamlined IT management means that IT systems and software components can be better integrated across the company. This can save everyone’s time, as employees are using streamlined, well-integrated tools that fit their day-to-day work needs.

How to Streamline Your IT Infrastructure Management in 5 Steps

1. Standardize Your Existing Ware

While many businesses have a patchwork of different tools and devices, having standardized hardware and software configurations will considerably streamline your IT management team’s work and should be a key part of your business’s strategic enterprise architecture

That means everyone uses the same type of hardware, and all software is standardized across different computers. Whether it’s your customer relationship management (CRM) system or hardware components, everyone using the same IT will make IT management and maintenance much easier. 

Tip: Work with managers to create a set of guidelines regarding what hardware and software should be used by employees. This also spreads responsibility, so it’s not all on IT managers to monitor what staff are using. 

2. Move to the Cloud

Image sourced from pages.marketintelligence.spglobal.com

Cloud computing makes managing your business’s IT infrastructure easier as it can help you offload maintenance tasks to your cloud server provider. There are software as a service (SaaS) providers outhere, including specific infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) providers, that can considerably streamline your tasks. 

Outsourcing SaaS products can reduce or even remove entirely the need for regular maintenance of your applications or programs, as all of this is handled by the service provider. Finding a unified platform means you can even standardize your software by opting for a provider that covers a wide range of business processes.

Tip: Make use of cloud-based monitoring and data analytics tools too. That way, you can see how much more effective your IT infrastructure is when moving it to the cloud. 

3. Embrace Automation

Along with cloud computing, automation and artificial intelligence are increasingly popular routes for IT managers to streamline their work. It starts with identifying repetitive tasks that could be automated, such as patch testing or software updates.

Then, prioritize automating these tasks based on risk and impact, starting with low-risk, high-impact tasks. 

While scripting languages like Javascript and Python can be used to automate tasks, there are also automation tools available that you might invest in. Do your research and consider different programs’ scalability and how easily integrated they are with your existing tools and applications. 

Tip: Implement automation slowly and incrementally. You can break down large automation tasks into smaller, manageable projects. This will reduce the risk and help you implement necessary changes on a small scale rather than dealing with large automation problems. 

4. Prioritize Security

You’re on your way now to streamlining your IT infrastructure management, but don’t let security fall by the wayside. Strengthening your security measures is another important part of perfecting your IT procedures. 

You should schedule regular security checks and vulnerability scans. Rather than doing these as and when they feel necessary, schedule routine checks at certain points in the year, month, or even week (if you handle a lot of sensitive data). 

You can also tighten security posture and protocols to make this process easier. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) and invest in software that encrypts data at both ends. 

Tip: Effective IT security starts and ends with employees. Make sure that any security measures you’re implementing are fully understood by staff. Embed IT security lessons, such as explaining the NIST framework, into your workplace training and onboarding so everyone is on the same page. 

5. Prepare for the Worst

Backup and disaster planning are essential parts of your entire IT infrastructure management plan. You need to develop a comprehensive strategy that includes regular backups of essential data and business systems. Start by assessing your business continuity requirements: what can you, your team, and your customers survive without? 

A common disaster planning tactic is to keep offsite backups or cloud-based solutions since these help guard against physical disasters that might cause office closures or the loss of physical technology infrastructure. 

Tip: Regular testing is a must when it comes to your backup and disaster recovery plans. Don’t just assume everything will work as planned. Run disaster drills and test the efficiency of your backup sites and stores on a regular basis, and always know where your digital vulnerabilities are. 

Conclusion: Make the Most of Your Digital Assets

Whether you’re an IT manager or a business owner, effective IT infrastructure management benefits the entire business. With standardized IT components and cloud computing, as well as automated processes and an effective backup plan, you can be confident that your digital assets aren’t just safe, they’re working at top efficiency. 

IT management doesn’t need to be a tedious or inefficient side of running a business. Like many companies, it’s likely your business will be relying more and more on IT, so it’s better to implement these management strategies today so you can be prepared for the new and exciting business technology appearing every year. 

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