From sending emails, accessing information and reports to monitoring and updating essential databases, an enterprise cannot survive without information technology (IT). No matter how small, a business has to have an appropriately structured IT component.
How to Evaluate Your IT Structure
More than just ensuring that your business gets protection from hackers, a company’s IT structure provides seamless enterprise operations and encourages the protection of institutional assets.
Any organization existing in the digital era inevitably needs to establish a safe and secure IT structure. Here are some steps to begin your company’s overall tech evaluation:
- Set the objectives for the assessment
Whether you want to upgrade your software and operating system, fortify cybersecurity, or migrate to a cloud service, be clear on which specific business IT pain point you need to address. Relay it to the assessment team so that the evaluation team hits the activity’s target objective.
- Come up with initial IT needs
Before conducting an inventory on your current IT resources and structure, list down your needs to achieve your business aims. Which IT tools do you need to improve your business performance, stand out, and succeed in the industry (or whatever specific goals you have)?
- Identify what needs to be reviewed
To cover all critical issues that impact IT functionalities and user productivity, all parties should agree on the things to be reviewed. The assessment team should leave no stone unturned, so to speak.
A business IT structure assessment typically involves evaluating the following:
- Network performance and security, as well as other related issues
- Physical security
- Storage capacity (including cloud services)
- Allocation of IT resources
- Bandwidth capacity and usage
- Number of networks or servers in use
- Hardware age and capacity
- Server room equipment and layout
- Software versions, support, and updates
- Service providers
- Print and auxiliary services
- User-related issues
- Mobile device use policies
- Assess your IT performance
Checking your hardware and software is crucial, and so is an assessment of your network performance, especially if you’re planning to migrate or use cloud technology to store vital business data. A stable and strong bandwidth is needed to stay connected internally and externally, allowing faster processing of several business functions.
Perhaps the most critical question to answer in this stage is, ‘Does your current setup allow you to achieve optimal productivity and competitiveness?’
- Identify the gaps
After evaluating your current IT performance, compare your current IT setup with your identified needs to validate the gaps. This activity allows you to finalize the IT needs initially pinpointed in the earlier stages, following the identification of your main assessment objectives.
- Emphasize business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR)
This activity refers to the processes that allow continued business operations despite artificial or natural disruptions. These disturbances may include power failures, system crashes, and logistical or network problems. BC/DR stresses the importance of backup and recovery, and obtaining new technologies can help safeguard data duplication and virtual storage.
What are the components of IT infrastructure?
Industries worldwide have a universal definition of IT infrastructure, which refers to the whole ecosystem that makes the efficient delivery of IT services possible. An organization’s IT structure supports its overall goals by making data and information management available and usable to its members.
Regardless of where you’re based in the world, this infrastructure often involves the following aspects:
A business enterprise requires hardware to run properly. IT hardware refers to tangible items such as servers, personal computers, routers, switches, hard drives, network servers, printers, and other equipment. Utilities that protect and run a datacenter also form part of the hardware IT infrastructure.
Any type of hardware is useless without software or business applications. Users need to have an operating system and software programs installed in their hardware devices to perform any business function and become productive. Accounting software, database software, desktop publishing software, and word processing programs are among a few of the numerous software products a business needs to run smoothly.
Contrary to popular notion, IT software doesn’t cost too much to acquire. You can even choose from any of the free business software available online.
Components of an interconnected network facilitate the operations and management of the network, including the communication taking place within the external and internal systems. The network consists of internet connectivity, network enablement, firewalls, security, and hardware like routers, switches, and cables.
- Human resources
Small businesses—even those located in major metropolitan areas in countries like Australia, for instance—typically don’t have an IT department, only a systems administrator or a person who’s most adept at IT, even if they occupy another position. This person is often tasked to do simple troubleshooting measures in the office. Moreover, complex IT activities are often outsourced to an IT support Sydney-based consultant or third-party firm found in one’s city.
Middle and large-sized businesses typically rely on Managed Service Provider (MSP) or Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) to deliver IT support services such as cybersecurity, risk assessment, security patch management, and regular IT reviews and assessment.
More than safeguarding that you get the most out of your IT system, a comprehensive assessment of your existing IT structure allows you to know which parts need to be improved. Drawing out vital assessment findings will enable you to implement changes that further drive business growth.