IT infrastructure can be complicated and there's no getting away from it. With software, hardware, networks, and data centers all coming under the term, there can be many challenges in infrastructure management.
The fact that so many different disciplines are involved in a single infrastructure means that a wide variety of skills are needed to resolve potential problems that could arise. Being aware of what these obstacles may be will allow your organization to be prepared to deal with these issues before they escalate to company-wide problems.
Here are six of the most common infrastructure challenges and how you can overcome them:
1. Making IT objectives business priorities
As with many areas of the company, it can be difficult for IT to make its objectives priorities for the wider business. Whether you need additional investment or are fighting against certain aspects of your department being outsourced, one of the biggest - and oldest - issues is trying to prove your worth to decision makers.
This can lead to friction between departments and a situation where resources are being sent in the wrong direction. Although it may be difficult to actually convince your company your objectives should be a priority, preparing for this challenge is relatively simple.
Most decision makers care about numbers and how their support will boost profits for the company. Whether this is through actually generating more income for the company through expansion, reducing inefficiencies, or simplifying processes, detailing the cost benefits of your priorities will be very beneficial to your case.
You can do this by listing the goals for your department as a whole and how you have been able to achieve them. If you have been unable to realize all your targets, you need to be clear about why this is and suggest an approach that would allow you to do this next quarter.
2. Pricing vs. the Environment
Another one of the most common infrastructure challenges for modern IT managers is to bring down the costs of running the facility. However, this often goes hand-in-hand with ensuring your operations are as eco-friendly as possible. With more restrictions and even fines being placed on companies that fail to reduce their carbon footprint, balancing low costs with staying eco-friendly is a pressing concern.
You don't need to decide on the best course of action for these, as it's unlikely that there will be an answer that doesn't compromise one or the other, but offering solutions is key. Pricing structure is often unique to each company, but there is common ground, such as phasing out applications that get minimal use or that have cheaper alternatives, re-assessing other management costs and looking at other spending to help reduce costs.
Often making your facility more eco-friendly requires a significant upfront investment but this can be more cost-effective in the long run. This should also be analyzed as an option, as well as cloud storage architecture for your organization in the future.
3. Service Level Agreements and what to do internally
Reliability is a key challenge in IT management, and has been almost since the start of technology as we know it. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are used when part of the facility is outsourced, but even if you keep everything in-house it's wise to have an equivalent to ensure a high standard of IT service.
A key part of this is identifying what success looks like for your infrastructure. How do you measure a good month compared to a bad one? Keeping reports of any unwanted downtime and degradation in performance can act in your favor when it comes to asking for more budget or investment in your facility.
This is directly linked to customer satisfaction (CSAT) as any disruption to service, which is the result of infrastructure, can lead to unhappy clients that will look to take their business elsewhere. Ensure your organization is doing regular surveys to understand customers and their pain points when it comes to their IT requirements.
4. The lack of of powerful computing platforms
A lack of cloud computing infrastructure could easily be holding your organization back, as it’s at the heart of custom software development. The powerful platforms are necessary to overcome challenges including data storage and how to manage computing operations.
Without cloud computing platforms in place, you’ll struggle to move forward in your IT capabilities, so it’s worth investing in the technology now. This should ensure sufficient capacity and energy to accommodate both state-of-the-art software and hardware.
5. The increase in cyberattacks and security breaches
With increased IT infrastructure comes more potential for cyberattacks and security breaches, but such risks shouldn’t hold your organization back. A survey by the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that 80% of chief information security officers (CISOs) failed to identify when excessive access to confidential data occurred within their cloud environments.
This is an area that should be closely monitored, with only those authorized to view such data able to do so. Putting checks and balances in place should mean you never don’t know who can access such material.
Security breaches aren’t just a problem from within and an important part of IT infrastructure management is creating protocols to combat external threats. With technology being increasingly relied upon in any organization, cyberattacks have the potential to have more wide-reaching effects.
6. Managing vast amounts of data
Data is an incredibly valuable asset to all businesses and as it has become easier to collect, issues of storing and managing it have become more pressing. After all, failure to deal with it efficiently could end up being costly.
Insufficient data storage and inefficient data management can become a real problem for your entire system. Large quantities of data when not handled correctly can cause computer systems to become slow and negatively impact performance.
This can be overcome with the right technology and high-performance systems, but they also require efficient, real-time monitoring.
Businesses can live and die by their ability to adapt to changing customer IT infrastructure demands, so make sure you keep analyzing yours and how it could be improved.
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