Now, businesses are in demand of powerful, scalable IT infrastructure that can support AI platforms and Big Data software. There are many options here ranging from in-house Relational Database Management System (RDMS) to cloud computing and colocated data warehouses, but nailing down your exact requirements can be tricky.
Other IT infrastructure considerations include the rising profile of work-from-home (WFH) setups, with a Gartner CFO study suggesting that 74% of businesses plan on keeping WFH setups in-tact post-COVID. This has created a demand for collaborative work platforms and remote management software to keep staff networked together efficiently when working from home.
Here are some IT infrastructure considerations for future-proof businesses:
1. Work from home and data security (WFH)
WFH has shifted the goal posts when it comes to data security.
PCs and software platforms need to be secure, and new protocols may have to be developed to keep data safe in home environments. A recent Deloitte report highlighted how cybercriminals have already exploited insecure home WiFi networks to steal sensitive data.
For WFH business employees that regularly handle critical personal or financial data, proper training and audits of home network security are vital to prevent data theft.
2. Secure the foundations
IT infrastructure begins with the basics - hardware and software.
Choosing systems and technology can be very tricky as there’s often a sweet spot between selecting cost-effective or future-proof systems.
You don’t want to fork out for high-performance systems when most of your work will be performed in web browsers, for example, but then what if you want to create a video marketing campaign or hire an in-house data analyst?
You can’t always expect people to own equipment that can be used on-demand for work. Outsourcing is a valid solution here.
3. Relationships with outsourcers
Outsourcing is steadily rising as businesses aim to scale their IT infrastructure whilst keeping costs down. According to a report by Deloitte, 59% of surveyed businesses use outsourcing to keep costs down and 78% of them are satisfied with their outsourcing relationships.
In the same survey, 72% of businesses outsourced IT services, which is clear of legal outsourcing in the second spot at 63%. Outsourcing allows businesses to access state-of-the-art facilities, professionals and software platforms at a fraction of the cost of the in-house equivalent.
Discovering prime opportunities for outsourcing can save your business money whilst helping it scale to capacity. Everything from accounting and payroll to data analytics and storage can be outsourced.
4. Data storage
Data was the business buzzword of the past decade. Businesses are now generally aware they need to become more data-driven.
Whether you collect data from Salesforce, Google Analytics, in-house IT systems, spreadsheets, social media, sales platforms like Amazon, Etsy or eBay or virtually any other software platform, that data needs to be stored securely.
Businesses may need to store vast amounts of sensitive customer and financial data - also known as critical data.
This applies outside of the commercial sphere too - NGOs and other non-profit organizations or industries across education, science and healthcare also need to store vast quantities of critical data.
5. Cloud vs physical
Cloud storage has many advantages over traditional in-house databases. Cloud storage works across borders, doesn’t require local power and benefits from top-grade security.
But there are limitations to cloud storage and for businesses that need to store vast volumes of hyper-critical data, data warehouses may be the better alternative.
Data compliance regulations have also put some businesses off the cloud. On-grid physical storage provides greater control over data storage and access where compliance and safety is paramount.
Sustainable energy initiatives have heightened the appeal of colocated data warehouses, particularly in Nordic countries, where providers operate their state-of-the-art green energy data warehouses. As DigiPlex say:
Physical data infrastructure can work in tandem with cloud solutions also. Ultra-low latency networking can link ultra-secure, static data warehousing with cloud platforms on AWS or Microsoft Azure.
This proves the best of both worlds - ultra-secure data stored offline that can be accessed online.
Businesses should think forward to their future needs, remaining proactive about the IT solutions they may add to their roster. Since IT technology moves so fast, it can be hard to plan forward, but today’s cutting-edge solutions will remain future-proof for the foreseeable.
Outsourcing and colocation are two of the key trends for business IT this decade. Colocation puts the power of state-of-the-art IT infrastructure into the hands of businesses that are discontent with the security, scalability and legal or compliance aspects of cloud-based storage.