The term infrastructure has been around since 1875 when the French coined it for planning their railroad system. But the concept of having a fundamental set of facilities, services, and systems in place started long before that as roads, canals, water systems, buildings, small towns and even entire cities started to emerge.
Infra literally translates to “under” or “below”, so when you put the word together, it highlights the fact that a firm foundation is needed to keep the entire system running smoothly. This is true for any type of infrastructure - highways, airports, water/energy utilities, and now more than ever, technology.
Building an IT infrastructure, whether it’s on your own or with the help of managed IT services, is something that every business needs to do in order to be successful. What’s even more important, though, is properly managing that information technology infrastructure.
This guide will give you insight into the importance of IT infrastructure management, some tips on how to do it, and whether or not it’s necessary to hire professional IT infrastructure consultants to help you along the way.
What is IT Infrastructure?
IT infrastructure is everything that relates to technology within your company. It’s all the elements and components, both physical and virtual, that support how you use and manage data and information.
Components of IT infrastructure include everything from tangible hardware and downloadable software to your data storage methods and cybersecurity protocols. On top of that, it includes all the hiring, training, policies, processes, upgrades, and repairs that relate to information technology. In other words, it’s anything and everything that has to do with the technology you use.
The main focus centers on these IT infrastructure components:
- Wireless/Wired Access
- Virtual & Remote Assets
- Data Center & Storage Facilities/Services
What Is IT Infrastructure Management?
IT infrastructure management is keeping all the systems, services, and components of IT infrastructure working as they should. This involves both physical and virtual tasks, like keeping up with hardware maintenance, providing online network support to keep information safe and secure and of course, a strong data backup and recovery solution.
With hardware infrastructure, infrastructure software, networks and all the other IT infrastructure components, there’s a lot that goes into managing all the technology in an organization. Just as you’d expect with a marketing or sales department, when one component is out of whack and not working as it should, it can (and probably will) affect the entire IT system.
That’s why it’s so crucial to properly manage the technology infrastructure, and this is where IT infrastructure management comes into play. All of the tasks that fall under IT infrastructure management are aimed at maintaining productivity and keeping downtime to a minimum when something does go wrong.
A good understanding of “what is infrastructure management” leads to better systems that can drive a competitive advantage.
The Different Types of Infrastructure Management
It makes sense that there are different types of IT infrastructure management since there are some major differences in the IT systems that need to be managed. Think about it… the management of desktops, routers, and other pieces of hardware infrastructure won’t look the same as managing infrastructure software like SharePoint or Slack.
There are 3 general categories for managing IT infrastructure:
- Systems Management
- Network Management
- Storage Management
The specific steps you take to manage your systems, network, and storage are up to you and the network support company you’re using as well as any outside IT infrastructure services you’ve hired.
How Important is IT Infrastructure Management?
Not only is it important, it’s critical. Without it, there’s very little chance that your business will survive, much less thrive. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t just be using technology but also managing it.
There are a lot of benefits that come along with staying on top of your IT infrastructure, but here are a few of the most significant:
- It lets you make smarter IT decisions.
- It lowers the risk of IT-related issues and disasters.
- It keeps company/employee productivity flowing.
- It can reduce costs, even while paying for IT infrastructure management services.
Smarter IT Decisions
It’s hard to make smart decisions - or even make any decisions at all - when you aren’t monitoring and managing what’s going on in your IT department.
Through management, you’ll be better able to make well-thought-through decisions about important IT topics like security protocols and improvements to your data storage system.
Lowered Risk of IT Disaster
Modern-day technology isn’t foolproof. No matter how many precautions you take, things do go wrong. The good news is that it’s easy to minimize the risks of system failures, lost data, or cyber-attacks when you’ve got a strong hold on your IT infrastructure.
IT infrastructure management doesn’t just lower the chances of bad things happening, it also minimizes damage when they do happen. When you experience minor hiccups or even major disasters, you’ll be prepared as long as you’ve properly managed.
Even if a phishing scammer slips through the cracks and breaks into your network, you can prevent any major damage as long as you’ve managed your infrastructure well and added network support services for enhanced security (things like endpoint detection and vulnerability scanning).
When important information is lost or compromised, the workflow can come to a screeching halt in a matter of seconds. With infrastructure management, you’ll be able to devise a plan for storing and backing up company information so that you can restore it if disaster strikes.
Reduced IT Costs
Unexpected tech issues can put a major dent in your IT budget. In worst-case scenarios, they can cause irreversible damage, and not just to the budget, but to the entire business.
Should You Outsource Your Infrastructure Management?
Now that you know all about IT infrastructure and the importance of managing it, it’s time to go over the how aspect of it all. It’s actually very simple… Just let the pros handle it.
IT infrastructure companies and managed service providers understand all the moving parts involved with the infrastructure of your company’s technology needs, which means that they’re the ones who can best monitor and manage it.
Try not to let the cost of hiring an outside IT source scare you away.
When you look at the benefits vs costs of outsourcing IT, you’ll see that hiring the right MSP to manage your infrastructure can actually end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.
Even if you have an efficient internal IT department, the easiest way to strengthen its foundation, minimize IT disasters, and keep productivity flowing is with the help of a managed service provider like Ntiva.
Outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hand over the reins and give up all control of your IT infrastructure. One of the best ways to manage your IT needs is through co-managed IT, which partners your internal IT department with an outside company that specializes in IT infrastructure services.
You also have the option to outsource all of your needs, which is what a lot of small businesses that don’t have a legit IT department choose to do. Whether you’re looking for a co-managed infrastructure management solution or you prefer to let outsourced IT professionals handle it, Ntiva can help you to build your infrastructure, and better yet, we can help you to manage it.