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7 Tips for IT Best Practices

The amount of planning and organization that goes into creating a sustainable environment for your business’s technology cannot be overstated. Creating an effective IT infrastructure environment is not only tricky work, but it also requires deep technical and administrative know-how. Moreover, sound IT infrastructure management is not a “set it and forget it” arrangement — it needs ongoing maintenance and continued development.

This article will share our seven most important recommendations for proactively managing the information technology infrastructure at your business. With a thoughtful implementation strategy, you can address your current needs while also preparing for the future.

What is IT Infrastructure Management?

As the phrase suggests, it’s the administration and governance over every possible element of the technology a business uses for its operations. It entails ensuring that everything works together seamlessly, and if it doesn’t, it addresses the problems with critical policies and procedures.

There are three primary divisions of labor, and most people select one field of expertise:

  • Systems – integration and operations
  • Network – security and applications
  • Storage – data, automation, virtualization

Following that, IT managers care for six core elements of a company’s technology stack:

  • Hardware – physical equipment
  • Software – programs and applications
  • Data – your information and where it’s stored
  • Access – wired and wireless capabilities
  • Systems – the processes and protocols used for administration
  • Network – the organization of the above five areas

This is beyond basic IT support (though that work is essential). Managing the information technology infrastructure for your company requires holistic systems-level thinking that pays attention to both the forest and the trees, figuratively speaking, and your entire business depends on it.

1. Have Concrete Architecture

It’s called “architecture” for a reason. Like a building, your IT needs clear structure, including directions, planning, and execution, to ensure it doesn’t come crashing down. To develop quality IT architecture, both technology and business leaders at a company should convene to make crucial decisions, such as:

  • Hardware installation and maintenance
  • Software integration and processes
  • Application integration and processes
  • Disaster recovery protocols
  • Whether to build a team onsite or outsource

If you’re already up and running without workable architecture, you’ve probably run into problems with security, stability, and more. You should remedy this promptly by hiring an experienced IT outsourcing consultant.

2. Put It On the Cloud

You can trust cloud computing. Yes, there have been high-profile breaches, but those occur when the right security protocols aren’t in place. We recommend that you invest in high-quality cloud storage that will keep your employee and customer data safe while also providing secure access.

From there, you develop transparent processes about when, how, and where your employees can upload information to the cloud, complete with a schedule for backups and optimization.

3. Create a Customer Service Ticketing System

Clear communication between your employees and IT staff is essential, whether you are outsourcing or keeping IT internal. There must be a transparent system where people can report problems, the work can be assigned to the correct IT expert, and the resolution will be shared when the issue is corrected.

Without it, your people are in the dark regarding their technology concerns, and your technology team will be either overworked or under-utilized.

4. Watch Your Backup Systems

Fun fact! Not only should you have dedicated backup systems, but you should use them on a regularly scheduled basis. Think back to our earlier discussion about processes and architecture. You must back up your data consistently and run reports on that data.

Locating inconsistencies in those backups is the first line of defense against both data corruption and security breaches. If you aren’t using your backup systems to your advantage, then you’re wasting the money you’ve invested into those services.

5. Choose the Right Software, Not the Best

You want to give your people the most incredible, cutting-edge collection of tools to succeed in their jobs. The problem is that those programs and applications might not get along with each other.

Before you purchase any new software or application, your IT department should investigate whether the program can easily integrate with your current systems, hardware, and services.

  • If it doesn’t, that software runs the risk of causing more problems than it’s worth for your people and IT management.
  • If it does, you’re in the clear as long as the installation runs smoothly.

The right software for your needs isn’t always the “best” one on the market. That new-school enterprise software might not be a smooth match for your legacy systems or the trusted software that’s brought you success for many years. Find the software that helps meet your goals, even if it’s not the fanciest option on the block.

6. Invest in Onsite Data Storage

Did you sign up for a safe and secure cloud computing solution earlier? Excellent! It’s good to have virtual solutions on hand so your people can work remotely as needed. However, we also believe in the stability and durability of onsite storage services. Taking care of your data with physical servers is crucial for companies who crunch lots of data regularly since many cloud services can’t keep up with the bandwidth needed for Big Data projects.

Also, onsite data storage serves as yet another helpful backup system. You can never have too many protections for your private data.

7. Plan for the Future

You could accomplish all of the tips we’ve discussed above, but if your IT infrastructure isn’t future-proof, then you will continue to struggle. In industry terms, this is called “scalability” — ensuring your current systems can expand with ease, instead of IT weaknesses slowing your growth.

Luckily, that robust architecture we created in tip #1 is the best place to begin your planning. You need to build your IT blueprints for next-level technology such as:

  • Big Data
  • Automation
  • Machine Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Custom Algorithms

Will every business use such innovations? Not necessarily, but being prepared for change is better than floundering when it’s imposed upon you without warning. You must have clear organizational ideas for how your IT infrastructure management will adapt to new challenges if you want to succeed now and in the future.

Managing Your IT Infrastructure Requires Forward-Thinking Expertise

Successful IT managers must have a bit of “futurist” about them. They must keep one eye on preparing for technological developments a few years down the road while taking care of the company’s IT needs in the present. So if you’re a small or mid-sized company poised for growth but without the capital to invest in a full-blown IT department, then you need to look elsewhere for practical IT help.

  • The EAG Inc. IT team truly is a one-stop shop for all IT needs in the oil and gas industry – our goal is to optimize IT for our clients, and we continue to refine our skills and expand our knowledge base to enable their long-term success. Contact us to learn more.