Understanding IT infrastructure and what makes for a safe and efficient IT environment is the first step toward understanding what your business needs to keep running smoothly and safely. IT infrastructure is similar to city infrastructure, with its roads, highways, water and sewer systems, hydro lines and substations, transit, etc. all needing to be in the right places and in good condition to ensure efficient operations. IT infrastructure can also be thought of as puzzle pieces that together make up the big picture of all your business’s technology.
Whether your business is a small shop or a large enterprise, an effective IT foundation is essential from the very beginning for business development, stable operations and growth. Introducing needed IT components in a piecemeal fashion will likely pose compatibility problems along the way and create unnecessary expenses in the long run.
The elements of IT infrastructure include servers, workstations, switches, routers, ports, firewalls, backup, cloud services, networks, software and telecommunications systems.
The first component is servers, which are essentially large computers that work as a central hub for resources that clients and others can access to retrieve data. Common types are file servers, directory servers, web servers, print servers, media servers and application servers. The right type of server for the job depends on what its purpose is.
The server or data centre is the physical location typically considered the centre of your network. It is the air-cooled and secured area where your servers are located. Only people with authorization will have access to the server room.
Hubs are utilized to connect PCs on a network. Every PC connects to the hub, and data sent between machines travels through a hub. The hub is unable to recognize the source or goal of the data it gets, so it sends the data to all the PCs associated with it, including the one that sent it. Hubs can send or receive data, but they can’t do both simultaneously.
Switches work like hubs, but they can recognize the goal of the data they get, so they send that data to just the PCs that it is intended for. Switches can send and receive data simultaneously and faster than hubs, so they are most effective in situations where there are a number of workstations and considerable data traffic between the workstations.
Routers, which can be wired or remote, are gadgets that empower PCs and other components to pass data between two systems, such as between your home computer and the internet. Routers coordinate system movement and are commonly used in security, for example, to build a firewall.
Access points give remote access to a wired Ethernet arrange. A passageway connects a hub, switch, or wired router and conveys remote signals. This empowers PCs and other components to connect with a wired system remotely. When using public WiFi, you are typically connecting through an access point. Some routers are equipped with a wireless access point capability, in which case a wireless access point is not needed.
A firewall can be seen as a gatekeeper that sits at the edge of your network. With a specific set of rules, it knows what to let in and block out of your network. While a firewall should not be your only security measure, it is an essential part of your security plan.
Antivirus/anti-malware software is a computer program used to prevent, detect and remove malware or viruses. This software is another key ingredient in a cyber security strategy.
Backup refers to the copying of physical or virtual files or databases to a secondary site for preservation in case of equipment failure or other catastrophe. The process of backing up data is pivotal to a successful disaster recovery plan.
Clients/workstations are anything that can access a network, such as desktop computers, laptops, printers, mobile devices or phones.
Network devices help with connecting the various aspects of your infrastructure, including such things as firewalls, access points, switches, routers and repeaters.
Cloud Services are now more and more part of the infrastructure conversation as businesses need to evaluate how much of their data and system will be physically on premises or remotely in the cloud. Both options have their advantages and as time and acceptance of new technologies continues to rise, so does cloud use making a lot of business opt into a hybrid solution where both on and off premises are part of their operations.
MBC will perform an assessment to see what you are currently working with and what can be improved or optimized to save money in the long term. If infrastructure is built with a strong foundation, with modular aspects that can be introduced as growth takes place, your business’s technological support system will be solid, stable and adjustable.
Want to learn more about how MBC can help you build and manage your IT Infrastructure, check out out Infrastructure Services.
If you are not sure how your infrastructure will stand up, take advantage of MBC’s free IT assessment.