architecting a network

How to design your IT infrastructure around your goals

IT services are a critical part of any organizational structure in the digital age.

In fact, your IT infrastructure has to seamlessly integrate with your company’s processes if you’re serious about fostering optimal growth, productivity and performance. From automated workflows and network security to routine daily tasks, you need a strategically designed IT infrastructure to ensure you’re really tapping into the return on your technology investments.

Your best bet is to partner with an experienced IT support company who can provide optimal support with real-time solutions. Whether you handle your tech support on your own or work with a support partner, here are some of the questions you should be asking.

How does my IT infrastructure improve overall productivity?

Far too many SMB owners feel weighed down by their technology solutions. Think about that. Your tech solutions should empower you to do more in less time with fewer resources. If you don’t see clear advantages for your business as a result of your IT solutions, something’s wrong.

Getting the maximum ROI from your IT network starts with predictability. You need to know that your basic business needs are being met, and you need the assurance that your network is stable, secure and reliable.

Said another way, IT should never come with surprises.

If you’re looking for that kind of performance from your IT infrastructure—who isn’t?—here are some essential factors. Proven results are absolutely possible, and you don’t have to break the bank to get them. This is how you increase your productivity.

  • Take a proactive, strategic approach to IT support
  • Hold monthly and quarterly IT reviews to keep you and the rest of your leadership team aware of all progress, network changes and potential issues
  • Tap into the power of automation whenever possible
  • Invite feedback from your employees, even if it includes criticism of core tools
  • Be open to making changes when there’s a clear advantage
  • Document every aspect of your network setup

How will my IT infrastructure protect my business and my clients?

Your IT services should be designed around cybersecurity.

Even if your company is small, you’re still at risk. Ransomware, phishing attacks and other forms of malware are constant concerns. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it won’t happen to you. The impact of just one successful cyberattack is catastrophic.

You need multiple layers of protection for your network. This includes in-house servers and any off-site servers. With continuous monitoring and immediate alerts, IT network security services should help you keep an eye on your business at all times.

Your network security should give you the peace of mind and ease your stress. Be sure you take the following into account.

  • 24/7 monitoring of in-house computer systems, servers and Wi-Fi access points
  • Periodic comprehensive risk assessments that effectively pinpoint and identify weak spots and vulnerabilities in your current security
  • Optimal end-user level protection, including workstations, employee training, and access to vital business documentation and correspondence
  • Network-level protection, including secure data transfers
  • A well-thought-out BYOD (“bring your own device”) policy for remote employees, contractors and guests

How does the right IT infrastructure meet my small business goals?

Cost-effective IT services are designed to do more than just keep your small business operational. The real benefit of your IT infrastructure should be far more profound. The tech solutions you use should make your business better.

Good IT infrastructure allows for automated workflow, allowing improved productivity and prompting strong business growth.

What we’re talking about here is a critical philosophical shift. IT solutions aren’t a necessary evil. They’re powerful tools that have the potential to give your organization a competitive advantage if you take the time to set them up properly.

Here are a few strategic considerations.

  • Know your business goals—for the next quarter, year and 5-year period
  • Know why you use the technology tools you use
  • Be able to connect every single tech solution your company uses to a specific business goal
  • Make sure both IT support (in-house or outsourced) and your employees know how the tech solutions you use are connected to your organizational goals

What is the process of setting up and implementing my IT infrastructure?

That depends a great deal on what you need from your IT infrastructure.

If your organization requires flexibility, scalability and remote access, you may want a solution stack that’s primarily cloud-based. If you’re more concerned with top-notch security, you may want to keep everything on-site. There are programs and apps out there for everything from business messaging to customer relations. And if you work in a regulated industry, compliance (HIPAA or NIST 800-171) will be an additional concern.

The first step is determining your goals. Then you’ll need to assess your current IT infrastructure and build a roadmap from where you are to where you want to be. If you have in-house IT staff, this should be a top priority for them. If not, we suggest working with a managed IT services provider.

Here are some of the critical steps in strategic infrastructure design.

  • Gather all the data and documentation available for your current network setup, including workflows and processes
  • Analyze data gathered to assess your current set of tools and formulate a strategic IT plan
  • Design a new plan which may or may not include your current solutions
  • Work with your IT support to implement and deploy improved solutions based on your new plan
  • Train your team on all new protocols and tools
  • Continue the process of periodic assessments, updating tools as needs change or better options become available