IT Infrastructure Management: Benefits, Challenges and Best Practices

IT Systems Management, ITSM
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What is meant by IT infrastructure?

IT infrastructure may be defined as a combination of software, hardware, network services and resources that are required to operate and manage the IT environment of an enterprise.  It is usually an internal aspect of an organization and enables it to deliver IT services and solutions to its customers, partners and employees in a smooth, hassle-free manner.

What are the 3 primary components of IT infrastructure?

The three primary components of IT infrastructure are as follows:

Hardware

Hardware comprises the physical components of an IT infrastructure such as personal computers, data centers, switches, servers, routers and all the other equipment required to support the functioning of devices and machines within the IT infrastructure. Facilities that are used to house, power and cool a data center may also be considered a part of the IT infrastructure.

Software

Software refers to all applications used by a business for both delivering services to customers and internal functioning. It includes web servers, the operating system (OS), content management systems, enterprise resource planning, productivity applications and more. The OS is the most critical piece of software that manages the hardware and connects the physical resources to the network ecosystem.

Network

Interconnected network components are imperative for establishing external and internal communication among all the devices and elements of an IT infrastructure. In other words, the network comprises all software and hardware elements required to enable security, internet connectivity, network enablement and firewall. It significantly reduces the risk of data theft by ensuring that the authorized personnel gets access to transferred and stored data only from strictly controlled pre-defined access points.

What are the 7 domains of IT infrastructure?

Let’s take a look at the seven domains of IT infrastructure below:

User domain

As the name suggests, the user domain includes all the end users (both inside and outside the organization) that have access to information in the organization.

Workstation domain

The workstation domain comprises all devices, including computers, that are being used by the end users. It represents the way in which end users interact with the IT infrastructure.

LAN domain

The LAN domain comprises all the elements that build the local area network such as routers, hubs, workstations, Wi-Fi, switches and access points.

WAN domain

WAN or Wide Area Network is the system that links all devices across long distances. It comprises both semi-private lines and the internet.

LAN-to-WAN domain

The LAN-to-WAN domain denotes the boundary line where the LAN connects with the WAN (internet). The LAN and WAN zones are separated by a firewall.

Remote access domain

In a remote access domain, a mobile user, such as a contractor, vendor or employee, works remotely (instead of within the office) and accesses the corporate local area network remotely with the help of a VPN.

System/application domain

The system/application domain represents the applications and technologies that are used to conduct business. It comprises of user-accessed servers such as database and email.

What is IT infrastructure management?

IT Infrastructure management refers to the management of the operational and technical components of the IT infrastructure, such as data, software, hardware, processes, policies, equipment and facilities, used to promote business effectiveness. Given its complexity, IT infrastructure management is further categorized as storage management, network management and systems management.

What is the role of IT infrastructure management?

By aligning IT infrastructure management with business strategy, you can leverage technology to create value for the entire organization. Instead of managing each line of business separately, you can converge the management of all the different IT facilities, storage, applications, servers, security systems and networks.

The purpose of IT infrastructure management is to bring control and structure to the processes and functions that are responsible for various technical operations in both physical as well as virtual environments. In addition, it also helps reduce duplication of effort, enhance information flow, ensure compliance with industry regulations, cut down overall IT costs, boost business productivity and minimize downtime.

What are the benefits of managing IT Infrastructure?

IT infrastructure management offers a slew of benefits for businesses:

Enhanced performance

IT management involves monitoring of systems and networks that lead to higher performance and lower chances of errors and outages. It allows for early detection and remediation of system vulnerabilities and eliminates technology limitations, thus minimizing downtime.

Increased productivity

By investing in technologies to optimize your IT infrastructure, you can ensure productivity gains for your business. IT management helps automate and streamline routine and critical processes and frees up time for technicians to focus on more strategic activities.

Flexibility and agility

Efficient IT management solutions enable you to get a holistic view of your computing environment, including cloud and virtualized infrastructure, and to practice business agility.

Improved employee and customer experience

With the right IT management tools, you can always be aware of the state of your IT environment and create a better, more meaningful experience for your employees and customers. You can deflect any unexpected downtime and even prepare your end users in advance for any planned downtime for maintenance purposes.

Cost savings

Managing your IT infrastructure allows you to predict and deal with any disasters before they aggravate. With this proactive approach, you can significantly reduce downtime, minimize disasters and save a ton of money by avoiding any unforeseen expenses.

What are the challenges of managing IT infrastructure?

While IT management is crucial for all businesses, there are a host of challenges that IT professionals face in order to efficiently optimize their IT infrastructure. Let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges of managing IT infrastructure:

Outdated systems and technology

Given the fast-paced evolution of technology, systems go obsolete very fast. As such, it is imperative to keep your systems updated with the latest technology developments in the industry. Upgrading your hardware and software frequently will help you boost productivity, enhance efficiency and gain a competitive edge over your peers.

Faulty networks and connectivity

Other major challenges with IT management are faulty networks and poor connectivity issues. In the digital age, it is imperative to continuously monitor network performance and focus on improving connectivity. This will help keep your infrastructure management relevant for the modern age where clients are more demanding than ever and you need to be on top of your services to compete with your peers.

Data acquisition, storage and management issues

In this digital age, both the collection and acquisition of data has become simpler, leading to an explosion of data volumes. As such, managing this sheer volume of data has become a major challenge for businesses. Data loss due to insufficient storage capabilities, clubbed with ineffective data management, turns out to be extremely costly for companies. It is therefore important to design a strategy that incorporates the need for more data storage space and better management of data.

Scalability limitations

A major concern for businesses aiming for effective IT management is scalability. While businesses typically require IT expansion, overconsumption can lead to a lot of wastage in case usage drops. You need to integrate with scaleable infrastructure monitoring software to ensure that your system is prepared to adapt and respond to your evolving needs.

What are IT infrastructure management best practices?

A well-functioning and efficient IT infrastructure is one of the core elements of building a successful digital-age business. Here’s a list of best practices for optimizing IT infrastructure management:

Gather knowledge and evaluate infrastructure

The first step towards effective IT infrastructure management is gathering as much information as you can about the process and how to make it work for your business. Exposing yourself to relevant information can be a great way of learning from experience and applying your knowledge to determine what your business needs and what it doesn’t.

Establish clear standards and goals

Based on the knowledge gathered in the first step, you can establish and create management and operational standards. You need to customize and personalize configurations and standards (such as security standards) to your business’ unique needs. In addition to creating these standards, it is imperative to ensure their consistent implementation as well.

Monitor consistently and often

Consistent monitoring of your management and operational standards is an effective way to ensure that they are working for your business. This enables you to proactively react to and resolve system and network issues as they arise and prevent any unplanned outages.

Document and communicate thoroughly

While most businesses overlook the documentation of IT infrastructure management configurations and standards, it is as critical a step as any of the other best practices. You must maintain in-depth documentation of the IT infrastructure management processes to ensure that even new IT professionals can onboard and get up to speed with the process quickly and efficiently.

Unified IT infrastructure management with Kaseya

Kaseya brings to you a powerful, integrated, unified IT management platform that combines the capabilities of endpoint and network management, help desk/service management, security, and backup and disaster recovery. With Kaseya’s next-gen solutions, you can view, monitor and manage your entire IT infrastructure from a single pane of glass.

Want to know more about IT infrastructure management with Kaseya? Get in touch with our IT experts today!

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