How to Set Up an IT Infrastructure for Small Businesses.
An IT infrastructure consists of all the components that contribute to all IT-related or IT-enabled activities, which in today’s business terms means everything. These components include all-composite hardware, software, services, and network resources necessary for the operational procedures of an IT environment that focuses on business.
Building an internal IT infrastructure is crucial for your company’s ability to supply IT solutions and services to your partners, customers, and workers competently, as well as for business expansion and productivity.
However, because networking and computing technologies are so commonplace and frequently go unnoticed, especially in business settings, many people are unsure about what is required and how to set one up. Even deciding on the bare basic set of tools can be challenging; there are many options and little guidance available for everything from communications to device management software to network security and stability to file sharing and collaboration services.
No matter your size, industry, or plan, following the 5 guidelines below can help you establish a long-term, sustainable, and scalable infrastructure. In the end, the setup of your IT infrastructure must be practical to the needs of your organization.
Building IT Infrastructure
Start with the Essentials
With any business IT infrastructure comes a few requirements that should be prioritized above all else.
Your software issues can be anything from the operating system that will power your network to the productivity tools you and your team require for work every day. Consider your company’s requirements when you shop for the hardware and software that will either support or streamline your operations.
Google’s G-Suite gives you the option to create, modify, and share documents online, making it easier to collaborate on team projects but troublesome if the internet goes down. Microsoft Office isn’t the only alternative available.
If you own an online store, this is the ideal moment to compare point-of-sale systems. Analyze your requirements and meet them.
Of course, without your hardware, you won’t have much of an infrastructure to begin with, but having good hardware involves much more than just choosing between Windows and Apple. A respectable server is the first step in setting up an adequate infrastructure.
Working without a server is fine if you have less than three workstations, but if you intend to expand, you’ll need to invest. A practical server that costs no more than a desktop computer can accommodate 25 people or more, but for the majority of small companies, a server-to-user ratio of one to ten is appropriate.
Your business’s primary communication tool is email. If you want to be able to manage your messages and communicate successfully, you must get the correct technology.
Although setting up and managing an email system internally is possible, doing so is only really practical if you have your server. A separate email service provider typically gives new and smaller businesses greater freedom and lowers their management expenses.
Outsourcing IT Infrastructure:
If you are, however, setting up your email system, the amount of time you’re going to spend slaving over management, as well as the minefield that is email security, it may be more beneficial to hire an IT support service.
However, IT support is not just to do your email dirty work for you; they can offer you the support and knowledge your IT infrastructure needs to survive, allowing you to spend less time worrying about how to integrate your CRM software and more time focusing on growing your business. Similarly, outsourcing your IT department ensures you’ve got a dedicated IT team that can assist with server support, data protection and computer security whilst keeping the costs of your core team’s operational costs down.
Tips for Building an IT Infrastructure
Aim for Simplicity
Simplicity is key to a small business’s success; rather than attempting to customize your infrastructure to meet all your client’s needs, it’s best to opt for a standardized approach, especially when it comes to buying products. Choosing standardized products reduces the need for complex and costly training programmer, on boarding and troubleshooting costs, and implementing vendor updates.
The secret to a small business’s success is simplicity; instead of trying to tailor your infrastructure to satisfy every client’s wants, it’s advisable to choose a standardized strategy, especially when it comes to purchasing products. The need for intricate and expensive training programs, on boarding and support expenses, and integrating vendor upgrades are all decreased when standardized goods are used.
Make it Scalable
It’s important that as you set about developing your IT infrastructure, you keep in mind the potential future growth of your business, as well as any existing business plans. Whilst a basic file-sharing service might work well with your current 20 employees, 5 years later, after a couple hundred more employees, that same system is going to struggle under the extra strain, unraveling quickly and taking your business with it.
It’s essential to procure products with administrative scalability growth potential and with the option to add functionalities at a later date. Doing the leg work now will help you avoid future switching costs, such as company-wide retraining, not to mention skipping the headache of lost and irrecoverable data.
Luckily, with the multitude of cloud-based services offered today, it’s easier than ever to scale your costs and functions with your requirements. Cost and labor-effective, cloud-based systems are extremely adaptive and high functioning, and amongst a host of other benefits, extremely scalable across size, distance and industry.
Keep Processes Intuitive
It’s crucial to set up clear guidelines and procedures from the beginning when setting up your IT infrastructure, always choosing long-lasting and verifiable solutions. As a manager or business owner, you must resist the impulse to over-engineer your system, assembling a web of quick fixes to patch up issues and accumulating a ton of implicit knowledge so that the business would continue to run even if you were to leave.
Keeping track of and remembering all of your temporary band-aids may sometimes be stressful, and the procedures can be so complicated that it is impossible to delegate work or take a break.
As previously mentioned, to maintain your company agile, establish structural rules and administrative procedures that all staff members, including yourself, must adhere to while implementing a structural change.
Take Note of Good Vendor Relationships
When looking for software, services, or IT support, consider the early stages of your connections as a sign of future assistance. When you have an issue, they should answer swiftly and effectively. If not, or if you have to wait on the phone for hours to reach the first of four tiers of tech support, odds are they will continue to respond in this manner going forward.
It’s a good idea to establish peer relationships with the support and sales employees while learning more about and reviewing products and services. This will open a direct path for future problem-solving and inquiries.