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4 Tips for Ensuring a Stable and Secure IT Infrastructure

by Samantha Kalany

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In an increasingly digital world, businesses and organizations count on their IT infrastructure to operate – and they’re rarely prepared for the outfall when it’s down. Several years ago, AppDynamics commissioned an IDC study that found the average cost of downtime for a Fortune 100 company is about $100,000 per hour or $1,667 per minute. Around that same time, Carbonite commissioned a study that found downtime costs small businesses up to $25,620 per hour or $427 per minute. Those numbers reflect wages, overhead costs, lost sales, repairs, and waste when IT infrastructure failure brings business to a grinding halt. Furthermore, calculations today, in a time of inflation and rising wages, will show higher losses.

Fortunately, downtime doesn’t have to be just a cost of doing business. These four measures can increase IT uptime, support business continuity, and minimize losses.

IT Infrastructure

The first step to building a secure, reliable internal IT infrastructure is to inventory all IT assets and services and understand how they’re connected. With the rapid migration to the cloud over the past few years, increased adoption of virtualized services, and upgrades to advanced systems, companies likely need to upgrade IT mapping to develop a clear picture of how one failure could impact other infrastructure elements.

IT mapping should include:

  • Data centers and remote locations

  • Applications and websites

  • Databases

  • Hardware including network appliances, devices, and firewalls

  • Virtualized servers and virtualized desktop infrastructure

  • Clouds and cloud services, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS)

  • Network services

  • VoIP

  • File sharing protocols

This exercise can also help identify unnecessary or outdated systems or devices, which may waste resources and create security vulnerabilities. It’s also essential to determine which components and systems are mission-critical and ensure measures are in place to keep them secure and operational.

IT Infrastructure

The next step is implementing solutions that provide deep visibility into infrastructure performance, particularly in complex IT environments. To automate monitoring for continuous visibility, establish target performance levels, and set alert thresholds for each system, service, and application. If a monitoring solution detects that performance falls outside those guidelines, it will alert IT that service or maintenance is required. In many cases, those alerts and interventions occur before end users notice an issue or even detect a negative impact on performance.

Additionally, solutions using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enhance IT infrastructure monitoring. An intelligent system will not only detect when performance falls outside of acceptable levels. It can also analyze data to pinpoint the cause, saving time by helping technicians immediately address the problem. Furthermore, AI and ML monitoring solutions continue to learn to detect issues more quickly and accurately – and, in some instances, the solution can respond and fix the problem automatically.

IT Infrastructure

Security is another factor in creating a stable IT infrastructure. With many cybersecurity threats, including zero-day exploits, IT systems need more than firewalls and antimalware solutions. Advanced threat detection monitors infrastructure to detect, isolate, and mitigate attacks that bypass other security solutions. They leverage behavioral analysis and sandboxing to isolate suspicious files and intelligent technologies to determine if code is malicious based on its behavior. These methods are more effective than signature matching, which only identifies known threats. Identifying and isolating malware protects infrastructure from corruption and damage and minimizes downtime for repairs and restoration.

But remember, stable, secure IT infrastructure also entails paying attention to the basics, such as updating firmware, applying security patches, and training users on cybersecurity best practices. Then, create and execute a comprehensive security strategy tailored to the IT environment to ensure infrastructure is protected and operational.

IT Infrastructure

Even with proactive monitoring and maintenance and advanced cybersecurity, elements of IT infrastructure can still fail. Creating redundancy in an IT environment ensures that systems, applications, and data are always available. There are various ways to develop redundancy:

  • Virtual servers to back up physical servers

  • Network load balancing that distributes traffic across different servers when necessary

  • Backup and replication copies are stored on different media, both on-site and off-site

  • A second network service provider for internet and communications if the primary source is disrupted

  • Automatic failover

Also, remember to ensure battery backup and generators are operational to keep systems running if there’s a power outage.

Build Internal IT Infrastructure You and Your Clients Can Count On

Gaining visibility into an IT environment and using tools that provide insights and control result in more uptime, reliability, and productivity for end-users. It also represents opportunities for solutions providers. Mapping IT, choosing the best monitoring and security solutions, and building a system that includes redundancy for business continuity may be beyond the capabilities of many businesses’ internal IT resources. Your expertise, skill, and network can help you select, develop/source, and implement solutions that create a stable, secure IT infrastructure for your clients. It can also help build stickier relationships with customers who depend on you to keep their infrastructure and businesses operational.

Invest time and resources into ensuring secure, stable, internal IT infrastructure to see ROI from systems – and businesses – that work.

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