Business owners with little or no technical background should ‘always’ rely on a professional IT infrastructure manager appointed by third party IT infrastructure services who offer on-site or remote support round the clock. It’s tempting to consider taking up such tasks as DIY (do-it-yourself) projects in order to save costs. Many small business owners ask their technically competent friends or old colleagues for IT infrastructure related advice. But, the complete cycle from purchase and configuration to routine maintenance and safety requires dedicated support from a service provider. You sure don’t want to keep waiting for a friend to come by when your systems go down.
Learn the not-so-technical fundamentals about IT infrastructure services, setup and components to understand why it’s absolutely necessary to allocate a small budget for professional IT support for smooth business operations in digital age.
IT Infrastructure Definition
IT Infrastructure is defined as the sum total of all free or licensed system software, third party services and owned or leased out equipments that are used in common throughout the company irrespective of the nature of business or operations involved.
IT Infrastructure Components
Making informed decisions is easier if you’ve the right information. Listed below are major components that form the core of a small or mid-size company’s IT infrastructure. The exact breakdown for a company depends upon its size, nature of business, online presence etc.
The IT infrastructure hardware includes computer systems (laptops or desktop computers), LAN switches, hubs, repeaters, routers & servers. The hardware can be purchased according to the available budget and system performance required. It’s advisable to always consult a technical competent person even if you’re just purchasing few desktops for your office. For servers, routers etc., you can rely on the IT support company on whom you’ll entrust the responsibility of server or network management.
Main services in a typical IT infrastructure include
- Administrating all work stations.
- Installing operating systems and running virus scans on all systems.
- Setting up basic software on various computer systems and explaining the usage to company employees.
- Configuring and scheduling backups on one or all systems at a local or remote location.
- Retrieving data in the event of data loss.
- Remote infrastructure management.
- Configuring networks, file and resource (printers, faxes etc.) sharing etc.
Many organizations (especially those with over a dozen employees or hundreds of users such as a school, restaurant or club) use ERP systems. Such software can be purchased at a one-time price or licensed by paying an annual fee depending upon software company’s policies. Not all companies that sell such software offer on-site or remote support to their customers. Unless you have hired a computer science engineer, you’ll have to rely on an IT support company in that case.
You can have new software designed and developed from scratch or customized to suit your unique needs. Most small and midscale companies do not have standardized operations and therefore, they often need customized software.
Software and application usage licenses once purchased require routine maintenance and customization. It can be done either by an in-house employee or a third party service provider who offers IT infrastructure setup and maintenance service locally or remotely.