Business IT needs are always changing. However, one constant that remains is the need for each company to maintain and secure some form of network infrastructure.
It is true that cloud computing’s rise in popularity seems to always be increasing (hint: it is), but many businesses continue to rely on a network infrastructure that is centered on on-premise equipment.
In fact, businesses are investing in infrastructure located on-site due to workforce demands and new business opportunities, according to Network Computing. This is why your business must understand its own infrastructure capability needs, including equipment and security.
Your business is not alone if it is one of the many that still retain some form of network infrastructure and equipment on-site. Network Computing released a survey in 2018 that indicated 45% of businesses reported that they expect to spend 5% or more on IT infrastructure needs in the next 12 months.
That’s because there are certain advantages to on-premise network equipment, including security benefits and more local control over updates and planned downtime.
Network Computing also reported that businesses looking to invest further in their infrastructure intended to do so because of growth in storage needs, easier system management - and even better cloud integration.
Network infrastructure is comprised of both the hardware and software that makes up the network. According to Techopedia, this infrastructure allows for connectivity, communication, operations and management of the network. Put simply, it is how every device, service and user that is connected to the network can communicate with each other. This communication can be internal and external.
A business that utilizes a network infrastructure that has been designed and secured properly can count on smoother day-to-day operations, better productivity better experiences for both employees and customers, and a more secure environment in which information is constantly exchanged.
On-site networks must rely on hardware devices to connect users to the network and allow them to communicate. How much equipment your business must invest in will depend on physical space, storage capacity needs, how many users will be working on the network and other considerations.
Most network infrastructure setups include the following types of hardware:
The hardware that keeps your network running relies on software to accomplish tasks and keep the network secure. Software is critical to any networks ability to connect users, other devices and keep everything on the network operating smoothly. Like hardware, the type of software and specific software needs will depend on the size of the network.
Software that is included in most network infrastructure typically includes the following:
Businesses need to ensure that their network and its devices run smoothly and securely. This is where regular maintenance comes into play. It’s vital that your business has an IT partner that you can trust to keep your infrastructure operating at the highest level possible.
This means keeping both the hardware and software that your network runs on updated. Choose not to keep on top of this and your entire network could fail, resulting in downtime that ultimately will come back to haunt your business.
Regularly scheduled maintenance not only keeps hardware critical to your business operations from failing or crashing, but it also addresses common security concerns. The best way to prevent both crashes and security breaches is to keep your hardware and software behind your network infrastructure up to date.
This accomplishes a couple of tasks. For one, it makes sure older hardware won’t be allowed to reach its end of life, which would very likely result in system crashes. It also prevents weaknesses from opening up within your system and enhances overall network security.
While many often assume device vulnerabilities are the weakest point in any network, that’s often not the case. Most of the time, it’s employees and users who represent the most significant security threat to networks. Actions taken by everyday users to threaten network security are rarely intentional, too.
That is why businesses must train their employees - and other users - on how to maintain network security. Every user must also be re-trained and kept up to date on changes as needed to ensure that they are using best security practices.
For example, users should be trained on how to utilize sufficiently strong passwords, how to remain aware of malicious links and how to act quickly if they suspect a security threat. There also needs to be a protocol in place that dictates to a business’s employees and any other users of its network of what to do when they suspect a security issue is present.
Investing in network infrastructure is always a wise investment, no matter the business's size. However, according to Network Computing, businesses cited several hurdles that they felt prevented them from making those needed investments. Reasons cited included the cost, lack of staff expertise and security concerns stemming from making those updates.
Don’t let your organization fall into this trap. There are solutions available that can fit within your budget and keep your network performing at the highest level.
It all begins with locating the right IT service provider.
Not every business has the luxury of a skilled, in-house IT department. This is the case for many small and medium businesses, whether it’s a challenge to find qualified personnel or simply a cost issue.
Advanced Network Professionals can help fill this gap in your business. Our skilled staff and technicians specialize in managed IT services, including network infrastructure and security, as well as other vital technology services for today’s modern, mobile business needs.
If you are ready to make the most of your business’s technology investment and get back to focusing on what matters most - your business operations - then contact ANP today to request a quote.