You only have so much money to spend on your company’s IT needs, but your company’s IT infrastructure supports your entire organization.
If your infrastructure is weak or fragile, it’s almost certainly costing your company in wasted time, effort, money and opportunity. Weak IT infrastructure is not only a strain on your company from an efficiency standpoint, it is also prone to massive security holes that can be exploited by hackers. This post discusses 6 of the most common red flags that can help you identify weaknesses in your IT infrastructure. You can use these to evaluate your own environment.
Manual Data Transfer
If part of your IT infrastructure involves having an individual or individuals manually re-key data, or transfer data via disk or flash drive between departments, you are not only wasting time, you are potentially creating an entire position that would not be necessary if you were running a unified, cohesive system. In addition, data left lying around on a flash drive presents a security threat to your organization. Manual processes must be automated.
Too Many Systems
Was your IT infrastructure built one piecemeal solution at a time? Are multiple software applications dedicated to the same or similar tasks? How many apps do your employees have to use to accomplish one of their assigned duties? For instance, are you using Excel AND Access to generate an invoice? Redundant or overlapping systems must be eliminated.
Same Data, Multiple Locations
Quite often different business applications use the same data, but not always from the same data source. Storing the same data in multiple locations is costly and introduces the potential for errors. Data stored in multiple locations also forces additional security to be implemented in all locations, further increasing system complexity. Separate data storage must be consolidated.
Hacked Together Applications
Perhaps your timeline was too short or the budget too tight. Whatever the case, you realize your application is at best a bunch of work arounds and hacks. Whatever money you saved with a short development timeline is now being burned in debugging, inefficiencies, inaccuracies and fixes. You must repair or replace these hacked together systems.
We all know that old server, switch or firewall that continues to run past everyone’s expectations. Since security patches and updates are no longer available, hackers can easily exploit these older devices to gain access your network. Additionally, the device will eventually fail and a replacement will not be available. You must eliminate this outdated tech.
Legacy or Decaying Systems
Are you still using older green or blue screen systems or outdated versions of Windows? Whatever you think you are saving in money is most certainly paid for in your employees’ loss of productivity. In addition, finding security updates for these systems is no longer an option. Legacy and decaying systems must be replaced.
The Bottom Line…
If you have manual processes, piecemeal solutions, kludges or decaying tech, you need to begin architecting a cohesive system that helps everyone accomplish their jobs effectively.
It is best that you do this step-by-step and not all at once. You need to create an overall plan to help you avoid the same red flags that you currently face. Each step in the process needs to be carefully planned and executed before the next step is undertaken.
Check out potential ways to address IT problems with software architecture – our next technology piece!
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Tom Swip has been developing and streamlining business processes for over 20 years. Tom’s expertise lies in business process automation, software and application design and network infrastructure. In his spare time, Tom likes kayaking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities.