Five Critical Signs Your IT Infrastructure May Need a Detailed Evaluation
Every business depends on technology and IT solutions. With each passing year, existing IT systems and software become more outdated and less efficient, leading to a wide range of issues.
These issues may present themselves in the form of increased cyber-attacks, data loss, and a reduction in overall productivity. In fact, outdated technologies cost businesses close to $2 billion each year due to a loss in productivity.
Knowing when the IT systems or software applications in a business organization have become more of a burden than an asset is often difficult. Staff adapt to the systems which they use every day, making it hard to detect the signs. However, there are some critical signs which when detected require an immediate detailed evaluation of the IT Infrastructure to enable the organization to prevent a future catastrophe. In this article we discuss five of those critical signs and what to look for in order to detect them.
1. Increase in Downtime
Outdated technology is often the cause when frequent application and hardware crashes begin to pop up within the organization. This is usually accompanied by an increase in unplanned downtime, loss of productivity, and extended delays waiting for repairs.
The infrastructure may not have the capacity to keep up with the demands of the organization, which results in frequent failures. For example, old servers may be overloaded after adding new workstations to the network, which causes a slowdown in network traffic, as well as an increase in freeze ups and crashes.
Electronic equipment and computer hardware generally have a very limited life expectancy, which is typically 3-5 years. If the organization is experiencing frequent hardware or software crashes leading to an increase in unplanned downtime, a detailed evaluation needs to be performed to identify the problem and implement solutions.
2. Weak Data Loss Prevention Strategy
Apart from technology, the data loss prevention strategy of the organization, or lack thereof, is a sign that a detailed evaluation may be needed sooner rather than later.
Relying solely on local backups increases the risk of data loss. Unwitting employees may open a malicious email attachment and expose the entire network to malware which can destroy critical company data. There is also the risk of natural disasters such as fires and flooding which can destroy the facility and all hardware and data stored there in.
A 3-2-1 backup strategy is best to ensure that there are always at least 3 copies of data with one of them being stored offsite.
If the organization does not have a good backup and disaster recovery strategy in place to provide solutions for the most common data loss scenarios, then a detailed evaluation needs to be performed to design and implement policies and strategies to ensure that company data is recoverable no matter the situation.
3. Compatibility Issues
Adding new hardware or software applications that can save time, increase productivity, or aid in increasing business revenue, is a necessary part of the growth strategy of successful organizations. This is especially true for large enterprises which adopt technology 10 times faster than small businesses.
However, if implementation is stalled due to compatibility issues, this is a sign that a detailed infrastructure evaluation is warranted.
When businesses fail to successfully take advantage of new technology, they don’t only risk being left behind by their competition, they are also leaving money on the table. For example logistic companies using more sophisticated supply chain technology are making 12 times the profit of their competitors using less sophisticated technology.
Ensuring that both software and hardware are compatible with advances and improvements in technology, is critical to helping the organization avoid being held back from growth and losing out to the competition.
4. Increase in IT Support Calls
It may be hard to notice at first because it might not result in downtime, but an uptick in support or help desk calls is usually a sign that a detailed evaluation is required.
If a new software application was implemented prior to the increase in calls, the problem might be with the new software.
On the other hand, when calls are increasing for tried and tested applications, it’s a sign that the current infrastructure may not be able to meet the demands of the organization.
Frequent software issues might not result in downtime, but overall company productivity will suffer as a result. With a detailed evaluation current and potential issues can be uncovered which not only provides the opportunity to fix existing problems but also prevent future issues.
5. Increase in IT Compromises
In our modern connected world, it’s nearly impossible to avoid falling prey to malware, or other IT security threats. According to a recent report by Kelser Corporation, 65% of cyber-attacks are aimed at small and medium size businesses. Therefore, for business organizations, IT compromises are not a matter of if, but when.
When compromises are happening with increasing frequency, it’s usually a big indicator that there needs to be a detailed evaluation of the organizations IT security policies and infrastructure.
The financial impact of data breaches and other compromises are so high that organizations experiencing multiple incidents over a short period of time, even if low impact, cannot just sweep them under the rug. Frequent security audits involving detailed evaluations of the IT infrastructure are a necessary best practice for any organization that wants to decrease the likelihood of a compromise.
How to Avoid Catastrophe
Nothing lasts forever, including the software and hardware which businesses depend on. As these systems age, they become less effective, and introduce a wide range of issues.
Compatibility issues which limit growth, downtime, data loss, and security compromises are just a few of the problems that may result.
Instead of allowing these problems to grow, organizations must remain proactive in maintaining up to date IT infrastructures and security practices. Regular evaluations will help determine where problems lie and what solutions need to be implemented.
Contact Outsource IT to find out how to get a detailed evaluation of your organizations IT infrastructure and security, and ensure the uninterrupted operation of your business.