Resources | Telehouse

Understanding The Components Of A Good IT Infrastructure

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Aug 09, 2018
It is estimated that in 2017 the UK spent an eye-watering £91.5bn on business IT. A major issue, however, is that a lot of enterprises are spending this money on technology that looked excellent and was fully fit for purpose - half a decade ago.

Business IT infrastructure is the collective term for the hardware, software, network and people involved in sharing information with staff and customers as efficiently as possible. That much is widely known but what’s often less appreciated is the amount such systems are changing due to digital transformation.

The jargon used to describe these systems can be confusing enough without this layer of complexity, so we’ve developed a useful guide to how it works, what it all means and how it’s changing - plus why this will affect every switched-on business for the better.
 

Servers

Servers run the computer programmes (or software) that your business uses or that your customers use or have access to.

Servers might run on your own premises or in the cloud. Increasingly they are at the core of digitalised business, absorbing so-called Big Data and crunching the numbers using analytics. Increasingly, artificial intelligence means the systems themselves can interrogate the data independently.
 

Data centres

Data centres are essentially the home of a company’s telecommunications, servers and storage - the physical facilities that house computer systems. They are a vitally important aspect of any company’s IT infrastructure, as any loss of data integrity or connectivity can have a huge impact on a company’s performance.

Speed is essential in a data centre as is reliability; even before the recent tightening of data protection rules it made business sense to be able to retrieve someone’s information immediately; now there are hefty fines should you fail to do so. At Telehouse’s London Docklands data centre campus we offer end-to-end ICT solutions including managed services, integrated communications services, virtualisation services, content management and system security services as well as disaster recovery services. Our service is made robust by advanced cooling systems and diverse power feeds, to ensure maximum security and uptime.
 

Network Switches

The main function of network switches is to connect your internal IT infrastructure elements together. This includes IP telephony, personal and mobile devices, printers and servers. Well-managed switches will divert network resource where the most bandwidth is required at any given time.
 

Routers

A router is the gateway between your internal network and the outside world, usually in the form of the Internet. As such they are a crucial part of managing network traffic and securing a connection, so the most up to date hardware and software is advised (manufacturers generally offer security patches and firmware upgrades when technology improves; always keep a system up to date).
 

Firewall

A firewall controls all incoming and outgoing network data and manages who can see it and who can’t. A security breach is serious and a big name is no guarantee of safety: TalkTalk, Sony and other household names have had well-publicised data loss incidents. Yahoo!’s breach exposing 500 million users to security risks in 2016 is one of the largest known. The consequences can be fines and loss of reputation.
 

Virtual private networks

A means of setting up a ‘tunnel’ between two systems over the Internet’s technology but having it behave like a private internal network. Nobody is saying a VPN can’t be breached but it’s a way of ramping up the safety.

VPN-ing is good practice whenever there is sensitive data at stake; in financial and other regulated settings it is obligatory.
 

Software

Software can reside on a company’s systems or, developing the comments about servers above, at a specialist offering cloud services. In recent years the as a service (IaaS) model has become increasingly popular, covering software and even an entire IT infrastructure.

The advantage of this, along with many cloud-based solutions, is that the software is not only easily accessible but the cloud partner will handle any upgrades and maintenance issues. Data storage and processing is handled remotely, although ultimately the legal responsibility for (for example) GDPR compliance remains yours. Cloud-based software has become so commonplace that people don’t always think about it as a separate category; popular examples include Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365.
 

People

It might seem a bit strange to see people as “part” of an IT infrastructure, but without them many functions wouldn’t be possible.
Aside from the users, attention must be paid to getting properly experienced and qualified technical support staff in place.
Setting up, supporting and updating an IT infrastructure system can be a daunting task. At Telehouse, we can provide all your data centre, security, communication and content management services. If you would like further information, please contact us or give our sales team a call on 0207 512 0550.
 
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