Do you have a thorough understanding of your IT architecture? While a few uncertainties might not seem like a big deal, your architecture is made up of several components that can weaken your infrastructure if not carefully monitored. Many companies choose not to control their IT architecture, leading to duplicated systems, inconsistent data, and a number of other problems. Risks like redundant data and applications, single points of failure, manual rekeying, and obsolete technology all contribute to a shaky structure that can negatively affect your business.
Your IT architecture describes your company’s business operations, including applications and databases. When you choose to ignore the flaws in your architecture, you lose precious time and money, not to mention productivity.
Managing and strengthening your IT architecture will help you to focus on long-term goals instead of just short-term needs, enabling you to focus wholly on your business model and establish a secure and stable architecture.
Why a Stable Architecture is Important
Tolerating a weak IT architecture produces a variety of risks. Often, poor architecture stems from a lack of communication, meaning that employees and/or business owners may not even be aware of certain problems.
This allows for undocumented applications to fall by the wayside, such as obsolete and redundant technology. These systems become difficult to maintain, and they can waste a lot of time and money. A lack of control can also create security gaps, leaving your architecture vulnerable to outside threats.
Conversely, a stable IT architecture creates several benefits for your business. You can reduce costs by removing redundant data and applications. Simplifying your architecture will also improve your overall IT quality and performance.
By creating a blueprint for your architecture, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of your company’s applications, licenses, and systems. Maintaining an updated IT architecture will also make it easier to enable innovation, as your business continues to grow and take advantage of new technology.
Reduce security risks, costs, and unnecessary complexity when you target and eliminate weaknesses within your IT architecture.
Signs Your IT Architecture is Lacking Efficiency
One marker of a weak IT infrastructure is obsolete technology. This includes any hardware, software, or technological services that are no longer used.
According to a survey conducted by Aberdeen, companies were wasting 37% of their software budget on obsolete technology—equating to around $30 billion. And this technology is often outdated, meaning it costs more money to run and support, while leaving your network susceptible to security threats.
Advanced Network Solutions estimates that PCs over 3 years old are 28% more susceptible to viruses, and old laptops are 58% more susceptible. Obsolete technology also increases maintenance cost and difficulty, making it harder to adapt to new systems.
To combat obsolete technology, develop an inventory of all the technology in your network. You can then determine the risk of outdated platforms and decide whether or not it will be necessary to update to newer platforms.
When purchasing technology, make sure it offers new functionality to your system and that it operates within the latest updates. Perform consistent preventative maintenance, like training newcomers how to handle old equipment and planning ahead for equipment replacement and support.
By following these procedures and keeping your technology up-to-date, you can protect your network from the risks associated with obsolete technology.
Another risk to your IT architecture is manual re-keying, a process in which humans must manually re-enter a set of data, instead of having it transferred automatically. This process often leaves room for error, leading to inconsistent data, as well as creating inefficiency.
Not only does this slow down the system and drain resources; it also makes IT problems impossible to track.
Instead, consider automating the data transfer process to avoid human error and save time. Scheduled transfers allow you to streamline the data process so you can reduce errors, decrease delays, and increase overall transparency and control.
Another growing problem in the tech industry is the presence of redundant applications.
Companies will sometimes include redundant components in a system to safeguard in case of failure. However, many applications don’t require this redundancy, and having too many applications to manage increases costs and complexity, not to mention that it drains IT resources.
Application redundancy can also result from a lack of communication, a lack of centralization, or a reluctance to merge systems.
Eliminate redundancy by creating an application inventory and removing any unnecessary applications. Document all existing solutions to avoid creating duplicate applications.
Standardization will help you simplify the structure of your IT architecture and reduce risks. Centrally locating your resources will also eliminate redundant capabilities, such as hardware, software, and duplicate functions.
Similar to redundant applications, data redundancy occurs when the same set of data is stored in multiple locations, sometimes for backup and recovery purposes.
When businesses transfer data from physical centers to the cloud, they don’t always check for redundancies, which can lead to greater long-term costs, lower performance, and compromised security.
Conduct regular checks to identify and eliminate redundant and unused data. Make sure your network isn’t harboring data replicators, which continue to copy data, even after its duplicates have been deleted.
You should also implement master data management (MDM), a process of centralizing data that will allow you to streamline data sharing and gain a comprehensive view of data.
If you are looking to safeguard your system in case of a malfunction, backup is a great option for protecting data, without the added risks of redundancy. Backups also protect against a wider variety of problems than redundancy.
Data inconsistency results from the need to migrate data from one location to another, occurring when data is stored in various formats. Often, one record is correct, while the others are false, leading to corrupted or missing data and unreliable information.
Data-driven mapping allows you to simultaneously evaluate two data sources in order to discover the relationship between the two. This will provide you with better data security and a lower risk of compliance errors.
MDM can also help you develop a comprehensive understanding of data, without the need for duplications.
Single Points of Failure
Another flaw of IT architecture is the presence of single points of failure (SPOF), a flaw in which a single malfunction can jeopardize the operation of an entire system.
For example, a faulty router with no backup can lead to system failure, creating multiple security issues and unnecessary downtime.
People can also become a single point of failure, such as placing a single person in charge of multiple systems.
SPOF can be prevented by having backup systems in place and training multiple people to learn how to use them. To detect and mitigate SPOFs, perform an SPOF audit, making sure to document every component of your IT infrastructure. Then, identify any SPOFs, and make sure you have the necessary backups in place to minimize risk.
How to Improve Your IT Architecture
To ensure that your IT architecture is functioning at its maximum capability, you must first create a clearly-defined IT blueprint.
Establish your enterprise architecture stakeholders—such as top management—and meet with them to discuss options for your IT blueprint.
After collecting data from the necessary sources, compile the information into a single document. Your record should include strategy data (the goals and requirements of the infrastructure), architecture data (the components of the infrastructure), and transformation data (the projects and tasks needed to change the infrastructure).
Use the data to create an enterprise model so you have all of your information in one central location.
After developing a blueprint, perform some immediate cleanup, and identify any obvious risks to your architecture. Rationalize your software licenses by creating an inventory of all current licenses. This will make it easier to remove any outdated or underused technology.
You should also cancel any noncompliant projects, and decommission little-used or never-used applications.
Finally, reduce the complexity of your architecture by performing a thorough inspection of your infrastructure.
Encourage the reuse of existing solutions, instead of implementing new solutions for every situation. Reduce the interface complexity, standardize technologies, and consolidate databases and redundant applications and systems.
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) can also improve your business workflow by allowing services to communicate with each other. By promoting interaction between services, you can increase organizational flexibility.
A successful IT architecture requires collaboration between business leaders and employees to ensure a safe and productive workplace. You will also need to utilize emerging technologies in order to stay up-to-date on the latest technology.
We are committed to helping you optimize your IT architecture by providing you with backup solutions, network security, and IT support.
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