7 things to avoid in IT network infrastructure
Nobody plans for problems that early and that often. To learn what we can do to improve our success rate, “What are the most common mistakes while deploying and maintaining network infrastructure
Mistake #1 Selecting wrong Technology
New technology brings new opportunities, but planning your business based on the latest technology makes for short-term planning, bad decisions, confusion and poor results. Plan your business objectives first, then find the technology to help you achieve them. Don’t be obsessed with buying inexpensive computers. Businesses should be concerned with the cost of ownership over the life of the equipment rather than the cost of acquisition.
Cheap consumer computers often require significant upgrades for use in a business environment. They have shorter warranties and are usually subsidized by trialware and adware that you do not want. Work with someone who can help you get the right equipment for your business. Too many people choose their technology before they really know what they need the technology to do for them. Then they settle for what it can do and compromise their business processes to suit the tech-system they have. Hence, while shortlisting an IT solutions partner on has to understand his capabilities in terms of building IT infrastructure.
Mistake #2: Sticking with old equipment
Computer and software have been increasing speed and power so quickly that later you realize your machines are out of date. “Moore’s law states that computing power doubles every 18 months, which means that sooner or later you are going to run into software or hardware you can’t use because what you have is obsolete or no longer supported.
Do not hesitate to upgrade your network if you want to improve functionality and service provision capabilities.
Mistake #3: No data recovery and backup solutions
When disaster strikes, networks get destroyed and data gets lost. With so much vital information stored in your computer networking systems and IT structures, losing it should not be an option. Data recovery helps you restore files while backups protect the data. It is always practical to have a data recovery and backup solutions at hand to make sure business continues as usual in the event of a network failure. So backup your data regularly and create a disaster recovery plan.
Mistake #4: Lax network security
Your network is vulnerable to attacks by hackers and viruses if you will not set up firewalls and other security measures.
1. Insecure/exposed Ports.
2. Indiscriminate enabling of services.
3. Improper system configuration.
4. Poor anti-virus implementation.
5. Poor firewall deployment.
6. Poor intrusion detection system (IDS) setups.
7. Weak password implementation.
8. Easy access to information.
9. Downloading of files and applications from sites that are not trusted.
10. Unsecured applications/programs as a result of poor programming practices.
11. Application backdoors.
12. Lack of appropriate security policies.
13. Not giving attention to security indicators – users fail to give proper attention by refusing to read the warning messages or security indicators.
Mistake #5: Poor licensing strategy
Single license purchases for every user inflate software costs expensive. However, if you buy a group licensing plan through the manufacturer, you can purchase in mass quantities. This also makes the software more easily manageable by your technology provider, as it’s very easy to keep track of how many times one key has been used If you are guilty of committing some of these mistakes, there is still time to make things right. Outsourcing your IT infrastructure necessities will not only save your money and time but will also ensure you get the best network system for your business.
Mistake #6 Server room cable mess and lack of quality documentation
While working in IT, we’ve come across our fair share of server rooms, IT closets, and network setups. Everyone has a different way of installing equipment and routing their respective cables; however, a large emphasis should be placed on organization and cleanliness when creating the setup. We’ve seen examples of really well-done cabling and examples of poorly routed cables. Poorly routed cables can lead to an assortment of problems over time. In the above examples, cables could have been plugged into devices as they arrived or hardware mounted in the most sensible locations. This can lead to cables crossing in front of moving parts or spilling out into walkways where they can be tripped on. Not only is it messy looking, poorly routed cables can lead to decreased airflow and improper hardware management. Just imagine how difficult it would be trying to trace a cable through that mess?
All server hardware and operating systems should be documented, including the physical locations and what primary, secondary, etc.. Purpose they serve. All key service accounts, login account user-id and password’s should be documented and stored in a safe location, maybe a company lockbox or vault, or use something like KeePass to store them. A visual diagram of the network layout, even from a high level, should exist no matter how small or large the network is. You can create a Visio diagram of the network. Procedures on how to maintain the network technology, including Operating Systems, security-related services, backup and disaster recovery (business continuity), and firewall technologies should exist.
Additionally, you should document and secure all Operating System and application licensing. This is something that is very often overlooked and is imperative if you have to recover from a disaster situation in which the rebuild of systems is necessary. Other information to have documented is key contact information. For instance, who do you call if your Internet connection goes down? Who do you contact if your offsite web services are not functioning? Do you have a third party that maintains your Domain Name Services (DNS)? If you have custom applications, do you know exactly who you must call if there is a problem?
Mistake #7 Bad Technology budgeting
The amount of money spent on an organization’s information technology systems and services is known as IT Budget. It includes compensation for IT professionals and expenses related to the construction and maintenance of enterprise-wide systems and services. Smart business owners approach IT support and equipment budgeting by planning for both. The best way to avoid overspending on emergency IT tech support costs is to include regular IT preventative maintenance in your budget and building IT infrastructure which is apt for your business. Include IT support in the cost of doing business. Be prepared for the occasional downtime during the maintenance or upgrading the technology. Have a relationship in place with an IT solutions company that really understands how important your systems are for your business success.
Conclusion: Don’t jump in without setting yourself up for success
That’s a very long list of mistakes (we actually received more), and it may give you pause to even consider deploying any new infrastructure. Don’t fall into that trap.
If you have experience deploying the cloud and have even more suggestions on what people should avoid, please add your thoughts to the comments. If we all learn from each other’s mistakes we’ll improve the overall success of cloud deployments.