Upgrading small business IT infrastructure is vital for staying competitive.
Most small businesses are enhancing efficiency and security by making these upgrades. Those that don’t may find themselves outcompeted in the rapidly evolving business environment.
Here, we’ll share the process we use to upgrade IT infrastructure for small business and the reasons why you should consider doing so.
Do you need help with this process? We can provide you with the expertise and resources your in-house team lacks.
We’ll audit your current IT infrastructure and put together a 12-month implementation plan, so you can manage the process and costs easily.
5 Reasons Why Your Small Business IT Infrastructure May Need Upgrading
In this section, we’ll go over the five most common reasons why small business IT infrastructure needs upgrading.
1. Your IT Infrastructure Is Too Complex
Maintaining and upgrading complex IT infrastructure is expensive and requires highly skilled IT personnel.
Worse yet, in-house IT specialists don’t always have the expertise needed to properly run these systems. This leads to serious cybersecurity risks.
Standardized systems and products reduce training, onboarding, and troubleshooting costs while making vendor updates simpler.
When upgrading small business IT infrastructure, we follow a standardized approach that minimizes complexity and costs.
2. Your Business Needs More Scalability and Flexibility
Scalable and flexible small businesses are better equipped for rapid growth, adapting to market demands, and future success.
We can help you implement scalable hardware, software, and cloud solutions that accommodate business growth.
3. You’ve Been Relying on Temporary Fixes
Relying on temporary IT fixes can lead to problems like security risks, increased costs, and reduced reliability.
It’s crucial to prioritize long-term solutions for stable, secure, and efficient operations.
When planning IT infrastructure for small business, we focus on permanent and traceable solutions, and provide guidelines and administrative procedures for maintenance and fixes.
4. Your IT Needs Have Changed
Your small business IT needs may change due to business growth, shifts in market demands, and regulatory requirements, among other reasons.
We’ll conduct a professional audit to find gaps in your IT infrastructure, based on your business needs and goals.
We then use the information from the audit to put together a strategic 12-month plan to upgrade your IT infrastructure.
5. Your IT Infrastructure Lacks Security and Backup Measures
40 to 60% of small businesses never reopen after major disasters, such as:
- Data breaches
- Loss of critical information
- Cyberattacks like ransomware
- Lengthy and costly disruptions
- Reputational damage
- Legal and regulatory consequences
Lack of security and backup measures makes your business vulnerable to all of the above.
When planning your small business IT infrastructure upgrade, we’ll make security a top priority with measures like firewalls, antivirus software, and cybersecurity training.
We’ll also set up regular software updates to patch vulnerabilities and enhance security, and establish a reliable backup and recovery strategy to protect against data loss.
In-House vs. Outsourcing IT Infrastructure
Small businesses need IT staff with specialized expertise to upgrade outdated infrastructure.
However, IT talent acquisition and retention are significant challenges for small businesses in 2023 and beyond.
In fact, Business Wire reported that almost one-third (31%) of recruiters say hiring will be the biggest challenge in the next year.
Outsourcing IT services is an effective and budget-friendly solution to this challenge. Other benefits of outsourcing IT infrastructure include:
- On-demand expertise
- Improved security
- Enhanced productivity
- Standardized processes
- Reduced costs
Would your business benefit from outsourcing IT services? Contact us for a free assessment.
How to Upgrade IT Infrastructure for Small Business in 6 Steps
IT infrastructure is vital for business functions. It also supports growth and enhances productivity for employees, partners, and customers.
Here, we’ll share the six-step process we use to plan and upgrade our customers’ IT infrastructure.
If you need help upgrading yours, contact us for a free assessment.
Step 1: Comprehensive IT Infrastructure Audit
We always start with a comprehensive IT infrastructure audit to identify business needs and areas of improvement.
More specifically, when auditing your IT infrastructure, we assess:
- Performance and efficiency of systems
- Security vulnerabilities and compliance issues
- Infrastructure scalability and flexibility
- Backup and disaster recovery measures
- Software and hardware inventory
- Network architecture and configuration
- User access controls and permissions
- Documentation and policies
Our strategic approach to IT infrastructure prevents unnecessary expenses through effective resource allocation, and allows us to create scalable and adaptable networks.
Here are some more details about the four different areas of IT infrastructure we can help you upgrade:
When it comes to hardware, we consider fundamental components like servers, workstations, laptops, networking equipment, printers, and more.
Software includes a lot more than the operating system your network will be running on. Depending on your business needs, it may include:
- Productivity tools
- Security software
- Backup and recovery software
- Accounting software
- Web browsers
- License management software
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
Communication is crucial for collaboration and business processes.
Your business likely needs email services, unified communication tools such as messaging and video conferencing software, collaboration platforms, and more.
4. On-Premise vs. Cloud Infrastructure
In our audit, we assess whether switching or keeping on-premise, cloud, or hybrid IT infrastructure is beneficial for your business.
On-premise IT infrastructure offers you direct control, but requires space, robust systems, and upfront investment. This option is best for specialized operations, high-security needs, or legacy systems.
Cloud infrastructure provides scalability, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and valuable features like automatic updates. It’s ideal for rapid deployment, business continuity, and collaboration.
Hybrid IT infrastructure (i.e., a mix of on-premise and cloud solutions) is the most commonly used option.
To decide between the three, we consider business needs, growth projections, and budget.
Step 2: Planning Out Your IT Infrastructure Upgrade
By making a complete plan for your business IT infrastructure upgrade, we can help you make the most of your budget and ensure it runs smoothly and safely.
While every IT infrastructure plan we create is unique, this is the general information we normally include:
- A realistic budget for hardware, software, licensing, and ongoing support.
- Software and hardware options, considering features, scalability, long-term viability, and your needs and budget.
- Optimal equipment placing based on your existing space layout and cabling conditions.
- Analysis of your current internet service speed and recommendations for upgrades or changes if needed.
- Analysis of other factors such as space conditions, potential interferences, and available power options.
All this comes in a 12-month roadmap format, so the investment is more manageable and easier to implement. Once approved, we move to the next step.
Step 3: Sourcing the Hardware and Software
One of the greatest advantages of outsourcing your IT infrastructure upgrade to us is accessing our vendor network.
Besides working with trusted vendors we’ve handpicked over the 25 years we’ve been in business, you’ll save money on hardware and software by leveraging our collective buying power.
Some factors we consider when selecting vendors include prices, warranties, reliability, and customer support.
Again, thanks to the 12-month roadmap format of our IT infrastructure upgrade plans, you won’t need to invest big upfront. The process is continuous and very manageable.
Step 4: Installing Your IT Infrastructure
To further maximize your investment, we ensure the solutions we designed are installed correctly.
Depending on your needs, budget, and the unique roadmap we created for your business, some possible steps include:
- Installing and configuring routers, switches, and wireless access points.
- Organizing network cabling, labeling it properly, and securely mounting devices.
- Setting up IP addresses, VLANs, and DHCP for connected devices.
- Configuring wireless access points, optimizing coverage, and setting up guest network access.
- Configuring firewalls, encryption, and security protocols for safe operations.
- Setting up DNS servers, DHCP servers, and VPN connectivity for secure remote access.
To ensure your IT infrastructure runs smoothly and stays secure over time, continuous testing and proactive maintenance are crucial.
Step 5: Continuously Testing and Proactively Maintaining Your IT Setup
As we implement the plan, we’ll continuously test your IT infrastructure to ensure it runs as intended. We’ll also proactively maintain it to prevent issues before they happen.
Testing and maintenance are essential for securing your network and endpoints, preventing disruptions, and keeping the system working effectively.
The last step is to document your small business IT infrastructure.
Step 6: Documenting Your Key IT Infrastructure Elements
In this final step, we’ll comprehensively document the elements of your IT infrastructure, including:
- Creating diagrams with your network installation specs
- Detailing processes and system configurations
- Listing IP address assignments
We’ll also train your staff on network usage, security protocols, and best practices, and set up a maintenance schedule for ongoing monitoring, updates, and backups.
Small businesses and even IT service providers often skip this step. But all this documentation is essential for troubleshooting, onboarding new staff, ensuring compliance, and facilitating efficient system management and upgrades.
How Do I Document My IT Infrastructure?
You can document your IT infrastructure by creating visual network diagrams, recording device configurations, and maintaining a list of IP address assignments.
However, documenting your IT infrastructure isn’t enough; you also need to keep it organized, accessible, and regularly updated.
FAQs About Upgrading a Small Business IT Setup
In this final section, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about upgrading a small business IT setup.
What Are the Three Main Areas of IT Infrastructure?
The three main areas of IT infrastructure are:
- Hardware: Physical components like servers, computers, and networking devices.
- Software: Programs and applications essential for business operations and productivity.
- Communication: Network infrastructure, including internet connectivity and communication tools.
What Is an Example of IT Infrastructure for a Company?
Here’s an example of IT infrastructure for a company:
- Hardware: Computers, servers, and routers
- Operating system: Microsoft Windows
- Productivity tools: Google Workspace
- Antivirus software: McAfee
- Firewall app: Windows Defender Firewall
- VPN: NordVPN
- Email system: Gmail
- Collaboration platforms: Slack and Asana
- Internet access
Depending on the industry your business operates in, your employee count, and other factors, your IT infrastructure may be even simpler or much more complex than this example.
Keep Your Business Secure and Competitive with Modern IT Infrastructure
Outdated small business IT infrastructure reduces your operational efficiency and makes your business more susceptible to cyberattacks and security breaches.
Routinely upgrading your setup is crucial for business growth and competitiveness in the fast-evolving business landscape.
Our experienced team, here at ASi Networks, can help you with:
- Auditing and upgrading your IT infrastructure
- 24/7 Systems monitoring
- Network structured cabling
- Cloud services
- Business continuity and disaster recovery planning
- Policy compliance
We provide custom solutions, tailored to your specific business needs. Contact us today for a free assessment.