Over the years IT shops around the world have seen and implemented various technologies. Some have paid off really well, while others have hopelessly flopped around on the floor only to fall short on promised deliverables.
Traditionally companies have installed routers, switches, firewalls and a myriad of servers and desktops – sprinkle in a few software applications, email and Microsoft Office and they were good to go. Employees were able to conduct business and communicate in a timely fashion without too much resistance.
Today that has changed. Technology has seen some pretty neat advances with new technologies and devices popping up at an alarming rate. New cell phone capabilities, portable devices such as tablets and of course cloud computing, IT is struggling to keep up. All the while, new protocols and standards have changed the playing field. Companies networks need to be open more than ever before. Now instead of conducting business in a timely manner – it is now instant.
As businesses seek to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase scalability, devices, virtualization and cloud computing are becoming an integral part of their IT strategies. However, cloud computing also presents new challenges for your CIO and network data centers. Because applications and networks are no longer independent entities, these groups need to devise an efficient process for testing applications, the network, and devices on your network and in the cloud.
This week alone – I have attended virtual meetings, (in New York city, Folsom, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose and Sacramento), remotely connected and repaired several client’s computers, migrated data from several local databases to our cloud, enabling a single repository for data, (I also found numerous duplicate records and data points), and I did all of these task from the confines of my own office.
Conference calls today rarely mean picking up the phone and talking to someone. No – today we use technology that not only allows us to hear each other, but to see the other people too. Yet that is still not enough, we can also share our screen and instantly send and receive data while connected to the conference call. We now blend video, messaging, data and voice to improve collaboration.
Smart companies have embraced these new technologies and in most cases saved money. If you read my blog series “Cloud Computing 101“, then you know that handing off the hardware and software responsibility to a cloud provider can instantly save a company thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.
Until recently, many data centers still functioned as silos, with infrastructure, network, applications (end-to-end and services), and operations teams in separate camps. However, as more organizations adopt and experience the advantages of cloud computing and converged applications, they are realizing that the silo model is no longer viable.
Because the network and applications have become so intertwined in a wireless world, it’s imperative (from both a technical and business standpoint) that these two groups work together and not independently. No longer can these teams say: I’m going to design the infrastructure, you design the network, and we’ll layer the software on it. They need to figure out exactly how applications, operations, and network components will work together in a converged network—before they start building anything.
So the difficult part comes in supporting all of these new technologies, at least from your own support staff. Many IT departments are struggling to integrate these new technology into their company’s antiquated network. Wireless networks consist of 802.11 a/b/g/n, yet some companies are still using old servers and old software that is incompatible with the newer technology.
If you still have one, it is time to revive your in-house IT shop. Mindsets are changing and cloud based alternatives are emerging. It is time to update your skills with the times. It is not that every app and piece of data should go to the cloud, but you should consider the cloud for every app. Eighty one percent (81%) of the companies that use the cloud say they like it better than in-house according to Information Week surveys.
Current networks are not up to the challenge of meeting the pressure of the future networked society and will need to be replaced, they cannot scale to the range we currently require.
So – what can you do? Businesses make an array of mistakes when upgrading their networks. No matter what, there are three things they should ultimately focus on: connecting to a network with switches, routers, firewall and possible cloud services ; securing businesses both physically and technically; and effectively communicating with customers and employees. Another huge overlooked task is monitoring. Far too may companies think their networks are set and forget. I cannot stress enough the importance of monitoring your technology to understand your users needs.
Have you checked what traffic is on your network lately? I will bet you it is not the same type of data that it was 5 years ago.
If you would like, we provide a Free Technical Assessment, this can be beneficial to new and startup companies that are not sure where to start.