30 Mar

Critical IT Infrastructure Required To Ensure Business Success

It’s no secret that IT infrastructure plays a key role in the success of any business. Can you try picturing a scenario where your IT infrastructure that hosts your business-critical application or website fails? Imagine the time it would take to restore your data and apps. You may be losing thousands of dollars or even be out of business before you have a chance to be back online.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, businesses need to have a secure and reliable IT infrastructure in place.

Moreover, they need an IT infrastructure that is flexible enough to adapt to their ever-changing business needs, yet robust and resilient enough to withstand potential system disruptions.

What Is IT Infrastructure?

The term IT infrastructure refers to the underlying framework for how technology services are delivered. These technologies include servers, storage devices, routers, operating systems and software applications, and other tools that support business processes.

The purpose of a critical IT infrastructure is to ensure business continuity by ensuring that you can run your business smoothly without any glitches or interruptions.

What Are the Key Components of IT Infrastructure?

Every IT infrastructure has key components that need to work together. The two main groups are hardware and software:

Hardware – includes everything from facilities, data centers, servers, storage devices, network switches, routers, to the physical workstations or laptops.

Software – includes operating systems (OS), web applications such as PHP or Java applications, database systems such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) & more.

Types of IT Infrastructure

There are two primary types of IT infrastructure:

Traditional IT Infrastructure

A traditional IT infrastructure consists of physical servers and desktop computers that are typically installed on-premise for a single company or organization.

Benefits of Traditional IT Infrastructure

One of the major benefits of traditional IT infrastructure is increased security. With all hardware being set up on-premise and access being restricted, there are fewer risks for vulnerabilities. Increased data security and compliance requirements are the reasons why some organizations might still opt for this type of infrastructure.

On the other hand, it is more expensive to set up and maintain traditional IT infrastructure. It requires large upfront investments and a dedicated IT team within the organization that can maintain the infrastructure. Changes to resources or software upgrades are also not as flexible as with a cloud infrastructure.

Cloud Infrastructure

A cloud infrastructure, also referred to as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), is an infrastructure that can be provisioned and managed over the internet from anywhere in the world! IaaS it’s one of the three main types of cloud computing service models along with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). In a cloud infrastructure, hosting providers can deliver resources that are typically bound to physical hardware, virtually, in any location around the world that is accessible via the Internet. The process that makes this possible is known as virtualization technology.

Cloud IT Infrastructure

Benefits of Cloud Infrastructure

  • Lower Cost – A cloud infrastructure requires a lower upfront investment since the hosting provider is responsible for acquiring and maintaining the underlying hardware.
  • Flexible Commitments – Most hosting providers will offer flexible terms of contracts with monthly, quarterly, or annual billing options. Some services might even include a pay-as-you-go billing model.
  • Improved Agility and Flexibility – Thanks to the cloud, you can now have your software and application up-and-running in no time. That means small businesses and start-ups can remain agile with their IT needs while also being able to use resources at a much lower cost than if they had invested in traditional IT infrastructure. Similarly, businesses can use their time more wisely by being able to quickly set up multiple virtual machines from different locations around the world. In other words, you no longer have to deal with all the heavy lifting that comes with setting up and maintaining your own servers.
  • More Efficient Resource Scaling – In a cloud infrastructure, you can easily scale your business without having to worry about what type of equipment you’ll be using down the line. You can scale servers vertically (upgrade specific resources) or horizontally (add more servers) as needed. When you need more computing resources for your business, you or your hosting provider can easily upgrade/downgrade resources, typically with just a few clicks.

Minimize Downtime, Maximize Success!

Network availability, or uptime, is one of the critical features to look for when choosing a web hosting provider. A study performed by Gartner in 2014, estimated the average cost of downtime to be $5,600 per minute, well over $300K per hour.

What is the cost of downtime

These numbers are reinforced by a 2019 survey by Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC). In their 2019 Global Server Hardware Server OS Reliability Report, which polled over 1,000 businesses worldwide, 86% of the respondents indicated that one hour of downtime can cost their organization $300.000 or more.

Furthermore, from the 1,000 businesses polled by ITIC, almost 300 indicated the cost of one hour of downtime exceeds $1 million.

Best Practice: To maintain critical business functions or quickly recover in the event of an unplanned downtime all companies and organizations should have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

Why Every Business Needs An Effective Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan will outline the procedures that you need to follow to be up and running in the event of a major infrastructure disaster or unplanned downtime.

There is a common misconception that natural disasters are unlikely to affect a datacenter. Anyone who has ever lost data due to natural disasters knows it can happen at any time. The recent fire at the OVH datacenter in Strasbourg, France is a clear example of this.

Having a business continuity plan can save your business not only millions of dollars but years’ worth of work.

Tip: Think of a business continuity plan as a checklist that you can follow to bring your website and applications back online in the event of a major natural disaster or cyberattack.

Five Key Services to Improve Website Availability

Along with the business continuity plan you should consider the following key services when thinking of your IT infrastructure:

Service Level Agreement (SLA) – Your web hosting provider should have an SLA of at least 99.9%. Anything less than “three nines” is something to be concerned about.

Redundancy – Verify that the hardware that your IT infrastructure runs on has an additional redundant layer to eliminate single points of failure.

Uptime Monitoring – Having a monitoring system in place will help you track availability and know right away if there’s an issue. SNMP and PING are commonly used at the server or router level while advanced monitoring tools can be set up for HTTP/SMTP/SQL services.

Backup Policy – Make sure you always have at least one automated backup policy with multiple days or even weeks of backup retentions.

Best Practice: In addition to automated backups keep also an additional local copy of your critical data. You can never have too many backups!

Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) – In a major disaster, such as the OVH datacenter fire, or unplanned downtime you will want to have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place. These can vary based on an organization’s requirements.

An effective way to implement a disaster recovery plan is by using replicated servers. With replicated servers, you have an identical copy of your primary server that can be spun up in the event of a disaster. Servers can be replicated:

  • In the same datacenter – which would ensure that your websites are up and running in the event in which the underlying hardware that hosts your primary server fails.
  • In different datacenters/locations – this adds an additional layer of uptime protection, in case of a major disaster that affects the entire datacenter, as in the case of the OVH fire.

The Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan are both designed with maximum availability in mind in case of a major disaster or cyberattack. The primary difference between them is WHEN they are implemented. A Business Continuity Plan will focus on keeping your business up for as long as possible DURING a major incident while a Disaster Recovery Plan is focused on bringing your website/applications up as soon as possible AFTER a major incident.

Conclusion

Today’s businesses need more than just an IT team, they need a reliable hosting infrastructure and the tools and means to ensure continuous data availability.

Hosting critical websites and applications can often be a burden for businesses, but it doesn’t have to be. By having a Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan plan in place you can ensure that your website is always up and running in the event of a disaster.

About SoftSys Hosting

At SoftSys Hosting we use 100% redundant Juniper network devices that eliminate single points of failure and can handle more packets with higher throughput.

With a team of 24×7 in-house experienced sysadmins and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, we take care of your entire IT requirements so that you can focus on growing your business.

If you are looking for high availability and disaster recovery solutions from a reliable web hosting provider, please get in touch. We’d love to learn more about your business and provide solutions that will empower your team to accelerate growth.

17 Mar

Which Corporate Culture Is Yours (5 Major Types)?

Corporate Culture

A corporate culture can be described as a company’s overall attitude towards the work environment, the people who perform the work and their interaction with their customers.

A great corporate culture can motivate employees, increase productivity, and contribute to the overall success of the company. A poor corporate culture can lead to poor employee performance, low satisfaction, and low revenue turnover.

Corporate cultures differ greatly from company to company. They start with a company’s unique brand vision and are shaped by a set of common beliefs and values. They are the Do’s and Don’ts of growing a business.

Let’s look at five most popular corporate culture types and how to determine which one is yours.

5 Types of Corporate Culture

Clan Culture

Corporate Culture

“A company is only as good as its people. The hard part is actually building the team that will embody your company culture and propel you forward.”

Kathryn Minshew, CEO & Founder of The Muse

A clan or team-first culture model relies primarily on building strong relationships with employees. This type of corporate culture is focused on open communication and employee engagement.

Your Company May Have a Clan Culture If:

  • Employees play a key role in the company’s direction and success.
  • You have regular team meetings where everyone’s input is welcomed.
  • There is a strong focus on employee training and development.
  • Team building is implemented and encouraged.
  • Culture fit is critical when hiring new staff.

The goal of the clan culture is to build trust among employees. By paying attention to and actively encouraging communication within your workplace, you can foster positive team-first cultures. This directly correlates with happier employees who are committed to the success of the company.

Example of Companies With a Clan Corporate Culture:

  • Zappos
  • Google
  • Hubspot

Elite Culture

An elite culture exposes its employees to a wide variety of innovative and cutting-edge ideas and brings about new advancements in their industry. This type of corporate culture is focused on fostering innovation and finding creative solutions to customer needs and wants.

Your Company May Have an Elite Culture If:

  • It’s managed by effective leaders who are not afraid of taking risks.
  • Hires only the best of the best in your field.
  • Is focused on providing innovative solutions to existing problems.
  • It’s a dynamic, entrepreneurial place.
  • Change and agility are highly valued.
  • Creativity and thinking “outside the box” are encouraged.
  • Employees make work their top priority often working overtime.

The goal of the elite culture is to achieve rapid growth and be at the forefront of its industry, by making innovation an inherent part of the company’s mindset.

Example of Companies With an Elite Culture:

  • Apple
  • Tesla
  • Intuit

Horizontal Culture

The horizontal culture model, or flat culture, can often be identified in smaller companies and startups since it creates a family-like environment. This type of corporate culture has very little hierarchy and much like the clan culture is focused on collaboration, teamwork, and a team-oriented attitude. There is a high level of loyalty and commitment within companies with a horizontal culture.

Your Company May Have a Horizontal Culture If:

  • Job titles are less important.
  • There are very few management levels.
  • The CEO is often involved in day-to-day operations.
  • Everyone wears multiple hats.
  • Communication and teamwork are encouraged.
  • There’s a focus on personalized support and interactions with customers.

The goal of the horizontal culture is to make everyone feel as part of the company and having a stake in its future success.

Example of Companies With a Horizontal Culture:

Hierarchy Culture

The hierarchy culture is the opposite of the clan culture. While a clan culture has a more relaxed, family-like structure, the hierarchy culture is very conservative and tightly controlled. In a hierarchy culture, you don’t just get things done, you do it the “right way” following rigorous procedures. There are several layers of management and leaders are there to implement and ensure adherence to tried and tested processes.

Your Company Might Have a Hierarchy Culture If:

  • There is a clearly defined hierarchy with multiple layers of management.
  • There are strict rules and guidelines in interacting with other departments and customers.
  • There is a process-oriented and data-driven approach.
  • There is a formal dress code culture.
  • You have rigid office hours and organizational structure.
  • Career progression and pay are based on seniority.

The goal of the hierarchy culture is to minimize risks and increase results.

Example of Organizations With a Hierarchy Culture:

  • The Military
  • Banks
  • Most Government Organizations

Market Culture

A company with a market culture is driven by market share and increasing competition. Companies with this type of culture have a lot of external partnerships, investors or are focused on growth often through acquisitions.

Your Company May Have a Market Culture If:

  • It’s a large company with high market penetration.
  • It’s a result-oriented workplace focused on productivity and profits.
  • There are a lot of acquisitions and mergers.
  • It’s a competitive work environment that prioritizes profitability.

The goal of the market culture is to surpass competition and become a market leader.

Example of Companies With a Market Culture:

  • Amazon
  • IKEA
  • Walmart

About SoftSys Hosting

At SoftSys Hosting, we’re focused on providing a world-class managed cloud, VPS, and dedicated hosting service to our customers.

We’re passionate about customers and we train our staff to take a customer-first approach in everything they do.

With a team of 24/7 in-house experienced sysadmins, we take pride in providing unparalleled support so that you can focus on growing your own business.

Click the button below to learn more about SoftSys Hosting and how we can help your business grow.