Simon Taylor is President of Comtrade Software.
More than a quarter of executives plan to pursue aggressive growth for their companies over the next five years, according to a recent survey conducted by PwC. From choosing the right executives to lead a company to new frontiers, to determining whether product-market fit is sustainable at scale, there are hundreds of decisions to be made when growing a business that can weigh on the minds of founders, executives, investors and board members. These choices can make or break the future of the company, and deserve focus, attention and a high level of consideration. However, key stakeholders frequently overlook one challenge in particular that is critical to successfully scaling a business: If the IT department is not able to scale as nimbly as other core business groups, it leaves the entire organization vulnerable to hindered growth.
Imagine that you own a T-shirt company and you want to bring on a large customer that will triple the number of orders placed online. However, your servers don’t have the capacity to handle the traffic spikes – so even if you have the inventory, manpower and desire to grow, you’re stuck at a certain size because of your limiting IT infrastructure. As a result, many enterprises grow their IT environments quickly and haphazardly, increasing both the size and complexity of their infrastructure. A relatively simple infrastructure can quickly grow into a massive ecosystem involving legacy systems, hybrid solutions and virtual machines in a short period of time. Because of this complexity, business critical functions are now at risk of becoming slow-performing or unresponsive, making day-to-day execution difficult for end users – which can include both customers and employees. Without visibility into how an IT environment is being built, or what has resulted from years of unplanned and undocumented scaling and how those changes affect end-user experience, companies are setting themselves up for problems down the road.
Infrastructure Monitoring: Enterprise Platform or Point Solution?
Monitoring solutions can help companies sort through their complicated infrastructures and enable IT teams to proactively resolve issues before the end-user is disrupted. Monitoring tools are a critical component of any IT infrastructure today but how can a company ensure that its monitoring solution can provide holistic insights at the speed necessary to keep pace with company growth? Using an enterprise monitoring framework with a single interface, such as Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), makes monitoring large environments and distributed systems easier to execute and manage than using point solutions for each component of the data center.
Most third-party monitoring tools don't scale at all due to their monolithic nature and piecing together a comprehensive monitoring picture using disparate reports from point solutions can create visibility gaps. Further, training on various solutions can extend the learning curve for administrators as they train and learn the different platforms. Finally, point solutions and third party tools often create unnecessary redundancy, as several processes are needed to collect, organize and display monitoring data, whereas native plug-ins that work in concert with an interface like Microsoft SCOM can provide data from all areas of the stack in one comprehensive report. Through this holistic reporting, enterprise monitoring frameworks help IT experts have a quick and detailed view of their complex infrastructure before a server or mission critical app experiences issues.
Using Monitoring Tools to Stop Hackers in Their Tracks
As businesses grow, they become targets for hackers. Beyond ensuring peak performance and mitigating latency issues, end-to-end monitoring solutions can help organizations prevent against and more effectively handle cyberattacks. Businesses require centralized monitoring as they scale in order to better collect critical security information – even across multiple devices with configured application security components – to capture a complete picture of everything that will help application admins mitigate threats. For example, if an app is compromised, monitoring solutions will alert IT teams with details about exactly what kind of attack the application has come under. Admins can then fix the problem before it impacts application delivery performance and affects the end user, or exposes the company’s proprietary information to hackers.
Scalability, resiliency and high availability is as important in a growing company’s IT infrastructure as it is in any other aspect of the business. Business leaders need to pay close attention to infrastructure monitoring to ensure that the IT environment is ready to support an organization’s evolving needs without compromising system performance or security. Ensuring that the IT infrastructure is ready to scale alongside the rest of the business will be an enormous factor in determining the ultimate success or failure of the business down the road.
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