3 Ways to Crank More Value Out of Existing IT Infrastructure

From an IT manager’s perspective, there’s only one thing better than investments in valuable new infrastructure: getting more value from the IT assets you already have.

Unfortunately, finding ways to harness that value isn’t always obvious. If you’re like most organizations we work with, you’re probably not sure how much of your utilized server capacity consists of files nobody needs or uses. What’s more, you may not be aware of how available server space can be utilized to increase security and help ensure compliance.

Here, we’ll examine three ways to get more value out of your existing IT infrastructure. All of our tips relate to the files your employees access and that help them do their jobs.

1.   Tier your data

What if you could route less frequently accessed files through a secondary path – a path that was less expensive for your organization to maintain? By tiering your data, you can differentiate among file types, reserving your most robust (and costly) server resources for only those files that are important for getting business done.

For example, your organization might maintain a network storage directory where users add photos from corporate events. The directory probably serves a purpose – camaraderie, team building, and client relations come to mind – but will users need those images six months after an event is over? Probably not.

Tools like Novell Dynamic File Services can help you automatically tier data by file type, date of most recent access, or other variables and move less important data to a path that consumes fewer resources. Those photos from last year’s trade show won’t hog so much room on your fastest, most expensive IT infrastructure anymore, leaving more space (and speed) for the files that matter.

2. Gather intelligence

Another way to get more value from existing IT assets is by gathering data on files that reside on network servers. What kind of files are you storing – and where? Who has access to the files? When they were last accessed? How many versions of a file exist?

If knowledge is power, which it is, then data is enablement. Data can help you identify duplicate and unopened files, orphaned home directories, and a veritable smorgasbord of items that have no business consuming valuable server resources. While data alone won’t solve the problem, it will provide a roadmap for addressing it.

Just think: Twenty duplicate copies of a white paper your marketing team published five years ago – a white paper with obsolete data – could be occupying several gigabytes of space on your network drives. Now imagine there were twenty other outdated white papers, each of which has twenty duplicates, residing on your drives, too. Needless to say, these files are a costly waste of resources and a drag on system performance.

Detailed reports from Novell’s File Reporter can provide a bird’s-eye view of the files you should archive or eliminate. You’ll have all the intelligence you need to take action.

3. Secure users’ EFSS activities

If the following characteristics apply to your organization, you might be sitting on an excellent opportunity to improve IT security and ensure data compliance:

  1. You have unused server capacity. Maybe you know your current IT infrastructure is underutilized or you anticipate freeing up significant space by acting on file storage intelligence or tiering data.
  2. Your users share files in the public cloud. For enterprise file sync-and-share (EFSS) activities, applications like Dropbox and Google Drive rarely provide adequate security protections and may put you at risk of failing a compliance audit.

As we’ve noted before, users like these applications because they’re extremely convenient and well-designed. But for all of the benefits they provide to consumers, they’re woefully inadequate for the secure sharing and storage of corporate data.

Enter Novell Filr, an EFSS application that basically lets you have your cake and eat it, too. You can provide users with an interface and feature suite that helps them work while keeping corporate data secure and trackable on owned servers.

Relevant, effective options for enterprise

At Attachmate, our work in the managed file transfer space has exposed us to the most complex file-related challenges enterprises face today. Without question, harnessing existing IT assets is one of the most oft-overlooked opportunities for enterprises to build more efficient, secure file sharing and storage arrangements.

If you know your IT resources are underutilized, there’s almost certainly a cost-effective, value-generating way to put them to work. And if you have an inkling that there might be superfluous files taking up space on your servers (hint: there probably are!), making better use of your owned infrastructure could be a simple matter of gathering actionable data.

Regardless, there’s an entire suite of relevant, effective tools on the market that can help your organization optimize IT efficiency – and it’s likely you won’t have to invest in additional hardware. So take a step back. Examine the challenges you face. Ask whether these tools can help.

We’re here when you’re ready to take the next step.

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