Infrastructure is the framework running under your entire business — so it only makes sense that an infrastructure audit would look at the whole picture. If your infrastructure touches your email, applications, timesheets, employee communication and anything else, the audit should as well.
Unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way in practice. We’ve seen firsthand that infrastructure works better when you break it out of its silo, but not everyone has adopted a DevOps mindset. And that means so many infrastructure audits just look at the system for quick fixes, never learning why it looks like that or how to transform it into something better.
At Table XI, we see infrastructure audits as a chance to optimize your organization. As we do with everything, we want to set our partners up for future success, and we’re willing to take the time to do that properly. When we come in, we’ll start by learning everything about how your system works and what it needs to do. Then we’ll suggest improvements to the architecture and the tools alongside improvements to the culture and communication across your teams. Too often, the divisions between your infrastructure team and your developers leave gaps that good ideas fall into. By examining your organization from the front-facing apps all the way back to the bare bones of your infrastructure, you can make purposeful, deliberate choices that give you both the desired results today and the room to grow in the future.
How do I know I need an infrastructure audit?
An infrastructure audit will assess how your applications run. Unlike a code audit, it’s less about the specific technologies and more about making sure all your systems are connected and running in the way that’s optimal for your needs. At Table XI, that means making a big map of all the ways your business uses its cloud space and how all the elements of code, applications and implementation come together. Then we take a big step back and find all the proverbial shortcuts on the map that will improve your system and your performance.
Need someone to recommend fixes for your code instead? See how we do code audits.
Generally, if you’re looking for an infrastructure audit, we assume it’s because of a few reasons:
- Performance. Your application isn’t operating as smoothly as it should, or you’re doing due diligence on an application you’re looking to acquire.
- Security. You want to ensure you aren’t leaving any holes that hackers could walk through.
- Unclear Vendors. Prices for your infrastructure keep going up, but you’re not sure why.
- Delivery Speed. Your developers and operations teams work separately and don’t share valuable information and ideas, increasing the time it takes to roll out new features.
Any one of those problems can harm your product and cost you money. Regardless of which one prompts your audit, they’re all things we’ll be looking for as we assess your infrastructure. We’ll find ways to improve your performance, we’ll perform an infrastructure security audit, we’ll make sure your vendors are only selling you what you need and we’ll help your teams work together better.
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Why our infrastructure audit program is informed by the DevOps movement
At its core, the DevOps movement champions defining common goals, working together towards them and continuously improving until you reach them. Those are principles anyone can benefit from, and they guide our infrastructure audit process.
To optimize your infrastructure, we need to get your software developers and sysadmins working in tandem. When these two teams work together, it helps to improve automation, reduce failure rates and speed up recovery. That’s just as important to the success of your software as the systems it runs on.
How to audit infrastructure the Table XI way
We don’t want to show up to your site, check a few things and quickly say “switch this server to this setting” and be on our way, immediately sending an invoice. If we’re working with you, we’re working together to to ensure your future work is going to be vastly improved.
That's true for frontend audits too. We'll help you find opportunities for reusable code
That means asking “why” a lot. When we first meet with your team, yes we need to know how your infrastructure is architected, but we also need to know why you got to where you are. Very rarely are infrastructure systems inefficient because of mistakes or malicious intent. Most of the time, it’s the result of a team doing the best they could with the information and tools they had at their disposal.
To get all of that context, we’ll meet with your team for a few days, immersing ourselves in your company’s culture, structure and goals until we get a picture for where your company is and where it’s headed. Our goal is to recalibrate your infrastructure to work now and going forward. What that looks like is completely custom to your organization — there isn’t a one-size-fits-all infrastructure audit checklist, or we’d write it right now and give it to you.
Our in-depth approach does mean we’ll need access to your team and your systems, and it is more time-intensive than standardized audits that give you the quick hits. But it also means your team will get insight into how we think about infrastructure and why we’re making the recommendations we are. That experience can go on to serve them well after we leave, even if we don’t do any formal training.
What you get with our infrastructure audit report
Think about every aspect of your infrastructure — security, speed, accessibility, etc. — earning a score of 1-10. A lot of companies will push you toward all 10s, regardless of what that costs or what your real needs are. Part of what we’re trying to determine when we meet with you is what good enough looks like. If your software currently earns a four for speed, and a six would give your customers everything they need, we’re going to stop our recommendations at getting you to a six. Over-engineering your infrastructure can be just as ineffective as under-engineering it. Our job is to help you reach your goals, not create a perfect-looking but fairly useless system.
When our audit is complete, you’ll get your rankings, as well as all the actionable steps you need to take to improve them point-by-point. But we’ll also set you up to work smarter going forward. We’ll recommend online resources that can keep you up-to-date on patches and changes, and we’ll recommend process changes that can get your teams working together more cleanly. By the time we leave, you’ll have all the tools you need to improve your infrastructure and keep it where it needs to be.
After an audit, it’s not just the infrastructure that will change
With an audit, we can only make the recommendations — it’s up to you to run with them. We do our best to make that as easy as possible, laying out what needs to happen in plain language and what you’ll get out of it. If you still don’t have the resources to make those changes, we’re can help out with training, or by pitching in on the work.
Even then, we need you to meet us halfway. Technology is easy to change. Culture is much harder. The tools and processes we recommend will bring your teams together, but to truly get top-notch infrastructure, everyone needs to start working together as part of the same team. That’s when things get really interesting, and when you’ll start to see gains you hadn’t even hoped for.
Want to take the first steps toward a stronger infrastructure? Email me and I’ll help you figure out what you need.
Published by: Patrick Turley in Developers