As we depicted in figure 2-1 in chapter 2, “The 10 Steps to a Digital Practice,” infrastructure is the foundation for your entire information system. Therefore, it requires nothing less than a complete focus on reliability, performance, and security. The good news is that through the use of secure data centers and cloud computing, it is much easier and more cost effective to develop a world class IT infrastructure for even the smallest accounting and tax practice.

Infrastructure Defined

If you ask ten different IT professionals to define infrastructure, you are likely to get ten different answers. However, they will all agree on the fundamental components. To help simplify the definition, table 3-1 identifies the components of infrastructure. We have put each item into one of two categories: server-based infrastructure and peripheral.

You have four basic alternative approaches to addressing your server-based infrastructure today. We have defined each of these and pointed out the pros and cons of each option in the following list:

  1. Traditional. On-premise server infrastructure managed by internal staff.

  2. Managed service. On-premise server infrastructure managed by external service provider via the cloud, or managed service.

  3. Hosting, aka IaaS (infrastructure as a service). Data center hosting of server infrastructure managed by the service provider and accessed by ...

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