What Is a Technology Stack, and Why Does it Matter?
If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely looking to learn more about technology stacks or have never even heard of it. Well, you’re in the right place. As a managed service provider, we frequently receive inquiries about tech stacks from new clients. Whether you have or haven’t heard of a technology “stack,” you do have one; you may just refer to it differently.
Some common questions we receive are, what is a technology stack? How often should we pay attention to our “stack”? Does our stack need to be updated? These are all excellent questions to ask and a step in the right direction.
A technology stack can have a significant impact on your business. Maintaining a well-planned-out and refreshed “stack” will help to make your environment more efficient. It will allow you to focus on your business goals while your technology runs seamlessly in the background.
As a managed service provider, we find it critical to choose the tools in our technology stack strategically. We are constantly changing our technology stack and our clients to ensure IT environments are performing at a high level. To help you better understand, we will use our industry insight to share what a technology “stack” is and why it is essential to your business’s success.
What is a technology stack?
A technology stack is a collection of different technology that work together within your IT environment. The technology stack consists of hardware, software, applications, and tools that work together to make systems run smoothly.
Many different front-end and back-end technology go into a technology stack. It is essential that all the software, hardware, and tools you choose to configure your IT environment work in sync with each other to create a fully optimized environment.
What should a typical technology stack consist of?
Technology stacks will involve hardware, software, and applications in the server environment, infrastructure, security, user devices, and cloud. Each piece of technology must be chosen carefully so that your environment functions at the highest quality. Below is an example of what a typical technology stack will include.
Server: A computer or computer program that manages access to a resource or service in the network. There are many different types of servers, including print servers, file servers, network servers, and database servers.
Drives: A drive stores files and programs used on your computer. Drives ensure that information is safely stored when a device is turned off.
Virtualization: A virtual machine runs on virtual hardware. Virtualization lets you create virtual hard drives, virtual switches, and several other virtual devices, all of which can be added to virtual machines.
Firewall: A firewall is a security device that helps protect your network. This is by filtering and blocking incoming or outgoing traffic that does not meet security standards.
Switching: The switching manages the flow of data across a network. IT will direct a signal or data to a particular destination. Various types of switching are used to move data from one network to another.
Wireless Access Points: A piece of hardware that connects wireless-enabled devices to a network. They allow employees to work from anywhere in your office and remain connected.
Network Cabling: The medium through which information moves between computers, routers, switches, and storage are networks.
Power Protection - Provides backup power and surge protection to control and protect business electronics.
DNS-based Security: DNS Protection measures that involve DNS (Domain Name System) protocol. A DNS connects users to websites or internet-enabled applications.
Firewall: A security device that helps protect your network by filtering and blocking traffic. The firewall is implemented through either hardware or software.
Managed detection and response: A managed cybersecurity service that monitors and detects threats to remediate them as quickly as possible.
User authentication: This allows a device to verify the identity of someone who connects to a network resource. Any users who do not pass the authentication will not connect.
Cybersecurity training: Simulated phishing campaigns, cybersecurity awareness training campaigns
Vulnerability management: Identity, evaluate, and remediate vulnerabilities.
Desktop: The working area of a computer display.
Laptop: A portable computer
Tablet: A mobile portable computing device designed to be held in one or two hands.
Operating System: Software that acts as an interface between computer hardware components and the user.
Microsoft Office: A suite of desktop productivity applications used specifically for office or business use.
Server: A virtual server running in a cloud computing environment. Cloud servers perform application and information processing storage. If you have a cloud server this may negate the need to have an on-premise server.
Backup: A cloud backup safely stores copies of your computer files. This way, if your computer is damaged, your files are still securely stored in a remote server.
Email/Microsoft 365:Microsoft 365 provides a variety of mail accounts for different purposes. All emails in a web-based service are stored on servers.
Communications: Cloud communications include voice, email, chat, and video. It is an internet-based communication that streamlines and manages all communication channels.
How should a technology stack be chosen?
When choosing your technology stack, you will want to ensure that the stack can support your business infrastructure. You should consider the need for your technology in your business model.
Once this is determined, you will want to look into the best technology to fit those needs. It is safest to go with established technology. This means looking into how many years they have been providing their technology. This will help you determine that the tools have a good reputation and will be successful in your environment.
It can also be helpful to research what type of industries use certain brands and models of technology. If you find similar industries to yours, you typically use specific tools that may help you determine which will be helpful for your business.
It is essential to evaluate what type of tools you currently have in your technology stack. When choosing new tools, you will want to ensure that they are compatible with the ones you already have in place. This will help you avoid reworking your entire existing infrastructure.
You will want to make sure the technology stack you choose is scalable and secure. Find tools to add more processes and hardware to improve overall performance. Security should always be a concern. Ensure that the tools you are putting in your stack prevent data breaches and data loss to keep your business secure.
Why does a technology stack matter?
Having a solid technology stack can help your business to run more efficiently. It is essential to strategically map out your technology stack to ensure your systems aren’t running slow or failing. You don’t want a stack that is constantly failing on you.
Your technology stack can allow your business to have a better user experience and your clients. Investing in the right tools can seem like a daunting and expensive process. But, if chosen thoughtfully and strategically, you will feel your technology choices benefit you in the future.
How to find an MSP with a quality technology stack for your business:
Having a reliable technology stack is critical to your business’s success. If your company does not have a stack of equipment that can work well together, this can cause systems to run less efficiently than they are capable of.
An insufficient technology stack can also cause equipment failure leaving your business with downtime. When you have a solid technology stack that has been tested and verified that it will complement each other, you will have an optimized environment.
Your applications will run as they should, systems will perform better, and your environment will be more productive. MSP’s typically have a technology stack that they present to their clients. For this reason, it is essential to make sure your MSP places substantial value on what they put in their “stack.” You don’t want a bunch of random tools put into your environment.
If your MSP does not provide you with the reason for how and why they chose their technology stack, this is concerning. The technology stack they provide for your business should have been vetted and selected to ensure that the different products and technology complement each other.
If your MSP does not put a lot of time and resources into finding the most compatible products for their technology stack, this can significantly affect your business. They should intricately explain their process to building the stack and how it has proven to be successful with their current clients. This ensures they have done the work to ensure their stack will run efficiently and work together to enhance your IT environment.
If you are interested in learning more about MSP’s and how to ensure you are choosing the right one to support your business, check out this article: 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Committing to a Managed Service Provider.