IT networks are the lifeblood of the office. When the system goes down everyone goes into panic mode. Deadlines start to loom, users get frustrated and the poor IT support team is challenged to get things running NOW!
Of course no one, especially the IT team wants this to happen. They spend their time trying to make sure that the system is running smoothly and that all of the components, software, hardware, infrastructure, communications ports, Internet connections, etc. are all humming along. Of course their efforts inevitably get challenged when something goes wrong. How do you protect from this?
There are several pieces to this puzzle and they interrelate so that if they are all in place the inevitable can at least be delayed and when it does happen the impacts can be mitigated.
- Put a disciplined and complete backup procedure in place. This includes daily data backup, daily server snapshots (specialized software is needed for this but it is worth the price), off site backup of critical data files, and monitoring of the backup process to be sure it works. If you don't check to find out is the files you are storing in backup can be recovered you could have a very bad surprise come failure.
- Deploy server and even workstation monitoring tools. There are inexpensive software services which will monitor the performance of a server or workstation and check critical components to warn of impending problems. Knowing how fast disk space is filling can avoid out of space errors. Checking for critical event log issues, anti virus updates, mail store size checks, and other specific monitors can help avoid problems. These packages usually send a message each day to tell you all is well.
- Buy proper server hardware and have it backed up with an onsite support plan from a qualified supplier. Many plans offer 4 hour call out and have technical resources who have the critical parts ready to install if they are needed. The additional cost for this level of security are worthwhile.
- Have someone designated to manage your network and make sure they know they are doing this. In many smaller organizations IT management is a shared responsibility and this can lead to things falling through the cracks. It may be less costly in the long run to hire a support company to take charge of the operation of your system and report to that part time person in your employ.
How's your network running? Have you put the pieces in place? What about your backup?
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