We meet new clients all the time, and 9 times out of 10 they don’t trust IT people, they don’t want to spend money on IT and they are basically just “winging it” to keep things moving along.
Some people have been able to get along without any problems and minimal IT investment. Those are the lucky people!
The rest of the world invests a lot of time with data entry, billing and this requires their network to be stable and accessible.
When we meet clients and propose our proactive plans, it’s generally met with a little bit of shock. “I’ve never had to spend money on IT, this is too much!”
…they have their oops moment. This is generally an event that takes their business down for an extended period of time or they have a major server crash that causes major data and financial loss.
We hate these moments because not only do we have to clean up a huge mess, we’re basically in rescue mode. We have a companies reputation and future at stake!
At the same time, we love these moments because we get our opportunity to shine and show how reliable IT can really be.
Here are 7 things you can do to make sure you never experience an oops moment!
1. Backups. Backups. Backups. Did I mention backups, because backups are so important. Backing up to a USB key isn’t reliable, nor is burning to a dvd drive and backing up to that USB hard drive. USB Keys can get lost easily, the memory inside them has a lifespan that can wear out. DVD drives generally skip the “verify” stage so you never know how good your data really is. USB hard drives while may seem great generally only have one backup on them, they are usually transported outside of a case. So damaging the drive can happen easily.
We recommend an offsite backup solution and an onsite tape solution. Both offer the ability to get email alerts so you *know* your backup occurred and is available. You want to have at a minimum 14 backups so it’s easy to go back and restore.
2. Invest in a proper server. I don’t mean something that has a “server” motherboard in it. I mean a product that has a computer know for servers behind it like, HP Dell or Super Micro. These machines are designed to be redundant and stay on at all costs. They go as far as allowing you to mirror your memory! They also have things like redundant power supplies and hard drives. They also allow for IT companies to have the means to monitor for failures in real time. So monitoring becomes very important.
3. UPS aka Uninterpretable Power Supply – What you buy at cost vs what you buy from us will be two different beasts. It’s kind of like a mechanic that buys all his tools from the Snap-On dealer vs Princess Auto. This applies here too. We recommend the APC Smart UPS line. They ensure your equipment has very clean power and have the option of a network card so you can monitor directly from the ups over the network.
4. Standardization – while this one seems like a no brainer a lot of people don’t know about it. Basically buy the same computer, same monitor etc for your whole office. This allow for easy repair of computers and even diagnosing a problem. For example if you have 10 computers all with windows loaded the same, all the same windows updates etc, they should operate at exactly the same speed. But lets say one user who truly hasn’t modified their computer starts to have problems with the computer crashing. You could spend a lot less time diagnosing the problem, move the hard drive to another identical computer and they are up and running in minutes. Now you just have to deal with a warranty situation and not an employee with down time.
5. Routers – Make sure your router is locked down from anyone trying to hack it from the outside. This may not seem obvious but a lot of routers have out dated firmware that can allow someone to hack your router giving you access to your network.
6. SPAM – Not the meat! But just as bad! – use an email provider that uses a reputable spam filter. For example we use the Barracuda Spam Appliance. Barracuda is a leading provider of e-mail software that helps in the battle against unwanted spam.
7. Outsource your network security – We might be a touch bias but we feel that hiring a reputable company to manage your hosting and security is one of the smartest decisions you can make. You don’t want the liability to fall on your shoulders when an attack renders all computers on your network useless.