Have you ever had your home computer network crash? Worse, have you ever had a crash in your business? If your answer is yes, then you will understand the pain and frustration and you will be ever vigilant to avoid this ever happening to you again.
But it is all too easy to fall back into old habits and to slip into the old thinking mode where you believe that “it could happen to me again”.
In fact, carrying out regular maintenance on your computer network is one of the most neglected aspects of business management today. It is surprising that in an era where regularly servicing a vehicle, or arranging regular checkups at your doctor and dentist are standard practice, that such a basic business process should be ignored so easily.
If you do not have access to a dedicated IT support team or an outsourced IT consultancy you may be completely unaware of the maintenance issues and tasks that need to be performed regularly to ensure the health of your computer network.
Let’s take a look at some of these issues before deciding on what we can do about it.
- If you have servers for your business you should check the logs every week for signs of emerging problems.
- Every workstation should be checked to ensure that anti-virus software is running properly.
- Every workstation should have software updates installed regularly and a weekly check is necessary to make sure of this.
- Backups of all systems should be performed daily to prevent data loss and preserve the health of existing systems.
- Internet usage reports should be monitored at least monthly to make sure that your browsing policy is being adhered to and that excess data usage is not being incurred by staff surfing the Internet.
- Firewall logs need to be examined to check on any intrusion attempts.
- All custom software should be checked for problems.
Whilst this list is not meant to be an exhaustive one, it provides you with an overview of the main maintenance functions that every business should be concerned with.
The issue of major concern in most businesses is critical data loss. This is a self evident problem and every business should have a disaster recovery policy in place, usually with an external IT consultancy firm, that be put into action as quickly as possible to avoid major issues arising. If adequate backups have been performed on a daily basis then most concerns can be eliminated immediately.
A simple way to put your mind at ease is to commission an IT audit of your system. This means that an IT consultancy firm will visit your premises and audit your IT environment and give you an easy to understand report of the status of your system. This is a good way of highlighting any preventative measures you can put into practice immediately. The cost of this type of service is generally minimal, usually no more than a few hundred dollars.
Regular maintenance is an essential part of your network management and is the best and cheapest insurance policy your business can have.