Proactive IT Support Keeps IT in the Background

In many ways, information technology is best when it’s out of sight. Ideally, day in and day out your employees will productively use software and systems without giving things a second thought. Their access is fast. Everyone on your team is connecting to what they need flawlessly—no error messages, crashes, glitches, or delays. Your IT is serving youYou are the master of your IT domain (pun intended!).

But here’s the catch when it comes to networks, devices, and other hardware. Ignore them and take them for granted and their performance will only go in one direction—down. There’s a scientific principle called entropy, that essentially says when things are left alone, they’ll eventually fall apart. That’s especially true in the world of IT.

So just because you feel you may have the luxury of putting IT in the back of your mind, or even ignoring it for a while, doesn’t mean you should.

What should be done?

Proactive Hardware IT Support

Unless you work in a pristine data center, your servers, desktops, laptops, and routers will collect dust and other contaminants that can clog cooling systems and worse. (One of our techs swears he pulled a ham sandwich out of a laptop hard drive the other day.) Use specially designed cleaning products to maintain keyboards and other hardware surfaces.

Keep an eye on storage capacity. Even though there’s space limits for drives and capacity limits for routers, most of us just keep blindly adding to the load. Someone needs to monitor this expanding balloon (and be prepared to make the balloon bigger) before it bursts!

Then there’s office configuration, placement, and cabling. Did your admin put the new network switch or router under his desk? Are your servers stacked in an unlocked closet?

At Analytics, we uncover these types of disasters waiting to happen through regular onsite visits. The personal touch allows us to serve our clients much more completely than if we tried to do all our support remotely.

Proactive Security Support

With regard to backups, have a Plan A (using onsite devices) and a Plan B (Cloud-based) procedure and enforce each one as if it were your only backup strategy. But when was the last time you checked to make sure you’re capturing the right files? And have you ever actually tried to restore your files from either of your backup plans just to see if will work when you need it most?

Next of course are the barriers between your network and all the cybercriminals and malicious hackers. Again, we recommend a two-stage approach. First, you need a Cloud-based firewall, or more specifically an “edge device,” that sits between the Internet and your network keeping an eye on your email spam, viruses, and malware. Supplement this with a true, on-premise firewall loaded on your network protecting you from intrusions and hazardous downloads. Duplicative? Yes, in some ways, but each has its strengths. Redundant? Yes, but that’s not a bad thing. Best practice? You bet.

Putting this All Together

There are dozens of additional proactive things you can do to keep your IT in the background so your employees can stay in productive, stress-free IT bliss. Remember to strategically upgrade equipment and software, maintain service agreements, reconfigure networks as needed, and monitor event logs to predict future problems.

Many midsized companies engage with an IT managed service provider (MSP) to act as their expert outsourced IT department to take all of this off their plate. The best MSPs will set a regular schedule for proactive IT support with:

1.     onsite visits to check on things for themselves and talk directly with users
2.     remote routine maintenance and monitoring

In Closing

Pick any analogies that resonate with you: your car, home, relationships, health… They’ll only stay in optimal working order with regular maintenance and TLC. Without that, they’ll deteriorate and ultimately break down. Your IT system deserves no less.