Keeping IT Systems Up & Running in Mid-Market Companies
Maintaining your IT infrastructure is essential to your company’s day-to-day functions. If an essential part of your system goes down, your business will grind to a halt. And downtime is expensive: mid-size companies lose around $5600 per minute when their IT systems fail.
Downtime also affects your reputation with consumers. Any time they cannot reach you, they leave with a negative impression, which they’ll remember the next time it comes to choosing between you and your competitors.
Proactive IT maintenance is the solution to preventing IT breakdowns. When you make your IT infrastructure a priority from the start, you minimize downtime and streamline customer interactions.
Best IT Practices for Managing Your IT Infrastructure
Keeping your IT infrastructure well maintained requires constant vigilance and a variety of regular responsibilities. To ensure your system runs smoothly and consistently, you’ll need to:
- Maintain security: Check for suspicious activity, install updates, monitor password use, and test the security system.
- Replace outdated and defective hardware: Old computers and other hardware components are inefficient and costly to maintain.
- Carry out backup maintenance: Verify your backups, watch for backup notifications, and monitor for errors to keep your system viable.
- Maintain software purchases and updates: Ensure that patches and updates are applied automatically as soon as they’re released for the best performance and security.
- Monitor data storage and bandwidth: If your storage fills up or your bandwidth becomes overloaded, this will lead to significant slowdowns.
This list is not exhaustive; the comprehensive list of necessary IT tasks for successful infrastructure maintenance is long and often complicated, but these are basic practices every business can start with.
The Critical Importance of Proactivity
The goal of all this monitoring and maintenance is to prevent issues before they happen through proactive measures.
Using a preventative strategy instead of merely reacting to issues and slowdowns after they occur saves you time and money. Although everyone comes across a situation that requires a little IT help every now and then, in the ideal situation, you don’t even have to call your IT provider for support because they keep your systems moving behind the scenes.
Transitioning from a Reactive to a Proactive Approach
A reactive approach looks like this: You run into an IT problem that shuts down part of your operations, you call a break/fix provider, they help you remotely or make their way to your office—maybe immediately, but maybe taking several hours to get there—and they fix your problem. Then they send you an invoice for an amount that wasn’t disclosed beforehand, and the process repeats the next time you face an issue, and the next, and the next.
The whole process is unreliable, often expensive and slow, and definitely inefficient because it slows productivity while your employees are waiting for the problem to be fixed.
A proactive approach looks like this: Your systems are always up and running.
That’s pretty much it! But that’s because your IT team has taken the steps to implement IT systems that can support your operations fully, monitoring systems that alert them when there’s suspicious activity or potential vulnerabilities so they can patch them before they cause problems, and long-term strategies that plan for updates and improvements as your business grows and technology evolves.
Transitioning to a proactive approach to IT can be as simple as changing your IT provider. It does require adjusting your budget to account for continual monitoring and support, but it saves you money in the long run because there are no unpredictable costs involved: users switching to managed IT services actually save money, sometimes as much as 25% of their previous IT maintenance costs. You benefit from a more efficient system and improve your bottom line at the same time.
If your internal IT department isn’t taking a proactive approach through monitoring, long-term strategizing, and more, it may be time to consider hiring outside experts to help your team set up the right solutions.
Utilizing ITIL for Your Baseline IT Strategy
ITIL, or the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a compilation of best practices for IT service management and processes. Whoever runs your IT needs to be up to date on ITIL and use it to create a stable IT environment that can adapt to your company’s changing needs.
ITIL contains the expertise of IT professionals around the world and applies to nearly every industry. IT specialists consider it the most comprehensive guide to IT management. It includes best practices for:
- IT service management
- IT asset management
- Driving stakeholder value
- Aligning IT strategies with business goals
- Optimizing all-around IT performance
The ITIL is a great place to start when it comes to optimizing your systems for uptime and creating your information technology strategy.
The Best Strategy for Smooth Day-to-Day IT
Working with professionals who provide managed network services is the best way to proactively and consistently keep your IT systems up and running.
ISG is a leader in managed IT services. We bring our expertise to your IT infrastructure and software to ensure you avoid costly downtime and benefit from the latest technology.
ISG also has a sophisticated team of certified engineers who keep your infrastructure in top shape—including your server, routers, firewall, SANS, and access points. The best talent in the industry is on call for your business.
Keep your IT in top shape by using ISG Technology’s managed network services. Contact us today to get started.