Far too often, companies spend their money on IT repair work, rather than trying to prevent the problem. The result? Repair bills that can far exceed an allotted IT budget, making money difficult for the rest of the quarter. The best solution is to prepare your company for this foreseeable issue. Avoid a budgeting disaster by eliminating “unexpected” problems before they have a chance to surprise you; indeed, most are predictable.
Proactive management of the following IT variables helps mitigate “preventable” crises:
- Security threats
- Life cycle awareness for your equipment, software, and applications
- Proactive systems’ management and maintenance
- Security threats
The year 2016 saw a dramatic rise in ransomware viruses and hacking. Ransomware is sent to a user through an infected link. Once the user clicks on the link, the computer’s data and its network are encrypted, thus rendering it useless. The only way to remove the ransomware from your computer and network is to pay a fee in order to decrypt the data.
In 2017 security issues have already begun to arise for many companies and must be taken seriously. Your IT provider needs to ensure you have a solid plan that is proactive and preventative to stop security issues before, when, and after they happen. Preparation and following best practices is key in saving you money and frustration in the future.
To protect you from incoming threats
- Professional-grade hardware and software solutions
- Employee education, because hackers are able to get to your system through links your employees click on. Remember, employees are your first line of defense. Hackers and viruses succeed by tricking users into opening infected documents or baiting them to interact with malicious emails or links.
Ongoing technology security management
- Software solutions
- Active monitoring
- Proactive best practices
- Proactive disaster planning
Lifecycle awareness for your equipment, software, and applications
Your IT systems are fallible. Unfortunately, equipment, software, and applications all have a life cycle. Machines break, software needs updating, and applications depend upon new releases to be compatible with new equipment and software. It’s a never-ending cycle.
- Physical servers should be no more than seven years old.
- Professional grade firewalls should be no more than seven years old.
- Storage should be no more than five years old.
- Workstations and laptops should be no more than four years old.
- Key business applications should be upgraded at least every two years and be no more than two major releases behind.
- Servers should generally not share roles with one another unless approved and supported by the application vendor.
- Key hardware and software should have active vendor maintenance plans.
Proactive systems’ management and maintenance
Your IT systems work together, so consequently, one element that doesn’t function well can throw off the whole system. Unfortunately, many businesses do not see impending failure until it is too late. This leads to costly, last-minute upgrades or emergency replacements that could have been avoided with strategic planning.
Contracting with an experienced IT service provider for an annual management and maintenance plan will ensure that not only are your systems serviced when there is a crisis, but also that the health of your system is being monitored and managed before an issue arises. The key to keeping an IT budget in check is to be prepared, educated, and have the right kind of support should an emergency occur.