When Disaster Strikes: How to Avoid Computer Downtime and Keep Your Business Running
For most of us in business today, our work performance and ability to service our customers is directly connected to our computer systems running reliably. When our IT assets fail, business as we know it stops.
We need our hardware to work efficiently and we require around the clock access to our data and information systems.
When these systems go down, we miss deadlines, our employees lose productivity, and we disappoint customers and clients. This means stress, lost focus, and eventually, lost revenue.
In short…downtime sucks.
There are two major ways that our I.T. systems can fail us. Hardware failure and software issues.
Luckily, with a bit of proactive planning and some Boy Scout like preparedness, we can head off many of these disasters and keep things running just as smooth as a dolphin’s belly.
First, we will tackle hardware.
A recent survey from Quorum’s Disaster Recovery Report found that hardware failures account for at least?55% of all I.T. related downtime, and it takes an average of 30 man-hours to recover from this kind of failure to our systems.
And that 30 man-hours of recovery time is expensive, costing our businesses thousands of dollars or more in unbudgeted expenses and lost revenue.
There are two main strategies for preventing and preparing for hardware failures.
- Have Backup Equipment on Hand:? This can be as simple as having a spare mouse or keyboard in the office, to an extra laptop or tablet.? The cold, hard truth is, it’s not IF your hardware will fail, but WHEN.
When we have a spare available and ready to deploy, our downtime is virtually eliminated and we have time to replace the failed equipment without impacting our operations.
- Use Multiple Hard Drives and Cloud Backup:? Hard drive failures are especially devastating and drives can fail gradually, with defective sectors dropping out over time and without warning.
The key to avoiding these failures, and the resulting loss of critical data, is REDUNDANCY.? Utilize multiple hard drives on your computers and employ cloud-based data backup services that will ensure that, even in the event of a location based disaster like a fire or flood, your data will be protected on an off-site location.
Just like the hardware issues discussed just now, software has two main areas that can cause a business heartburn, when not properly managed and system failure raises its ugly head.
- Malware and Virus Protection:? According to industry surveys, threats to data security for businesses?cost an average of $3,000.00 per day, per user.? Contact a professional I.T. Management and Support company to make sure that your systems are protected with effective and consistently update anti-malware and virus protection software.
Just as critical as the software protection is developing and adhering to Computer Security Best Practices.? A well-qualified IT Support firm can assist you in developing a custom designed program for your business, but here are a handful of key points to adhere to.
- Don’t automatically click on links or attachments in emails.
- Keep your anti-virus software updated regularly and be sure scans are being executed.
- Be sure your systems are securely firewalled.
- Don?t allow data files to auto-execute programs.
- Keep passwords and other online credentials protected and secured.
- Software Upgrades:? Although keeping our software systems updated and delivering at peak performance is beneficial in most instances, this process also comes with some inherent risks to our system’s stability.? Software upgrades and updates can potentially cause conflicts with other software your business utilizes.Prior to deploying upgrades, carefully research any potential conflicts or consult with a qualified IT professional to be sure that one minor update doesn’t result in a major system crash.
As you can see, with a few simple, proactive steps, many of the scary I.T. disasters we all dread can be greatly avoided. Sound best practices, backup systems, and preparedness, along with partnering with a solid I.T. support partner will keep your business up, running, and most importantly, making money.