When it comes to technology, many businesses take the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” approach.
This strategy used to be feasible when your biggest IT issues were a failed hard drive or a jammed printer.
Things are different today. The motto should now be “manage it now, or spend more tomorrow to fix it.”
The most critical IT issues aren’t easily seen until they become big, disruptive problems that bring productivity to a halt. We’ve created a list of essential computer services every business needs to prevent these common problems from dragging you down.
When there’s no central point of contact for tech problems and your CIO uses different vendors for various services, employees may not know who to call when there’s a computer issue.
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They end up on the phone, wasting time on hold, and getting transferred from one vendor to the next. A help desk staffed by experienced, certified technicians offers your team one point of contact for resolving issues.
Help desk services are needed by businesses of all sizes. With help desk, you won’t lose productivity and your employees won’t deal with the frustrations of getting the technological run-around. When there’s a password change, when hardware or software needs attention, when anything at all is wrong with your tech, they’ll call one number and get their problem addressed right away.
Help desk support runs at a flat rate which allows for a predictable budget. It’s an always-available service that will include general technical support, as well as anti-virus help, vendor management, and monitoring of your network whether your servers are in-house or not.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
In order for day-to-day business to flow smoothly and efficiently, your files need to be accessible and stored in the right place. When you don’t have proper storage and a good file management system in place, you’ll end up in a scramble when something goes wrong.
This leads to inconsistent customer interactions, confusion over which documents are current, and poor internal workflows.
As a starting point, a backup and disaster recovery plan ensures centralization and organization of files, as well as a point person for your file management. The plan protects your data and files by storing them in more than one location.
Even businesses that already use cloud file storage can benefit from BDR. If you’re putting all your trust in OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
File storage through one of those services is fine until an employee accidentally deletes files or folders, or a ransomware attack occurs and you’re waiting days for the provider to try to restore data. Even worse, deleted files typically aren’t noticed by employees until it’s too late for Microsoft or Google to recover what was lost. Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery services will provide peace of mind that your company data is always safe.
Every business should be documenting its IT issues for a variety of reasons.
Documentation is necessary for compliance in some cases, but you should also use this information to better understand technology problems employees face on a regular basis.
Poorly maintained technology makes work difficult for people, and it leads to increased turnover. Believe it.
A ticketing system allows you to track recurring issues with your IT department and identify problems with your infrastructure. If, for example, five employees open tickets on Monday morning saying the network is running slowly, you know it’s time to take a deeper look at your bandwidth control or wireless management.
Managing these issues with the help of a ticketing system improves productivity and reduces frustration. It allows you to get ahead of small fires that could turn into big ones, while providing a bird’s eye view of your organization. This allows you to take weekly, monthly, and quarterly looks at your resources and the issues your employees face. With the information in hand, your company can identify pain points in IT processes and weaknesses in your infrastructure, creating a holistic view of its overall technological health.
Managed IT Security
A remote monitoring system detects a problem with your data security. Typically, security services will include anti-virus protection, patching, asset tracking, and monitoring.
Centralized anti-virus monitoring alerts your IT administrator when a threat emerges, when a computer is missing protection, when the protection is not working, and when something unwanted has been downloaded. If AV monitoring is set up, you can simply log in to one portal, see your 15 machines, and verify they are running anti-virus software and daily scans.
Centralized, cloud-based patch management works similarly and ensures new updates are installed automatically on a recurring basis.
Monitoring helps track disk space as well, preventing lost productivity when an employee runs software that halts work completely because there’s no free space left. When a hard drive is almost full, you’ll receive a SMART alert predicting eminent failure. All hard drives can send that report, but you need to have a system in place that connects the hardware layer to the monitoring system in order to do anything proactive.
Employees who have been trained on security, data loss protocols, and other office technology issues can help prevent disasters.
In an ideal world, all employees would be trained on these things, but we know that’s not always realistic for all Vermont businesses.
Our advice is to start small. If you have an employee newsletter, add information about your company’s technology and protocols to show your staff that you not only care about the tools they’re using, but you’re also actively managing its effectiveness.
If you’re able to do a little more on the training front, consider offering quarterly training sessions that focus on things like Microsoft Office, internet safety and searching, best practices for email, and the basics of how your company’s hardware, software, and operating systems function. These trainings can be conducted in house by your own IT staff or contracted with a vendor who comes in to give the training.
Investing in employees’ technological education is a solid use of funds.
Preparedness is key to productivity. Protecting your company’s files and data with a backup and disaster recovery recover plan and monitored security will help prevent losses and minimize threats. A help desk, ticketing system, and training empower employees to navigate technology issues with confidence while providing you with valuable information about weaknesses and problem areas in your IT resources. Each of these computer services are worthwhile investments that promote growth and success for Vermont businesses.