This could have be the shortest article I’ve ever written, as the question can be answered with a simple ‘no’ – but that’s not the whole picture.
Imagine working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – no breaks, no duvet days, no pamper weekends or holidays in the sun. Would you be able to perform at your best? Probably not. Just to be clear, in this article we’re talking about IT systems, not people. So, accepted human limitations (we all need sleep!) can be discounted, but you get the idea.
Even with the best care and attention, hardware can fail and software can go wrong. Your computers and networking equipment may not need a solid eight hours of blissful sleep a night, but they do need maintenance to perform at their best.
Many business owners think about downtime only ‘in the moment’. It’s first thing in the morning, the team has arrived, PCs are switched on and there is no network, no Internet – oh, and to top it off, the phone system goes down, too.
Your office manager frantically tries to reach the IT company, but their support hours are nine to five and your team start at eight. That’s at least one hour of productivity lost already. Most of the team are chatting in the kitchen over tea – a couple are at their desks shuffling paper, trying to look busy. All you can see is the cost of unproductive time piling up in front of your eyes and you’re about ready to scream, but there’s nothing the team can do without your system being online, so you’ll just have to wait.
And breathe … this doesn’t have to be your story.
How to reduce or eliminate downtime
There are no guarantees and downtime is likely at some point, but there are steps you can take that will:
- Minimise your risk.
- Reduce the impact of system failure on your business.
- Keep your IT infrastructure running optimally 99% of the time.
The first step is planning. Getting a clear picture of the here-and-now is essential to understand what hardware, software and processes are in place, identify potential weaknesses and highlight areas of risk. With a clear outline of what you have, you can create a proactive maintenance plan.
A maintenance plan could be as simple as running regular updates to ensure your system is secure. A more complex plan would cover the anticipated life cycle of hardware and a strategy and budget for equipment replacement or upgrades.
Professional support can give you the peace of mind that everything is taken care of – an expert’s eye will spot any areas that you might otherwise overlook and reduce your risk significantly. If you are using an external service to maintain your network you also have the peace of mind that if an error does occur, an engineer who is familiar with your system will be on hand to provide a solution, and this can save a significant amount of time and money.
Investing in your IT is crucial to avoid the negative consequences of downtime. Regular maintenance is not as expensive as you may think, and we know that prevention is far cheaper than cure. When you consider the cost to your business of having a team of people who are unable to work, plus lost sales, it puts into perspective the need to maintain a well-managed system. If you would like to speak to an expert, without obligation, please give my team a call today on 0845 437 9555