Whether you outsource the management of your IT to an external provider or you have an internal IT Department managing it, as a business owner you should be able to answer the following questions about your IT. Too often we hear “it’s done by the IT Company” and too often we see its not being done.
1 – Backup and Disaster Recovery
- What time of day is your backup run?
- Is it a full backup of everything or an incremental backup of the days changes?
- Where is the backup stored?
- How far back can we restore our data (how long are backups kept)?
- When did you last do a full system recovery to check the backups are good?
- How long would it take to restore the backup in the event of a failure?
- What monitoring is in place to check the backup has worked each day?
As the saying goes “nobody really cares about backups, only the restores” and it’s true, it’s not until you need to restore something from a backup you realise it hasn’t been working. Computer systems are not like cars, when your car breaks down it goes to the garage, you get a repair bill and everything is working as before. Now to take that analogy with servers, let’s say a server hard disc fails that’s it, it’s gone, sure you can buy a new hard disc but it is blank, you need to do a full restore to get your system back to where it was and if the backup hasn’t been working that is it, it’s gone, everything is gone. As a responsible business owner, you need to be doing regular test restores of your backup, why wouldn’t you? No Disaster Recovery plan should be based on hope.
“Nobody cares about backup’s, only the restores”
2 – Windows Updates
Again, something we see time and time again when a site switches their IT Support to Leap IT, we login to the server take a look around and it hasn’t had a single update applied to it for years. We are all great at updating our mobile phone to the latest version to see what features we are getting but we are not worried about running the latest server or windows operating system.
Microsoft tend to release updates the second Wednesday in the month and if they find a serious problem with something they can release critical windows updates daily. These updates need to be applied in a controlled fashion as some of the updates are fixing problems in the Operating System to stop hackers getting in. Do you think the airline industry runs on the same level of attention to its faults?, there’s a reason planes don’t crash very often!
- When are Microsoft updates applied to our PC’s and Servers?
- What monitoring is in place to make sure updates are applied?
“Can you be certain that all of your PC’s have the latest Windows Updates?”
3 – Anti Virus Software
Pretty self-explanatory really…….
- What Anti-Virus software do we use?
- When is the license renewed and who renews it?
- How many Anti-Virus licenses am I currently paying for
- What procedures are in place when new PC’s/Laptops/Servers are installed to make sure Anti-Virus software is always installed
- How often are machines scanned for viruses?
4 – Monitoring
It never ceases to amaze us when on-boarding a new client that so many of our competitors don’t have any monitoring software in place. In our opinion this is a basic requirement for any Managed Service Provider to monitor the equipment.
As a Company we have spent over £30,000 in the past three years developing our monitoring software (www.kaseya.com). Every PC, Laptop and Server we support has our Kaseya agent installed on it and this in turn provides us with a constant stream of information about the device. Here is just a selection of things we monitor as standard for all our sites
- Backup – Success or Fail, if it fails a ticket is automatically created in our CRM system for an engineer to look at it, this is critical.
- Disc Space – When any device has less than 10Gb of disc space left a ticket is automatically created in our CRM
- Disc drives – Servers usually have two or three drives inside them for failure, again our monitoring system alerts us if one of the drive fails meaning we can order a replacement and get it installed before you suffer an outage
- Anti-Virus – Is the device up to date with the latest definitions (it also alerts us if it detects a virus)
- Windows Updates – Has the device got all the windows updates installed and if not, which updates are missing
“It never ceases to amaze us that so many of our competitors don’t have any monitoring software in place”
5 – Staff Leavers
Staff will come and go within any business and your IT Support Company will probably not be aware of these changes but they should be kept in the loop. You should have procedures in place for when a member of staff joins or leaves your business, especially if your staff have remote access via a VPN connection, who disables this? How about their email, is it on the own phone? Who takes this off or at least changes the password? What about login details to the websites or external services you use? Do you change the password when a user leaves or disable their account?
When a member of staff leaves they should at the very least have their user account disabled so they can no longer login. You also need to make necessary changes to their email account so that anyone still emailing the member of staff doesn’t fall into a black hole.
If you cannot answer the questions above with confidence, pass this onto someone that can, so you know you are doing everything you can to protect your IT and the business that runs on it.
If you’d like any further information or help with your IT Systems feel free to get in touch at Hello@LeapIT.co.uk or alternatively why not give us a call on 0121 296 5545.
For over 17 years, Leap IT has been working with more than 200 businesses throughout the West Midlands and across the UK. We work closely with you to really understand what your business needs so that we can make sure you always receive the best advice and achieve the best value. With a breadth of solutions spanning IT Support, Communications, Cloud Computing, and Print, we see that your IT is completely covered from end to end. We ensure that your IT works exactly as it should, all of the time. This way, you can be free to focus on your business and use technology to help you progress rather than worrying about it holding you back. Nor should you settle for less. It’s what drives us on to be more responsive, more innovative, and more switched-on than your typical IT partner. We’re here to take your business’ IT to where it needs to be.