Year-end for most businesses means a look at all operational expenditures and see if you’ve gone under or over your allotted annual budget. It is important to not ignore your technological and IT expenses as your network may or may not dictate the pace of productivity for your end-users, especially if you rely on it heavily for your daily operations. Whether you have an in-house IT, a managed services provider, or pay-what-you-use outsourced IT support, it is necessary to conduct regular IT reviews. An evaluation of your current IT management setup will let you see how much network improvement has been made or lack thereof, or if it’s still cost-effective to keep it.
Another thing to assess at this time would be your network. You can do it yourself by doing these five types of network assessment, or you can have an outside help from IT experts take a look at it for you.
So in what areas should you evaluate your IT setup with? You can start with these five areas:
Is your IT department regularly reviewing your network, software and hardware to ensure they are still optimized to the fullest and are up to date? We all know that at this day and age, technology rapidly evolves. This means that bug fixes, firmware updates, software patches, updated versions, security updates, and hardware upgrades are constantly being rolled out to keep everything up to date. Server and network monitoring and proactive maintenance should be in place and all that need to be updated are kept updated every time.
Speaking of proactive maintenance that should be in place, your IT team or managed services provider should be able to give you a rundown of all the proactive work they’ve been doing. This ensures that your network is kept scalable as your company grows and all security threats, remain, just that – threats – and are eliminated even before it penetrates the system. They should also be able to tell you of all the things they’ve prevented – connectivity issues, system failures and backup issues – through remote monitoring.
Constant Open Communications
As your business network is in the hands of your IT department or provider, it is necessary for constant communications to occur. Even with the control they have over your network, you should be informed of major issues, network changes and future updates and upgrades to be implemented, and progress of any IT projects. Information should be readily available should a need to look at a log arise in the case of a network amiss.
Data Backup Consistency and Success
With regards to communicating, are you made aware of when the last backup was completed? The backups they conduct – where they successful each time? Regardless if you have in-house or managed services provider, the 3-2-1 data backup rule should be implemented. Natural disasters are unpredictable and may occur without a moment’s notice and if you’re not properly backed up and suffer significant loss of data, your company may go under in as quickly as five years.
Commitment to SLA
Service Level Agreement or SLA is your guarantee for a timely implementation and quality performance level, depending on what was agreed upon. For managed services providers, this may include response times to help desk support requests and recorded accountability for work done. For an internal IT department, if the SLA is not being met, is it because of a lack of resources to tackle IT issues? Whatever the case may be, try and tie up performance level with the actual performance given so changes, if necessary, may be made before the new year starts.
To those on the break-fix or pay-what-you-use IT support model
Be sure you take a look at your monthly expenditures for IT issues you called your help desk support for and ask yourself if it’s still cost-effective? Could these IT issues have been avoided should you have people monitoring your network constantly? One way to know this is to ask your help desk support to prepare a managed services agreement for you to look at and compare which is more cost-effective. Oftentimes, they will be able to provide you with a more cost-effective IT solution that’s actually tailored to your network requirements and usage. Whatever it is you decide, just make sure you are not wasting money on unnecessary IT issues, those that could have easily been avoided.
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