When was the last time someone leaned over your shoulder and fixed your technical problems with a few clicks? Unless you have a particularly handy spouse (or teenager), the chances are it’s been a while. Working from home means that your technical support is strictly remote. And since technical problems have the power to bring your company to its knees, we’re offering up five top tips to ensure you have the proper processes in place now – before issues arise.
1. Check for bottlenecks
Limitations on things like server performance and your office internet speed could be causing frustration throughout the business – and this isn’t the kind of thing that just sorts itself out with time. If the servers are stuck in your office, they might not be coping with the pressure of everyone remote desktopping into them. It only takes one person downloading a big file to slow things down for everyone, creating a backlog of work. Can you manage this from home? Also, make sure your backup is scheduled for a time when no one is working – it’s no good trying to run that at the same time as normal operations.
A faster internet connection can fix a lot of technical problems and enable your team to be more productive. See what you can do to upgrade your office internet connection – a new leased line may be necessary – or consider one of the alternatives below.
2. Put it in the cloud
We’re not one of those companies that advocates for a blanket move to the cloud – but it is the ideal solution for some applications. Email is a good example, as is CRM. And if you’re using server-based Office programs, a switch to Office 365 is a no-brainer. Moving some of your applications to the cloud gives you increased flexibility, reliability and business continuity, since none of those applications would then be affected if your office servers went down.
And if it can’t be moved to the cloud…?
3. Put it in a data centre
Moving your servers to a data centre enables you to continue using legacy applications/servers that are difficult to cloudify, while still gaining many of the benefits of resiliency, redundancy and reliability that you get with cloud. That’s because the data centres are designed to offer your servers the perfect operating conditions – efficient power systems and environmental controls – as well as high-speed internet connectivity. This also makes a data centre the logical home for systems with very high bandwidth usage and/or processing requirements.
On top of that, there’s the benefit that your servers are no longer left alone in your offices, but are in a purpose-built environment with 24/7 monitoring. Redundancies will protect against a loss of power or network, reducing downtime. And there are systems in place to watch for hot spots – eliminating the risk of a fire breaking out and destroying your hardware.
Data centres also have people on hand to carry out small maintenance tasks or server restarts you might need through their Remote Hands service.
What is Remote Hands?
Remote Hands is a service provided by all good data centres. It takes advantage of the fact that there will always be people onsite looking after your machines and enables you to ask them to carry out tasks on your behalf. This might include simple things like turning a server off and on again (a popular request), performing small maintenance checks, or wiring in new equipment to save your staff a trip.
4. Dust off your disaster recovery plan
All businesses should have a ‘worst case scenario’ plan that covers, for example:
What would you do if your office burned down, or was flooded, or in the event of a successful cyber attack?
Hopefully you already had one in place pre-pandemic and you revised it when you began working from home, but have you looked at it recently?
We strongly advise you schedule a business continuity test once a year where you put your plan in action and see how your company copes. Though it may be disruptive, but it’s a case of short-term pain for long-term gain. Better to find out in a dummy run that your plan has flaws, rather than find out during a major hardware failure.
5. Talk to your IT Support
Hopefully, your IT team or IT support service has been with you every step of the way throughout this strange and challenging period. Hopefully, they have been making suggestions for ways to get more from your existing IT setup, as well as recommending additional solutions you could try to improve performance. Have you been acting on their advice? Beware the dangers of technical debt.
Sadly, not all IT Support Companies are so proactive, while others are only proactive where they see an opportunity for upselling. So if you need extra help, we recommend outsourcing to an IT Support Company that is vendor-neutral and which takes the time to understand your business. Like all relationships, there needs to be a foundation of trust – so if you find yourself hesitating to call on them it may be that you either need a really good heart-to-heart or a new partnership.
Support your tech with a solid plan – and sleep a bit easier
IT problems are a major contributor to stress – not just at a leadership level, but throughout the company. And frankly, we’ve all got enough going on without added stress. These five tips are a starting point to help make sure your IT runs smoothly so that your business can stay connected, whatever else is going on.
We are here to help. If you need a faster internet connection, want to migrate to the cloud, or move your servers into a data centre, just give us a call. Even if you're not sure what you need, we can talk through your requirements and find a solution that works for you.