Importance of Maintaining Your IT Systems
There is a great phrase that sums up the maintenance of IT systems: If maintenance is done right, no one will notice that anything was done at all.
Alas, the opposite is also true. When maintenance is ignored, then these systems can break, the consequences of which can be far-reaching. These easily avoidable problems can result in productivity falls, loss of clients and the small business may not even be able to recover.
What are the primary types of IT maintenance?
There are several levels of IT maintenance that need to be performed in order to keep your system in top shape. They are all the same category of importance, although it is possible to see them in escalating levels of urgency.
The first is cleaning and updating.
- Removal of duplicate, temporary, and other unnecessary files that can clog up a system. If left alone, they can slowly build up to suffocate hard drives and system resources, slowing down the whole network. The slowdown might be bearable, but over months this can result in hours of lost productivity as team members wait for the system to catch up.
- Updating software to the latest versions. Not only do updates come with new features to make the team more productive, but they also commonly patch exploits and other security holes.
- Managing anti-virus. We previously wrote a great article about the benefits of anti-virus, and while they do operate relatively autonomously, occasional checks are required.
Following these steps, IT maintenance is likewise involved in managing backups throughout the network. Maintaining recent backups and backup systems are crucial to ensure that if the network is attacked, or if an accident occurs, all the company (and clients) data is secure. Plus, in Australia, there is a legal requirement to keep financial data from the last seven years backed up electronically. Backups are a whole other ball game and are an article in itself.
From here, IT maintenance is responsible for a slew of other factors such as network security, user accounts, and incorporating system-wide upgrades. Don’t forget that this support also includes documentation and ensuring continuation if a staff member leaves the firm. You don’t want to get caught out by not having an accurate record of how the system works together or a list of account information for the back end.
If a business is like a humming machine, then IT maintenance is the oilcan keeping the wheels of industry lubricated.