Thursday, September 16, 2010

Balancing Network Reliability with Cost : The Never Ending Struggle

Intro - The Cost of Handling Network Problems

Some might say that the number one problem in Network Reliability is cost. When your equipment fails, you have to be ready to pay for the solution to keep your productivity on track. What is that cost going to be? $200 or $5,000? Are you ready to shell out that kind of cash if your computer, server or printer blows up

Trusting Your Provider

The number two problem in Network Reliability is trust in your service provider. Many business owners are learning more about their technology needs and how technology works, leading to the all familiar discovery: that their technology support company is not doing what they are being paid to do. Find a reliable company that will provide reliable support … now that's a tough task all on its own. Your service provider should talk with you about how best to find the right balance.

Finding a Balance

How do you find that delicate balance between network reliability and cost? As a business owner, you must find a trusted company to provide the services you need within or under your allotted technology budget. Your word is the final word. Your technology support company can give you all the advice on the planet, but it is your decision whether or not to move forward.

Do you follow your gut instinct, or their advice? You have two options. The first is to ride the waves of uncertainty to try and save a buck, but you may accept this option at enormous risk. The second is to pay a reasonable (depending on the company), consistent fee, so you can stay educated of your future costs. More often than not, the second option is what will save you money, but it is difficult to see beyond the thought of “unnecessary” maintenance bills. Regular maintenance will help prevent major problems.

Why Regular Network Maintenance? What Needs Regular Attention?

Monitoring of your email system to ensure it continues to handle your organization's email management needs as near to 24/7/365 as possible and verification that your malware filter is performing correctly.
  1. Monitoring of system updates (operating system and other software updates).
  2. Monitoring of protection software (anti-virus and anti-malware).
  3. Monitoring of and addressing system alerts (errors, crashes, restarts, and space issues).
  4. Monitoring or regular checks of your system backup. Is it happening when scheduled? Is it completing? Can it be used to recover data when it is needed (backup validation)?
So help us help you. With regular maintenance, you will experience less network down-time. That alone reduces stress and increases productivity. With regular maintenance, your technology support company can also keep you aware of upcoming technology purchases that may be necessary to keep your network running efficiently. That equals budget awareness.

When to Call?

Though it will happen less often, you will need technology services in-between regular maintenance sessions. Knowing when to contact your technology support company is vital. (This part is especially important for those of you who are unsure about investing in regular maintenance.) So when should you pick up the phone?
  1. When there’s smoke or the smell of smoke spewing out of your machine.
  2. After you’ve restarted your computer and verified that the problem is still present.
  3. If you suspect your system has been compromised.
  4. When your antivirus software is not staying up-to-date.
Calling us will save you time and reduce problems. If you do not know what you are doing, attempting to fix the problem on your own may make things worse. That means it will take us more time to resolve the issue and that means your bill will be bigger. Sorry, but time is money. You’re a business person, you know how it is.

If you are experiencing minor issues, such as slowed response time or other odd behavior, here are some simple steps you can take to try and solve the problem:
  1. Save your open files, restart your computer and try it again.
  2. Verified your boot drive (usually your C:/ Drive) has plenty of free space. If full, work on removing unwanted files.
  3. Clear your Internet browser’s cache.
If you’ve tried these without success, please call your technology support company for assistance.

Conclusion

In all, network reliability is a never ending struggle for any of us. You must find balance with professional help. Going it alone may to cost you, because pinching your penny may, in reality, be costing you a penny… or two. Give some thought to what part of your IT infrastructure you can handle on your own, balanced with which parts you may need help. Give us a call. We’d like to discuss this with you.