Most companies across the globe use computers in some capacity or another. It could be for simple accounting, sales databases or for something more crucial, such as holding the infrastructure of the company. Business systems, databases, online customer-facing software and critical operational processes are generally all maintained by computers and as a society we are now almost completely reliant on IT systems to ensure the smooth running of our businesses. Our economy practically depends on it and you could argue that we have become slaves to the machines that we built.
With this in mind then, it seems fairly obvious for many businesses to either setup an internal support department for maintaining the IT systems (particularly in larger companies) or for smaller businesses to hire and pay for technical support contracts from professionals in areas such as server support, visualization processes and general infrastructure up-keep.
Incredibly though, there are many small to medium companies who still, even now, insist on trying to manage their business systems by themselves. It’s understandable that cost is always a factor when looking at external resources, however, when it comes to the maintenance of your business on a day to day basis, can you afford not to pay for a full support plan?
Server Downtime Hurts
As a business owner, it’s common to brush all of the technical jargon under the carpet and to try and deal with issues as they arise but this could potentially be killing your business, or certainly cutting your profits a lot more than you think.
Server downtime is the number one IT issue for small to medium businesses in the UK and when your server goes down, there is nowhere to sweep those problems anymore. To shamefully further the metaphor, you need to grab a large dustpan and throw it all in if you want to get your systems back up and running and this does mean paying for systems support.
A survey of more than 1800 businesses saw that 22.5% of all issues were server related, where they were offline or there was a failure of some sort. If your business system was actually housed on a server that failed, you could be losing money every second. In this instance a support contract would enable you to have someone take a look at it remotely or physically and get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Surely, any business would see the benefit in paying out on a contract in order to get that little bit of security, which essentially saves your business from disaster when it strikes?
Server Setup, Maintenance and Support
Not everyone will know one end of a Gigaflop to another and nor should you have to, that’s what the experts are for. Surprisingly, despite those earlier figures, a lot of company owners think they can handle the business systems on their own and this just doesn’t make sense.
Setup, Diagnosis, Repair, ongoing maintenance and many other elements make up critical parts of a support contract that are designed to help. Some immediate benefits that come to mind are:
- Peace of Mind – No more losing sleep over whether the system will be working in the morning
- Setup and ongoing support – Servers and the data on those servers can be at risk if hackers or viruses attack
- Hardware Failure – Not that common with Servers but storage and backup of your integrated systems area must-have and support contracts will take care of this.
- Servers Overheating – It happens occasionally and with the correct setup and maintenance in place, it shouldn’t happen very often. There are measures available to combat this problem.
- 24/7 Support – Your business will rarely be offline for more than 24 hours and then only for perhaps Christmas Day so it’s important that your support package covers you every day of the year, no matter what the time.
Multi-Support is Just as Important
Although server issues can cause a host of problems for your business, IT is so intrinsically linked with how we operate every day that there are other potential hiccups which could cause business downtime.
Further results from the survey showed a variety of faults which could affect productivity. Again, these percentages are from a survey of 1800 businesses.
- Failed Backups – 16.62%
- Low Disk Space – 15.1%
- Hard Disk Failure – 6.55%
- Overheating Servers – 0.75%
- Fail to Start – 7.09%
A lot of support professionals may have an answer to cutting your costs and still maintaining a high level of support. For instance, Server Virtualization has become very popular and is a great way to reduce power consumption and consolidate servers for those with multiple and sometimes unnecessary servers for various applications. There are also separate storage solutions available which most support teams would recommend, if nothing else to ensure that your servers and backup storage are separated in case the worst happened.
It’s unlikely that one small to medium size business would be able to effectively manage these issues without technical support and expertise. The economy has taken a hit over the last few years and everyone has felt the pinch. IT companies are no different and businesses with IT systems in place are looking to reduce costs all the time. So why hire external staff? Because the cost of not doing so could be irreparable to your business.
Charlie works with Abtec Network Systems and is enthusiastic about promoting the importance of internal business systems support.