How to Analyze Your Current Technology
As you develop your Technology Plan, analyzing your current technology situation helps you plan for the future. In our previous post, you took a snapshot of your current computer network and workstations. So, let’s look at what you found.
The model and age of the equipment Age matters since computer hard drives and other components will all eventually fail. The older your computer is, the more likely it is to experience a failure of some type. A percentage of hard drives fail every year for various reasons. (The failure rate can vary widely from less than 1% to 11% a year or more and it goes up as the equipment ages.) As the years go by, the percentages add up and the risk of failure increases.
This means you need to consider the risks of keeping your old network server and workstations in use. Any server older than 3 years is becoming more vulnerable to problems. While some machines can last much longer, it is impossible to predict. So, after 3 years, you should start thinking about the costs and benefits of replacing your old equipment.
The amount of unused disk space you have left You want to address this issue well before you completely run out of disk space. A rule of thumb is that performance of your CPU starts to degrade when your hard drive is 60% or more full. You also need enough space to effectively clean up your data before you move it to your new machine.
The status of your anti-virus software, making sure it’s up-to-date New viruses and malware are being developed all the time and keeping your anti-virus program current can’t be emphasized enough. If your anti-virus software is not updated, doing so should be the first priority in your Technology Plan.
A list of the operating system and programs on your server and information about their licenses If you should happen to have a computer crash, a complete list of programs and the license information is essential to a quick recovery. Reduce your downtime by having this information with your Technology Plan.
What firewall you are using including whether it is a physical device or a software firewall We recommend all our clients have a firewall, preferably a physical device. You can learn more about firewalls here. Firewalls are like insurance, they protect you for much less money than the disaster costs.
A check of your firewall and anti-virus logs to make sure you know what’s going on there Both of these systems record events so you can see what’s happening. It’s always a good idea for you or your IT company to keep up with these events to spot problems early. Any issues need to be addressed in your Technology Plan.
Specifics about your current backup solution and procedures A good recoverable backup is so critical to reducing risk for your company. A RAID system is part of the solution for many businesses.
What About Your Worries and Frustrations?
Technology is complex and there are many issues you could be experiencing that cause you frustration or worry. Below is a list of issues that we often find need attention:
Network traffic can build up and create many issues. Symptoms include delays opening and saving files, users being dropped from the network, network slowdowns and ‘downtime’. Adding new users and new software along with running out of space on your server hard drive can all help create network traffic problems. Addressing these problems should be part of your Technology Plan.
The right software for your current situation is important. Having to enter data in two different places, or your staff not having the information they need to make the sales and get their jobs done are signs you need to look at your software. A better solution will improve productivity and results.
Remote Access can be accomplished in multiple ways. You hear the most about cloud computing, where you access software and storage through the internet, but many companies aren’t comfortable with security and other issues with cloud computing. If the primary benefit you are looking for is remote access, another alternative is to use the internet to access your company’s in-house server. This type of remote access allows you the freedom to access your network and applications from any location and any time of day. This solution is usually less expensive, creates fewer risks, and can be set up with excellent security.
Updates are vital for your operating system, software, and device drivers, along with your anti-virus. The hackers are always finding new ways to exploit weaknesses in all operating systems and you are vulnerable if your systems are out-of-date. If you don’t update consistently, you can experience numerous symptoms; from slowdowns, to strange error messages, to constantly needing to repair equipment due to viruses.
Backups are really about recovering data. As part of your Technology Plan, make sure you can actually recover all your files by testing your backup solution. Companies lose data all the time, sometimes catastrophically, and most of them thought they had a backup. A University of Texas study reported that 94% of companies that experience a major data loss do not survive.
Internet Filtering is fast and simple with a few firewall settings. You can prevent employees from surfing to specified websites or groups of websites with internet filtering. No need to lose hours of employee time to shopping, illicit sites, and videos. If you have concerns about non-business internet use, include internet filtering in your Technology Plan.
Now that you have analyzed your current technology, you have identified problem areas and vulnerabilities. Your future plans are the last part of the technology plan you need to consider and we’ll talk about that next month.
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Alesa Locklear provides content marketing, such as blogs and e-newsletters, to companies wanting to stay in touch with prospects and customers. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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