Break the cycle of fault to fix with our 8 preventative cures that will help you move forward to proactive IT management.
Supporting the ‘always on’ economy combined with daily fire-fighting can take its toll on today’s IT leaders. It’s no wonder that so many are feeling the pinch. With no time to plan for the future and look at wider business issues, it’s easy to be pulled out of shape. But it’s time to get back to peak fitness with our eight preventative cures:
1. Identify and prioritise the danger signs
To help get your IT engine back into shape, you need to spot the danger signs that allow you to act early, prevent outages, and minimise business impact. Issues such as the recent security problems with Intel processors Meltdown and Spectre demonstrate the importance of prevention and early response, requiring prompt application of patches and operating system updates to remove the serious risks such issues pose to your business.
What you need is a proactive maintenance regime to increase efficiency and prevent bottlenecks and outages before they happen. Constant care and upgrades will ensure optimised performance from your systems – and avoid the mad rush to catch up when something goes terribly wrong.
2. Review your IT strategy ‒ Don’t lock it away
Your IT strategy is also crucial to preventing lost productivity, lost revenue, damage to your corporate reputation, and the effect each has on the bottom line. Is your strategy regularly reviewed as business goals and technologies change? IT is no longer just a support service; it’s crucial to reputation and growth. Senior leaders in all functions look to IT to deliver competitive advantage, meaning that IT strategy and planning must align with overall business direction at all times.
3. Make security a priority
The combination of rampant cybercrime and new legislation has made security a hot topic for your business. Government figures show that 90% of large businesses and 74% of SMEs have experienced a cybersecurity incident – if your organisation has yet to be attacked, you’re in a shrinking minority. Consider the TalkTalk hacking, for instance, that exposed the personal details of 157,000 customers and resulted in a £400,000 fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office. This is where preventative action becomes business-critical.
A truly fit IT function starts with the basics of IT security, including backup, data storage and disaster recovery.
4. Embrace the scalability of cloud
Cloud services are levelling the IT infrastructure field, making high-end services and applications available to businesses of any size. The pay-as-you use model provides instant access to all the resources your business needs, but without any additional capital investment. This allows your business to grow or change in line with demand, and prevents IT wastage.
5. Make resource savings with cloud security
The cloud has changed virtually every facet of IT. Consider security – data stored in cloud data centres is protected by enterprise-class firewalls and encryption that would be beyond the budget of all but the largest businesses. The fact that cloud systems are also auto-patched and regularly upgraded reduces your own IT overheads. The time and money that would normally be spent planning and executing an upgrade can instead be invested in strategic IT projects that will help to drive the business forward.
6. Fix your faults with outsourced IT support
Smart outsourcing smooths away the daily grind, by providing a designated support team with the skills to fix problems that sap your time and that of your team. This is how outsourcing acts as a preventative cure ‒ by creating space for longer-term planning.
Outsourcing gives the CIO expert third-party assistance, providing remote support and management capabilities to oversee day-to-day operations. The establishment of secure remote connectivity will allow third-party engineers to provide immediate support for issues moving forward, relieving the burden on your in-house team – and doing away with the need to wait for a site visit.
Because time is money, you need to ensure issues are resolved as quickly as possible. Your chosen IT partner needs to be able to fix problems at the first point of contact – or escalate them to the right technical resource as a matter of urgency. The faster problems are fixed, the more you can minimise the effect on operations and productivity.
7. Get preventative solutions from your outsourced provider
Over time, your outsourced provider should spend more time on preventative work than fault-fixing. As your in-house team works alongside the third party, they will see recurrent issues for themselves, and you won’t have to keep explaining the same problems over and over again. IT leaders should look for a provider that can deliver proactive management and maintenance to keep IT systems healthy. A reputable partner can:
• Analyse common issues and put in place preventative measures to safeguard continuous service availability
• Take ownership of the daily IT issues that sap so much time away from IT leaders and their teams
• Initiate regular meetings to suggest system improvements for maximum efficiency, having reviewed and analysed all of the data inputs
• Gain an in-depth knowledge of what matters most to your users.
8. Turn your provider into a trusted partner
Engaging with a trusted outsourced IT partner generates more time to look at the bigger business needs rather than being pulled out of shape with daily problems. By becoming involved in your day-to-day operations, your outsourced provider will come to fully understand your strategic goals and operational preferences. In this way, support can be tailored to the specific needs of your business. They can also apply their industry experience to solving fundamental IT challenges, or recommend improvements that will push your organisations towards its strategic goals.
Like the human body, every IT function needs to be in good shape if it is to be truly efficient. IT faults and day-to-day issues are guaranteed to upset the smooth running of your operations, and get in the way of a robust fitness regime. Getting back into shape will benefit you as a leader, your team and your business.