June 8th, 2017 by adminOne of the most important IT practices that most people never think about is documenting their network. If something were to happen to your IT team would you know how to log onto your server or the passwords of all your employee’s workstations? It’s important to not only know how to get into your network, but also how well your network is being taken care of. Ever wonder if your IT staff are doing a good job? Take our quiz below to find out.Here’s a question you’ve probably never thought about: If your IT staff went away, would you know where all the passwords, data, software licenses and disks, key codes, and other important information were stored? Do you know how to log into your server? Do you know the passwords to all of your employee’s workstations? Do you know where your offsite data is stored and how to access it? Is your network documented so that another IT person could come in and pick up where they left off? If not, you are essentially locked out of your own network. If your IT staff are doing a good job, you might not mind too much; however, you should still have him or her document your network in case they didn’t show up one day for work. And if you aren’t really happy with their work and aren’t sure if they are doing a good job, that’s all the more reason you should make sure everything is clearly documented. Occasionally we’ve run across potential new clients who are not happy with their IT guy’s work, but they stay with them out of fear. They are afraid that if they were to let their IT staff go, those staff would harm their network. As one business owner to another, this is never a good reason to stay with your current provider. If you can’t trust the person with the most access and power over your computer network – the core of your business – you need to find someone you can trust. A truly professional person or provider would never hold their client hostage or do any harm in handing over the “keys” to another company. And any good IT firm should be able to walk you through the transition to prevent anyone from doing damage.
How to know if your IT provider is doing a good jobAnother reason business owners stay with their current IT person is simply because they don’t know what good service really is, and therefore lower their expectations. When we audit business networks, over and over again we see how difficult it is for most IT providers to do a solid job of day to day support, proactive long-term planning, implementing new projects, and taking care of protecting your data and devices. In 98% of the computer networks we review, we find faulty or non-existent backups, security loopholes, shoddy reporting, and flawed systems that cost more to maintain than they are worth and don’t align with the operations of the business. Plus, we often get 911 crisis calls from a business owners with a major technical disaster that could have been easily prevented. Why do so many businesses pay for substandard computer support? The world of technology can be confusing and most business owners don’t know how to truly verify that their network is secure. They end up having to take someone at their word which may or may not be reliable.
Quiz: How is Your IT Provider Doing?If your technician does not score a yes on every point, you could be paying for substandard support:
- Do they answer their phones live and respond to critical support issues ASAP?
- Are they remotely monitoring your network 24-7-365 to keep critical security settings, virus definitions and security patches up to date?
- Do the insiston monitoring your onsite and offsite backups or are they counting on you to notice any problems?
- Do they insiston doing periodic test restores of your backups to make sure the encryption keys work, the data is not corrupt, and everything could be restored in the event of a disaster?
- Have they provided you with written, network documentation detailing what software licenses you have, critical network passwords, and hardware information, or are they the only person with the “keys”?
- Do they consistently (and proactively) offer new ways to improve your network’s performance or do they wait until you have a problem to make recommendations?
- Do they explain what they are doing and answer your questions in terms that you can understand (not geek-speak)?
- Do they complete projects on time and in budget, or does every project end up taking longer and costing more than you expected?
- Do they offer any guarantees on their services?
- Do they have other technicians on staff who are familiar with your network in case your regular technician goes on vacation or gets sick?