The Advantages of Proactive IT Maintenance

According to a recent survey by EMC, 49 percent of organizations have suffered downtime in the past 12 months. While many people think of natural disasters as leading causes of downtime, they actually represent less than 5 percent of downtime events. The top causes of downtime and data loss include:

  • Hardware failure (53 percent)
  • Loss of power (39 percent)
  • Software failure (38 percent)
  • Data corruption (29 percent)
  • Accidental user error (26 percent)

The good news is that these issues are often preventable, or at least can be caught before they result in downtime. That’s one of the prime advantage of proactive monitoring and management, which helps to detect potential problems and ensure that maintenance is performed on a regular schedule.

Proactive IT support is a lot like going to the doctor for routine checkups so that something can be prescribed if symptoms of a medical issue are detected. Similarly, we take our vehicles in for oil changes and other maintenance in order to avoid a major mechanical problem or breakdown.

There is one major difference — the IT infrastructure needs to be monitored and managed continuously if proactive maintenance is to be effective. The dynamic nature of the IT environment, coupled with ever-increasing security threats, means that problems tend to crop up suddenly. Periodic checkups are simply inadequate to prevent performance problems, data loss or downtime. When downtime does occur you are looking at much greater expense due to lost productivity, poor customer service and repairs that must be performed on an emergency basis.

That’s why enterprise-class managed services always include remote monitoring of the IT environment. The managed services provider (MSP) looks for a wide range of issues, including:

  • System errors that may point to imminent hardware failure
  • Disk drives that are nearing capacity
  • Security threats, including malware and hacking attempts
  • Backup processes that are failing
  • Network slowdowns and bottlenecks
  • Operating system or application errors

When these problems are detected, the MSP can identify the source of the issue and take steps to remedy it, or recommend upgrades if the problem cannot be fixed. This is especially important if you have older equipment in your environment — constant firefighting to repair problems that never seem to go away seldom make sense when upgrades can be done affordably.

A key aspect of proactive IT maintenance is the installation of software upgrades, patches and security updates. Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) often lack the resources to ensure that updates are handled in a timely manner. This opens up the organization to risk of security threats and downtime.

Of course, malware, hacker attacks and other risks happen constantly, often before patches become available. So-called “zero-day attacks” can only be detected and addressed through constant vigilance. Proactive IT maintenance and monitoring can help ensure that the attack is addressed quickly and damage is contained.

Addressing IT issues after a problem occurs is costly and disruptive to your business. Let develop a comprehensive managed services program that helps minimize downtime through proactive maintenance and support.