Technology is a benefit that’s wonderful and infuriating at the same time. The more dependent we become on it, the more we are negatively affected when it fails us. Unfortunately, that problem isn’t going anyway any time soon. The only way to resolve it is to minimize the potential for system disruption.
So, how can you best go about that? According to a 2009 study performed by research firm IDC, “Well-targeted upgrades, couple with a rigorous program to standardize and improve IT practices, can deliver substantial risk reduction and could reduce total annual outage risk by as much as 85%, in some cases, with downtime reduced from an average of over 2 hours per month to less than 45 minutes.”
If you’re an IT executive or IT-engaged business owner, you likely already know this. You also know how hard it is to manage your system upgrades and patches while trying to implement sound, standardized IT practices among company personnel.
In fact, if you’re an IT professional working for an SMB, you’re probably already spending more than 50% of your time on tedious, painstaking maintenance tasks, and still not getting to them all. (A 2010 study, “The State of IT Systems Management,” indicates that 67% of IT pros spend 50-74% of their time on maintenance.) You probably don’t have time to teach anyone, anything.
You may also be aware that there are great managed service providers that can give you end-to-end system management 24/7/365. These providers use automation tools to deeply scan your systems continuously, providing a level of detailed inspection that would cost a fortune if a person tried to do it (assuming it was even possible).
The best of these providers have a “command center” that lets them act on any signs of trouble immediately, no matter when it occurs. They also handle all your patches and updates, and in general keep everything running smoothly. (Hint: we’re one of them.) If you’ve never heard of these types of solutions, I’d be happy to tell you more—just give me a call.
If you’re aware of them, but budgetary restrictions or management resistance prevent you from exploring them, here’s a bit of ammunition: The IDC study mentioned earlier found that SMBs lose as much as $70,000 in business value (sales, productivity, customer service and other tangibles), per hour of downtime. In nearly every scenario, turning system monitoring and maintenance over to a third-party vendor will save you more than it costs.