Christmas and New Year IT systems review checklist
An ideal time to catch up and set out a review
Many firms experience a pre-Christmas rush of finishing off work and projects in early and mid-December. For items in the workflow that are on-going, there is often a sense of ‘parking’ them over the Christmas - New Year transition period until the return to work in January. Many businesses are likely to have reduced workload and staffing numbers.
Rather than sitting around eating mince pies, taking ‘long lunches’ and going home too early, this is an ideal time for IT managers and teams to carry out a review. Fire fighting duties, which often dominate the IT support workflow, often mean that requirements for admin and analysis are overtaken by higher priority support issues. The last few working days of the year provide an ideal time to catch up. When you are setting out your review checklist, here are items that you might want to cover and some reasons why.
- Ensuring documentation of assets such as hardware and software is up to date is a central organising element of good IT management practice. Knowing what you own, serial numbers, technical specification, physical location and the assigned user are all invaluable for managing hardware.
- For appropriate data points, the same applies to software.
- Compliance with regulatory frameworks may depend on hardware and software audits. Compliance with software licencing authorities, ISO accreditation and industry bodies such as the FCA all depend on auditing.
- Audits accelerate planning for upgrades and migration by eliminating time wasted on finding out essential information.
- Also, for purposes such as asset depreciation and insurance, the FD will love the efficiency of the IT function!
- Do you need servers on-site? If so, do they need to be of the conventional one-application-per-server architecture, or would a virtualised server and storage platform - a private cloud - be better? What are the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI)?
- If you don’t need on-site servers, consider the advantages of a public or shared cloud or a private cloud hosted from a data centre by a managed services provider.
- Would Hosted Desktop provide the best option, by delivering a familiar Windows desktop from servers in a data centre, geographical flexibility for office-based and mobile/remote workers, and practically bullet-proof IT security and Disaster Recovery capability?
- With the announcement that BT is to discontinue ISDN services, hardware-based on-premise PBXs for handling company voice calls are set to become obsolete. It’s well worth reviewing the firm’s telephony arrangements to see if it’s time to move over to a hosted PBX solution.
- Hardware, on-premise PBXs have a lifecycle and need to be upgraded or replaced periodically. Often, they are proprietary technology and have large investment costs attached. Depending on where your PBX is in its lifecycle, the time may well be nigh!
- A hosted PBX puts business telephony in the cloud and with all the features today’s businesses need. Consider the benefits of Unified Communications, conferencing, and call centre functionality.
- Centralised switchboards mean satellite offices and remote workers are seamlessly integrated, with a wide choice of call handling hardware options including softphones on computing devices, IP-based handsets and fully integrated mobile numbers.
- With no CAPEX for the PBX, low-cost call tariffs and a fixed price per user per month, the cost savings are often significant.
- Whether you need on-premise servers or not, DR more is more reliable when online data backup is part of the solution. Replicating server data to a data centre significantly reduces risk and opens up the options for choosing how best to plan for effective DR and business continuity with minimal disruption to operations.
- Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) provides a turnkey solution that restores your entire server-side IT capability in as little as 20 minutes from when you request the service is invoked.
- Backup as a Service (BUaaS) replicates servers to data centre storage from where it can be restored back to on-premise servers or hosted servers in the data centre if that is the most appropriate option.
- If you find that IT support duties have really held back other IT tasks such as admin, planning and migration, it might be worth thinking about the benefits of offloading support to an external service provider. For small to medium businesses of up to 100 people, a small internal IT team is likely to suffer from issues such as a lack of cover during absences and skill and knowledge gaps.
- An external service provider that specialises in providing IT Support as a managed service (an MSP), addresses these issues and ensures technology is better able to support the needs of the business.
- Some find that an MSP that assigns an ‘IT Guy’ to act as your first point of contact with ownership of the support function is an excellent solution. Backed by a full range of resources, skills and knowledge, it is a better way to ensure timely assistance when supporting IT in your firm.
- Such an approach frees the internal team to liaise and be more effective in planning and strategic activities.
Get more value from business computing in 2017 with HTL Support
HTL supports IT for dozens of firms, providing day to day assistance in the shape of a managed service and providing a nominated IT Guy for each client. This provides exposure to your systems and business that enables us to provide consultancy and advice on solutions that helps you obtain better value from your investment in business computing.
To find out more about how we are able to help with reviewing IT in your business, simply get in touch today.