Businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on workplace, rather than desktop IT services, this means a reliable support system is crucial in order to absorb and protect this increasingly fragmented set-up. Network glitches are inevitable – irritating without being too damaging. However, a full scale IT disaster can inflict fatal consequences for business. Which is the best way to avoid this?

In the event of an IT catastrophe, loss of revenue is at stake. Not only does it cost to bring a system back online, but also the cost to a company’s credibility when all has failed. Building a reliable and trustworthy reputation in business can take years, which can be undone in the time it takes for a voice at the other end of the phone to say, “Would you mind calling back later? Our computer system’s crashed.”

As well as the customer’s loss in confidence, there is also the threat of fines, punitive sanctions and external investigations for companies that breach new European data protection legislation. The list of potentially punishing IT failures is dauntingly long significantly for smaller businesses.

With so much at stake, the first step to negating network failure is identifying the data, infrastructure and applications at risk. It’s then imperative to back these systems up to ensure vital data can be restored before major damage is done. In this instance, an old-fashioned tape archive held offsite might offer a solution.

Preventing this from occurring is more valuable than curing, therefore identifying hardware issues before they happen is key to staying one step ahead of the glitch. A regular review of your company’s IT infrastructure will flag-up whether hard discs are reaching maximum capacity; if memory is low or whether the internet connection needs updating to cope with increased bandwidth usage. With that in mind, regular monitoring of website performance may help web page loading delays or action requests, all of which can prove a major frustration for clients accustomed to an instant response.

Your systems recovery method is also worth considering when server anomalies occur. A common response is to manually reboot the entire server. However, automating the server or service when it’s lost for a certain period of time should help prevent extended interruption to services.

And while we’re at it, let’s not underplay the importance of antivirus software in the never-ending struggle to stave off security breaches – although it shouldn’t be the only line of defence. The security blanket can be strengthened by paying close attention to uncommon traffic, CPU spikes or “brute force” log-in attempts.

The office climate can also play a part in maintaining a fully-functioning in-house network system. It’s not only staff that suffers in high temperatures or humidity – server rooms can also be rendered inhospitable, leading to a misfiring network. Water leaks and brightness are also potentially harmful, so just as you would provide conditions for employees in which to thrive, so you must all-important computer mainframe equipment. This means paying close attention to cooling systems to ensure devices avoid becoming overheated.

The causes of network failure are manifold, and the threat of a total system meltdown will never be eradicated all the while technology refuses to standstill. But even if we can’t fully keep pace with the potentially calamitous technical variables, the implication and adherence to sensible procedures might at least help us stay in touch.

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