What CFOs Should Know: Routine IT Maintenance Keeps Your Systems Running Smoothly
Skip your oil changes, ignore the red service engine light…eventually little problems will turn into big ones. Routine maintenance in information technology is just as important for preventing problems as routine maintenance of your car. By keeping up with normal support, your team can prevent big problems like failures and outages, make sure security measures remain effective, keep systems up to date and supported by vendors, and ensure your employees have the IT they need to perform their jobs. Routine maintenance is cost effective, as fixing small issues now is likely to cost less than fixing a big problem later.
Routine IT Maintenance Tasks
Routine IT maintenance covers quite a few kinds of work:
- Software maintenance. Software from operating systems through applications needs periodic maintenance to install patches and new releases. Even if you don’t need the new features of new releases, you may need to deploy the new version in order to continue receiving support from the vendor, including critical security updates. Old applications no longer in use can be deleted to free up space.
- Hardware maintenance. Software doesn’t break down with age, but hardware does. Equipment needs to be checked and cleaned. Devices which aren’t used in normal circumstances, like uninterruptible power supplies and equipment designated for disaster recovery, should be periodically tested to ensure it is still functioning.
- Security maintenance. Security tools including antivirus software needs to be updated frequently to ensure you are protected against the latest threats. You also need to make sure your firewalls are kept up to date and that the rules remain consistent and complete.
- User maintenance. User privileges need to be reviewed periodically to ensure the permissions are appropriate for their current job functions. Ideally, privileges are granted based on roles, not individuals, but you still need to check that roles have the appropriate permissions, users have the appropriate roles, and users with multiple roles aren’t able to perform actions they shouldn’t be able to. Accounts belonging to former employees need to be deactivated.
- File maintenance. File servers need to be reviewed for space; old files should be archived and, along with temporary files, removed from servers. File permissions should be reviewed to ensure they aren’t world readable and writeable. Backup procedures need to be verified to ensure they aren’t missing any critical data and that the process is completing properly.
- Policy maintenance. All documented policies and procedures need to be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect current technology, risks, and requirements.
If you’ve been neglecting your routine IT maintenance, it’s never too late to start. An infrastructure assessment can identify the most critical efforts. IT consulting and managed services from Prescient Solutions can handle the load of routine maintenance for your team, freeing them to focus on more critical business projects. Contact us to learn how Prescient Solutions infrastructure support services can keep infrastructure breakdowns from slowing down your IT operations.