Importance of having a monitored and managed server
When running a business, effective management is critical to success. Management extends to all aspects of your business, including the IT estate. Which is why it is very important that your servers are always checked and monitored.
There are two different types of server management;
· “Proactive management” where the servers are always monitored and looked after, even when running correctly.
· “Break and fix” where you report service issues or outages as and when they occur to your service provider for fixing.
3 reasons why Proactive Monitoring is the better choice:
1) Improved reliability – If an outage or failure is imminent, the server will usually show some sort of warning before you even know about it. Your management company can then work to fix the problem before you lose functionality or the issues escalates to become a crisis. Most small issues can be fixed remotely reducing support costs and the need for onsite visits. Your IT service provider can also supply a weekly or daily report of network support actions and improvements to show how you are benefitting from their services.
2) Improved functionality – Your IT services provider will monitor your installed software, keeping track of versions and vendor support. By doing this, you can plan for upgrades of software which is no longer up-to-date or out of support. Your IT service provider will also be able to apply patches and updates to ensure your software is protected from security breaches and that you have access to all the latest features.
3) Saves money – Break and fix services are charged at a higher hourly rate than equivalent proactive services. The unpredictable nature of server outages makes budgeting for break and fix support much harder, often going beyond original estimates. The monthly costs for proactive management services are more competitive for both the provider and client. The client also knows that they will have support whenever they need it, reducing business risk in event of IT failures.
Here are the top 6 reasons for avoiding break and fix services:
1) You can only report a break and fix issue when there is an actual problem – your productivity is affected until the IT service provider can resolve the issue.
2) There is no additional information available about the issue or expected downtime while you wait for a technician to arrive to fix the problem. You are completely at the mercy of the service provider.
3) Managing break and fix issues is twice as hard – you expect periodic updates while your IT service provider works to repair the problem. Failure to keep you updated serves to make the problem even worse from a customer satisfaction standpoint.
4) Break and fix service calls are only logged after a problem has become detected and productivity has been impaired. Proactive monitoring allows for issues to be detected and fixed before they can result in downtime.
5) The break and fix provider doesn’t know what the exact cause of the problem is and needs to spend additional time analysis. Proactive management service providers will almost always know what the root cause of the problem was and how to fix it.
6) Without proactive management, important tasks like backups and antivirus software are not updated, causing extensive damage to the business in the case of a disaster.
There are a few daily tasks that are associated with proactive management. These are:
Backup checks – This is where you can look at the backups that have taken place and can view any issues that that arise. For example, if a backup did not complete properly, you have the opportunity to try the cycle again. Without that check, your business is unprotected in the event of data loss.
Patching checks – Patching checks are usually done every Tuesday. All networks are analysed and checked for security issues like viruses. Any found are then removed to reduce the risk of data loss or further security breaches.
Anti-virus checks – This is where we check that all the anti-virus software is up to date and that everyone within the company is using the same version of the software for consistent levels of protection.
Proactive management also makes the task of recovering data much easier, should you accidentally lose or delete it. The IT service provider will be able to roll back to previous data or configurations, based on their previous observations of the system.
Proactive management is much more reliable and client-friendly than the break and fix alternative. Because the IT service provider is made aware of issues as soon as they begin to develop, they are better placed to provide a solution before it can escalate. By the very nature of the service, break and fix takes longer to resolve problems.
If your business is using a service centre application for proactive management, you will be notified immediately when a computer has low RAM or a high CPU usage. You can then arrange to have the issue resolved before resource usage spirals out of control, resulting in lost data and downtime. Using break and fix, the advance warning is not available, so you will only know about the issue once the worst of the damage has been done, resulting in a larger repair bill.
What do you think? Which method do you find to be most effective?