Before we dive into why it is important to maintain your IT infrastructure, we need to establish a baseline for what IT maintenance is. Simply put, IT maintenance is the process of keeping an IT system up to date, ensuring it is stable, secure, and can operate efficiently. However, that really oversimplifies a far more complex and extremely important series of tasks.
What Are Critical IT Maintenance Tasks?
A company diligently maintaining their IT systems performs hundreds if not thousands of tasks a year. But are they all necessary? The answer is yes, but some probably more so than others. Below is our list of critical maintenance tasks.
- System Updates – For security sake and to keep a system running smoothly it is important to run all system updates on a regular basis. This typically includes updates to the operating system, other software used regularly, and even sometimes the hardware itself. The majority of security breaches occur because companies fail to keep their systems updated.
- Anti-Virus and Malware Protection and Scans – Again the focus here is security. If your system is not protected and information is lost are stolen, you will find yourself in a bad situation fast. Installing an Anti-virus program, making sure it stays up to date, and regularly scanning your system are critical steps you will not want to miss.
- Hardware Checks – A surprise hard drive failure or computer crash can lead to downtime, lost information, and lost revenue. Regular hardware checks can be done with a variety of diagnostic tools and will help you avoid issues by alerting you to them before they happen.
- Backups – Murphy’s Law tells us that even the most prepared businesses will still experience issues with downtime or system failures. Enter regular backups. It’s critical to have thorough backups of your entire system and every piece of equipment. That way when disaster strikes, you will be on your way to a speedy recovery.
- Data Cleanup – Business systems are often comprised of gigabytes or even terabytes of information needed for work to be done efficiently. Client records, transactions, business info, etc. If you want to keep your company and staff working productively, we suggest deleting unneeded files, archiving important files, and of course, backing them all up regularly.
Why Do I Need Regular Maintenance?
The details in the tasks section above really say it all. Regular IT maintenance is all about two things. Keeping your systems secure and your work environment productive. Unsecure systems and lack of productivity are the two leading causes of lost revenue in business today. From security breaches to a equipment crashing to outside devices bringing in viruses, the potential for issues is endless. While maintaining your systems regularly will not guarantee you avoid all of these issues, it will definitely help you avoid most of them.
Who Should Perform the Tasks?
By someone that is certified in IT and has the technical know-how to at minimum accomplish the tasks listed above. If you operate a small business or your company does not have this person/department, we strongly recommend hiring an outside IT company for maintenance. Do not skip it. While it may not seem important now, doing so could be a very costly mistake down the road.
We hope this helps answer your questions on IT maintenance and you now have a better understanding of why regular maintenance is critical. If you have additional questions, please contact us or put them in the comments below and we’ll be happy to help.