Technology Quick Fixes to Help Improve Your Business’ Productivity

Thank you for joining me for the second part of our technology business planning series.  Last month we focused on the user experience and how planning to upgrade those components increases user productivity, lowers costs, and supports a healthy and happy workplace environment. Read the previous article, “5 Simple Technology Solutions to Help Ensure Your Workplace Gets the Biggest Bang for its Buck”. This month we focus on the technology, which is working for your business behind the scenes.  This technology is not often glamorous or shiny, but it is necessary for the efficient operation of your business.

Let’s jump in with one of the easiest changes you can make to improve your business’ productivity:

Your Internet Service
Most Internet Service providers are regularly upgrading their technology, their capacity, their coverage areas and marketing those increased service levels to new prospects. Those same providers do not go back to their existing clients and offer the enhanced service level. However, in most cases all it takes is a phone call to learn what options are available and to see if you can get higher service levels at potentially lower rates.

Additional simple changes you can make to improve your business’ productivity:

Your Servers
Most businesses have a server room with one or more servers. Check to make sure the servers all have battery backup or Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) to protect them, and other key components, from power failures. While it is common to replace the UPS when the servers are replaced, about every 5 years, the batteries in those units are usually neglected until there is a problem. While the overall device can last for several years, the batteries are typically only good for two or three years, halfway through the life of your server. If you don’t keep up with replacing the batteries, watch out when that storm rolls in! There is a high probability that your server may go offline, losing any files you had open.

Test your UPS semi-annually, and plan to replace the batteries proactively every 30 months.
After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Your Backups
When was the last time you tested your backups? We strongly recommend not backing up your business data on tape backups because of the additional maintenance required and smaller data storage capacity as compared to a disk or the cloud. However, if you back up your data on tape, keep in mind the tapes will degrade over time even if the tapes are kept in ideal conditions. As reported by Dell, tape backups have a 50% failure rate. If you back up your data on disk or via the cloud, you still need to test these backups. While disks do not degrade like tapes do, there are a number of items that can go wrong in a backup process to make the backed up data unusable, which may not always be reflected in the backup logs.

Check your backups monthly by performing a test restore.

For organizations that do not have the resources or capability to do a full cloud system test, restore a sampling of your data monthly. Restore the data to an alternate location and confirm the data is readable. If your organization has the capability of performing a full cloud system restore test, we suggest completing this once a year to ensure your policies and procedures are sound. Also, performing a full system restore will demonstrate how much time you will need to fully recover from a major disaster.

Your Server Room
Has your server room or wiring closet turned into a dumping ground for spare supplies, boxes, brooms and mops?  While this may be a convenient place to store these items, it can also be dangerous to your equipment and impact the healthy operations of your technology. Technology should be stored at 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity around 45%.

Ensure there is ample breathing room around your electronics.

For servers and other technology to properly stay cool, the devices need air circulation. You’ll notice the air coming from the back of the server is much hotter than the air going in. This is to be expected and if you have good cooling and circulation, it is typically not a problem. If open area is minimized by the crowding of supply boxes, then circulation is hindered. Even if you have cool air being pumped in, the hot air cannot dissipate away from the servers and other components, so they get hotter. This causes your servers to speed up their fans, causing more air to be pumped into the confined space. Before you know it, your server room has turned into a convection oven which can quickly damage your electronics.

To promote a “healthy” technology environment in your organization,
keep these quick tips in mind as you plan for the New Year.

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