We love our jobs here at Three Cherries, but we do have to take some calls from very frustrated customers when they have problems with IT. Just like a car, computers and servers have a habit of failing just at the wrong time. Need that vital customer report printed? The printer starts chewing up paper. Expecting an important email? The server has a wobble. Without further ado, we take a look at some of the most common frustrations.
Hardware horses around
From flat batteries to wobbly wires, hardware can go wrong at the drop of a hat. It’s one of the most frustrating issues because it was working yesterday, and today *nothing*. You press the power button and it simply fails to start up. Or you get some lights and a horrible noise and it turns itself off again. The additional frustration here is that frequently there is no clue as to the problem. No error message or hint as to where you can start looking for the issue.
“Hardware issues can be complicated to diagnose,” says Ian Vicker, Three Cherries technical director, “you may change a suspected component and then find it was something else altogether.”
We’ve seen it all; mouse chewed wires (that’s the animal, not the pointing device) to paperclips fallen into the CD tray.
The only real option here is frequent maintenance and keeping up to date. Allowing hardware to get too old is a sure fire way to find things slowing down and not working.
Software won’t shut up
Software issues are often easier to explain but no less frustrating. Software is prone to change often, from automatic updates to hidden settings, software can start producing weird results from one moment to the next. Software is also frequently targetted by viruses, too. Internet browsers suddenly take you to dodgy sites or the dreaded “pop up hell” where you get 1000’s of messages on the screen.
“Avoiding software problems starts with selecting the right products for your needs.” Phil Holdom, our infrastructure director said, “Then keeping updates, changes in settings and add-ons under control.”
Avoiding issues with software, then, is about control. While you do need to view updates as highly important, they need to be applied with planning and on a considered basis. After that it’s a case of protecting your IT real estate with excellent security.
Cloud-based tools take a nap
Many businesses have rushed into cloud technologies, from their phone system to their entire server infrastructure, mistakingly believing it protects them from issues. While cloud tech does remove problems it also simply shifts the risk of failure to other areas of your infrastructure. With your IT infrastructure onsite, a dead internet line can be largely worked around. If you’ve gone 100% cloud, no internet means practically nothing working at all.
“Clearly mapping business requirements and applying them to a well-developed strategy is a key part of what we do,” confirms Phil. “Go cloud when it makes sense, keep it onsite when that is a better option. If the internet is critical, make sure that’s reflected in your IT strategy.”
Cloud can work wonders where appropriate. Planning for failure becomes an important exercise for avoiding cloud-based woes.
Network says no
All that traffic your company generates has to be managed and it’s your network infrastructure that does that job. In terms of critical failures, issues here will generally bring your business to a standstill, regardless of the hardware, software and cloud choices you’ve made. While networking equipment is generally highly reliable, some companies allow their network infrastructure to “sprawl”. Ad-hoc and unplanned additions can see low-cost network equipment (typically designed for home environments, not business) being added under desks or behind cupboards. When these go wrong it can leave the network open to issues that affect some or all users.
Planning is, again, the best way to guard against issues here. Putting the right equipment in the right places will mean you get some redundancy and high reliability.
Not if but when
Avoiding frustrations with IT is generally a case of planning, implementation and maintenance. While you can never say with 100% certainty that you won’t get frustrated when an IT failure occurs, having an expert IT outfit who can help you sort it will lessen the impact. Even better is getting a full onsite audit done so that potential weak spots can be hardened before a failure happens in the first place. Proactive planning, reactive support; if that sounds like a winning combination, get in touch to see how we can help you avoid IT frustration.