Four Reasons Technology Fails (and what do about it)
Four Reasons Technology Fails (and what do about it)
Most people underestimate the amount of maintenance technology requires. IT hardware gets old and exposed to relentless wear and tear, while operating systems and other software tools need continuous updates.
Business leaders should implement a proactive approach to hardware and software maintenance. If you want to keep your technology well maintained and your staff highly productive, it is vital to have a strategy for proactive updates and maintenance.
When your technology operates at peak performance, your staff can focus on the important aspects of their job. For many growing companies, a great option is relying on the services of an outsourced IT services provider to deliver proactive monitoring, maintenance, and repair. Outside experts are able to leverage remote management tools to patch and update software, monitor hardware performance and capacity, and proactively repair configurations or software issues.
Every piece of equipment will have a natural hardware lifecycle. The key is to maximize your return on investment is to understand some of the root causes of technology failure and address them in advance. There are four main reasons technology fails.
1. Keep it updated
Every piece of technology hardware has core software components that require regular updates and maintenance. Firmware, BIOS, and operating systems are continuously updated by manufacturers. These software updates fix known bugs and implement essential security and performance enhancements.
While consumers will often let their own personal devices become hopelessly out of date, businesses should be highly concerned with the security issues and device performance that can result when updates are not a priority. Many of the major cyber security incidents have been the result of poorly deployed updates.
Therefore, it is essential that PC fleets, mobile devices, networking gear, and servers are proactively patched and updated with the latest operating system and firmware updates. Under the best possible circumstances, software updates should be methodically managed according to your company’s requirements and performed during off-hours, with zero user involvement to ensure employees remain productive during the work day.
2. Keep it clean
Dust and debris are silent killers to computer hardware. Desktop computers will often be stationary and uninspected for months on end. Buildup can accumulate on fans and other components, obstructing air flow, degrading performance, and increasing the likelihood of environmental issues such as overheating. Periodic maintenance and cleaning is important to keep hardware free from these dangers. Most hardware devices can be cleaned with compressed air and specialized vacuuming gear to keep these components clean and operating properly.
Mobile devices, keyboards, external mice, and monitors will also become dirty over time from heavy use. Laptop carrying processionals should be provided with do-it-yourself cleaning kits to keep their monitors, keyboards, and mice clean and tidy. Alternatively, mobile devices should be periodically cleaned when remote staff are in office and their gear can be easily serviced.
It is a fact of life. Computer hardware and mobile devices will eventually break, especially with the regular wear and tear of a mobile workforce. Every industry has different working conditions and environmental impacts to computer hardware. For example, a construction foreman will typically cause more damage to their mobile devices than an accountant or auditor. Therefore, business leaders and operations staff should plan and budget according the needs of your organization and the operating environment for you staff.
For employees that operate in harsher environments, such as construction and field work, organizations should utilize rugged laptops, sturdy protective cases for mobile and tablet devices, and budget for shorter device life cycles. The need to repair broken screens, keyboards, and track pads will be more common in these situations. Even organizations with mostly knowledge workers, should plan for more wear and tear due to the increasingly distributed and mobile nature of the workforce. With more staff working remotely, on the road, or out at customer and partner sites, dropped laptops and lost or stolen gear will be more common.
4. Environmental Issues and Capacity Management
When computers overheat, it can lead to downtime, data loss, and lost employee productivity. As noted above, one of the biggest risks from dust and debris in desktops is degraded fan performance and overheating.
Servers are even more prone to overheating. Servers are usually stored in a company’s data closet and run on a 24/7 basis. In these circumstances, there should be sufficient, unimpeded air flow and air conditioning to prevent servers and adjacent networking gear from overheating. In some offices, air conditioning can be throttled down during off-peak hours, increasing the risk of servers overheating. Data closets and server rooms, even in smaller organizations should be configured to keep computers, servers, and networking gear cool and operating at peak performance.
Organizations should also monitor and manage device capacity and performance. Hard drives will often run out of storage, causing significant performance and productivity problems for users. When hard drives are maxed out, critical software updates become impossible, further compromising performance and security.
Finally, CPU spikes can result from buggy or poorly configured software or other capacity issues on a machine, causing a cascade of problems such as overheating and unplanned device shutdowns or outages. For optimal performance, all of these capacity issues need to be proactively managed and corrected.
The team at Protek prides itself with ensuring our client technology is proactively monitored, updated, and maintained. If you are concerned with employee productivity or the security and performance of your technology, let’s talk.
Eric is the owner and CEO of Protek Support and is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). He graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Information Technology (IT). He is an IT Services expert in a variety of technology related fields. Some of these fields include document management software/hardware, enterprise level networking and VoIP phone systems, as well as large scale software implementation projects and the setup of small business networks.