Fire Your Lazy I.T. Company
By Mitchell R. Sowards
ENTRUST Technology Consulting Services
Imagine getting in your car this morning and finding out it just would not run. Now imagine if that happened between 2 and 5 days out of every month. How frustrating! You would not tolerate that, would you? Unfortunately, many businesses which rely heavily on computer technology have important systems which are failng several times a week, but their lazy IT companies don’t even notice. Don’t be a victim of lazy IT companies who are charging you every month, but not living up to their promises. Here’s what you need to know.
“SET IT AND FORGET IT” MYTH
A typical business will have quite a few automated systems that they rely upon and which they assume are working. The publishers of those software pro-grams will typically tout the easy “set it and forget it” features of their product. ENTRUST has many years of observing thousands of computers running these automated systems and we can confidently state that between 5% and 15% of the time these automated systems fail to deliver on those promises.
FAILURE IS AN OPTION
Sometimes when these automated systems fail, they will somehow recover at a future date. So, for example, a computer which has been failing to perform anti-virus scans might resume doing so after an update or patch gets applied. Lucky you! But often when a system breaks, it STAYS broken! And when your data backup breaks and stops working, it invites disaster if no one catches and fixes it promptly.
System Set-It & Forget-It Promises
“Just insert a tape (or disk) and the regular nightly job will automatically backup your data.”
“The software will automatically keep itself up to date every day.”
“The computer will scan itself and remove any viruses found every week.”
Automatic Update Software
“The computer will up-date itself every night at 3AM to protect against known flaws and ex-ploits.”
“A regular monthly job will run automatically to keep the system perform-ing at its peak.”
“Set-It and Forget-It” Promises
Watch out for common promises which Lazy IT Companies promote.
Questions to Ask Your IT Company
Be sure to ask your IT company these four important questions and see how their answers compare with the “Correct” responses below.
Q: How do you know our automated systems are working?
A:“Our records go back FOREVER; to the beginning of your current con-tract term at least.”
Q: How often does your staff check on our systems?
A:“Our team adheres to a schedule of daily, weekly, and monthly checks to quickly find and fix detected problems as quickly as possible.”
Q: How far back do your records of our systems go?
A:“Our team is actively checking on systems every single day. Our team is NOT just waiting for some kind of „alert. to wake them up.”
Q: How quickly do you respond to problems detected?
A:“We have an entire team of people who are dedicated to delivering a whole range of Proactive Services to keep your systems Secure, Reliable & Optimized.”
Most reputable companies will actually deliver some modicum of the services described by the “Correct Answers” listed to the left. ASK TO SEE sample records and make a site visit to observe and meet their “Dedicated Proactive Team.” If the records are inadequate or if they can’t show you their team, then look for another company.
LAZY IT COMPANIES
Many IT companies are lazy or complacent about this problem. Many IT companies, even those that claim to be offering “Managed Services”, will simply in-stall and configure the software and proceed immediately to the “FORGET-IT” part of the myth.
Those lazy companies will only occasion-ally (if ever) bother to check the auto-mated systems to see if they are working. Or they will claim that their “monitoring system” will let them know when a problem occurs. But, in fact, their monitoring systems only do a fraction of the oversight that is really necessary. It is wholly insufficient to rely on monitoring systems. True management requires the oversight and activity of professionals who are dedicated to the task of Proactive Services – not network engineers who have “part time” duties to check on things.
HOW DO YOU KNOW?
Let us assume your IT company claims to be “managing” all of your computers. And they claim they are making sure everything is operating as it should. How do you know? Another thing those lazy IT companies don’t do is regularly track and record the status of your systems.
Suppose one of your computers catches a virus and spreads it throughout your company and you are “down” for several days recovering. You ask your IT company how it happened. They say that Computer X caught the virus first and then spread it. Of course it is impossible to protect against all possible attacks, but nonetheless you might logically and reasonably want to know:
1.Up-to-date with patches to prevent attacks prior to the event?
2.Up-to-date with functioning antivirus software prior to the event?
3.Performing regular scans prior to the event?
Why did all the other computers get infected?
Were the other computers up-to-date?
A GOOD IT COMPANY should be able to provide you with historical data to show the state of all of your computers through the past AND to demonstrate the corrective actions they have been taking. In the example given, they should be able to show you that all of your computers were fully up-to-date and protected to the best of their ability prior to the event. If not, then they are responsible for your downtime and lost dollars!
If your IT provider can’t provide you with this historical data, then they are one of those “LAZY COMPANIES” you should avoid. You cannot have confidence in your systems if your IT company can’t provide proof of their work on your be-half.
IN SUMMARY, you wouldn’t tolerate a car that didn’t run 2-5 days per month, would you? So don’t tolerate lazy IT companies that don’t deliver on their promise to “manage” your network. Don’t pay for them to “set it and forget it”. Demand that your IT company deliver professional, regular care for your systems and that they be able to prove their work.
ENTRUST DELIVERS the Ultimate
in Proactive Care for your systems and PEACE OF MIND.
For more information: Call: 866.863.4738
Visit us Online: www.ntrusts.com