Jon Ryan, Network Center, Fargo: Here’s how to keep your IT environment humming
FARGO, N.D. – Despite the nearly constant advancements in technology capabilities these days, it can be tempting to take the “set it and forget it” approach to your company’s IT systems if everything is running smoothly.
Admittedly, it can be overwhelming to keep up with the latest changes and best practices unless you’re an IT professional. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are seven pro-active practices you can use to self-assess the health of your IT environment to keep your capabilities up to date.
- Don’t be content
We all know the old saying: Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. Unfortunately, if you wait until your IT environment suffers a breakdown, you’ve not only waited too long, you’ve also missed opportunities to implement new technologies that could benefit your entire business.
Ask yourself and your team: “How can we improve upon what’s working for us?” Search out inefficiencies and ways you can potentially advance your company’s IT infrastructure and process.
A quiet IT environment doesn’t always mean there isn’t something that could be running even better!
- Conduct regular IT environment reviews
Your business is progressing and changing daily, and your IT environment (all of the components of an IT system) should be changing with it. Keeping your technology and processes in tune will help drive efficiencies and make your business run as smoothly as possible.
Best practices call for conducting complete IT environment reviews at least quarterly.
- Create a Technology Group
Employees use your IT systems daily and can provide unique perspectives on your systems and processes. Creating a technology and process committee will let your employees provide valuable feedback and suggestions, as well as take an active role in maintaining the health of the company.
Choose committee members from all departments, no matter what level of IT knowledge they have, for a well-rounded view of the company’s IT environment.
- Stay up on security
Security is the hottest topic in business IT conversations, and for good reason. It’s crucial to keep up to speed on the latest security measures and implement new counter-measures whenever possible.
Test your system by performing biannual vulnerability and security assessments, and test your users through phishing campaigns.
- Think like your customers
Take a look at your company from the outside. Put your feet in the shoes of your customers. Or if you don’t have direct customers, put yourself in the mind of your users.
How easy is it for the user to operate? What is the overall user experience? Does it make business sense to spend time and money on enhancing their experience?
- Weigh advantages, not just cost
Getting caught up on cost can obscure your view of potential advantages when considering changes to any component of your IT environment. In many cases, the advantages can justify the cost and even provide you a return on investment with new efficiencies.
Talk with an engineer or consultant to identify inefficiencies and determine what the resulting fix will do for you versus the overall cost. Ask for cost/benefit analyses to help you make informed decisions.
- Talk to your peers
Chances are if the technology exists, someone is already using it. Visit with your business peers about what has and has not worked for them.
You may be surprised to find that you have some of the same experiences with technology.
As with any element of your business, an efficient and optimal IT environment requires careful planning and continued maintenance. You don’t have to be a tech expert to pro-actively evaluate your IT capabilities and needs on a regular basis and determine when next steps may be beneficial to your organization.
The pace of technology changes is rapid and constant. Make the most of it.
Technical solutions specialist
Network Center, Inc.