What every business owner should know about computers and networks

Few business owners have the time to become IT professionals. Following are a few details will help insure that you have prepared for the more common issues that occur with computers and networks.

  1. Backup your important data. Do it frequently. As companies grow, data becomes scattered here and there. It is easy and inexpensive to implement a plan to backup everything important. It is too often the case that it doesn’t happen until after a catastrophe. You will want at least 2 sets of on-site storage plus 2 sets of rotating off-site storage. There are a variety of ways to do this nearly and all can be automated.
  2. Consolidate your data to common types and common locations whenever possible. As example, only SQL and related data should be on a SQL server. Only typical documents should be on a file server. Often smaller companies will start with one server and pile everything on it. In time they add a 2nd server and pile everything on that. If there is ever a need for disaster recovery, this kind of file organization can lead to major problems.
  3. Sometimes due to very large files that can measure from hundreds of megabytes and up to the multiple gigabyte range, it is impractical or painfully slow to keep them on a server. In this case, it’s okay to keep them on a workstation, but be sure you backup the important files on workstation at least once per day!
  4. Keep some spare parts on hand. Items to keep around include a network switch, keyboards, mice, and even a spare broadband router. By having these you can made it possible to recover from a problem in minutes or hours where otherwise it would take a day or more. If you keep some spare cables and surge strip power supplies on hand you can resolve a variety of other problems.
  5. Keep a record of all user names and passwords. For anything that is secure, always provide access for a 2nd user, typically the administrator. This is because sometimes accounts can be corrupted or account information lost.
  6. For mission critical servers and workstations, it is not a good idea to have a hard drive in service after the warranty has expired. The average life of a computer hard drive is between 3 to 4 years
  7. Items such as network routers and switches should be replaced about every 3-5 years. These items tend to be so reliable that they are forgotten until one day vexing things start happening that can adversely affect part of all of your office.
  8. You can help extend the service life of a computer by making sure the cooling fans and power supply are working properly. Every couple of years open the computer box and check to see that the fans are turning properly and that there are no large build ups of dust. Fans should be replaced about every 3-4 years. Bigger fans usually last longer than 1" and 2" fans.
  9. Run thorough anti-virus and anti-spyware scans on your computers at least 2 times per year. Anti-Virus and anti-spyware software have ever growing jobs. The techniques used to attempt damage to your computers continues to evolve. While many programs do an okay job there is no one software package that can stop or solve all foreseeable problems.
  10. Find an IT provider that you trust.

We’ve provided reliable services for businesses in the Seattle area for over 23 years.

Call TSL Systems Consulting 206-763-8874. We can help!