Performing routine system checks may seem like an arduous task; however, IT teams that implement proper network maintenance procedures save their business time, money, and labor. Network maintenance is the process of monitoring, troubleshooting, and optimizing a company's network to keep it functioning efficiently. Most organizations have some form of IT monitoring in place, but improper network maintenance practices are more common than you might imagine. Here, we'll explore the five most common network maintenance mistakes and how to address them.
1. Poor Planning
In a perfect world, you could set up networks and never need to perform further maintenance. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of networks and the constant ebb and flow of traffic they handle, systems require diligent maintenance. A prevalent mistake that IT teams make is not establishing a predefined plan to identify and remedy IT-related problems. Instead, organizations experience the pitfall of reactive problem solving, often doubling or tripling the amount of work required to fix what could have been a simple problem.
Best Practice: Create a Checklist
Proactive network maintenance is critical. Creating a maintenance checklist is an excellent way for IT teams to ensure they address all network vulnerabilities. Assign some checklist tasks daily, some weekly, some quarterly, and some yearly. Creating a maintenance calendar is a great way to ensure you complete these tasks on a timely basis.
2. Outdated Software and Hardware
Technology systems continuously evolve. Equipment and software that is effective today may become obsolete tomorrow. IT teams error by not keeping hardware and software up to date, resulting in compromised networks. To avoid this, perform regular installations, deploy new devices, replace old devices, update software, and enact other appropriate upgrades.
Best Practice: Workstation Imaging
Organizations running multiple devices on their network should consider implementing workstation imaging best practices. PC Imaging is the best way to optimize technology, improve security, and efficiently configure numerous devices. Companies may choose to enlist a trusted partner, such as BLM Technologies, to help mitigate risks and solve complex systems problems, such as procuring new equipment, decommissioning servers, and replacing outdated equipment.
3. Neglectful Monitoring
Improper or negligent network monitoring is another common maintenance mistake. Proactively monitoring your network is an essential strategy for all organizations. Diagnosing both positive and negative traffic trends allows companies to identify and rectify network vulnerabilities and inefficiencies before they can negatively impact operations.
Best Practice: Track Changes
The easiest way for organizations to accurately monitor their network is to track results. First, an IT team should establish an appropriate baseline of traffic expectations. Then, they should document any problems and make relevant adjustments. Be sure to record any implemented changes and note expected solutions. By tracking changes and monitoring results, IT teams can consistently ensure network optimization and limit network deficiencies.
4. Minimal Backups
While it is tempting to resolve IT infrastructure problems immediately as they pop up, some changes can do more harm than good. A common mistake IT teams make is implementing changes without backing up existing data. Without effectively protecting existing data, your business is susceptible to losing all unbacked up data.
Best Practice: Create Backups with Redundancy
Before making any changes, companies should backup all data across all systems and devices. By effectively protecting existing data and regularly scheduling continued backups with onsite and offsite redundancies, IT teams get the peace of mind that, if all else fails, they can revert systems to a past working iteration. The benefit to offsite backups is that if the physical location of systems is compromised, the data is at least salvageable from a remote site. This risk mitigation technique helps to minimize potential business disruptions and prevent irrevocable damage.
5. Naïve Network Security Protocols
It is blissful to imagine a world without malicious parties –– unfortunately, it's also ignorant. Many delinquents are looking to exploit network security vulnerabilities. Some of these bad actors seek to harvest data, install viruses, mimic company identity, spam customers, or otherwise steal resources. Becoming complacent with network security is a massive mistake that businesses should avoid.
Best Practice: Ensure 24/7 Protection
Effective network security is one of the most integral parts of network operation and maintenance. Organizations must have a dedicated team that consistently monitors IT network security. Some firms have internal IT departments with the bandwidth to maintain network security. But, more often than not, enlisting a trusted external resource guarantees constant protection and risk mitigation.
Audit Your Network
There are certainly more than five mistakes IT teams make regarding network maintenance. This article highlights the most common hazards IT teams experience. If you're curious about network maintenance resources available, contact one of our Technology Specialists today for ultimate project management services.