Here’s a tired old story, and I hate having to tell it again.
We’ve been working with this small client for a few months. Their network was set up by the “last IT guy” and it wasn’t done very well. The server was a dedicated PC but nothing more than a tower. Their whole system was set up sort of “on the fly” and and wasn’t being backed up.
The key though, is that their main connection to their back-end manufacturer’s data system is accessed via the server and their vendor database on the Internet.
Meaning their whole business is dependent on two components:
- the server (and vendor’s application running on it)
- their connection to the internet via their firewall.
Unfortunately, they relied only on their vendor to get things up and running in the most rudimentary way.
So, when they called us to “load some drivers and get the printers working,” we noticed many shortfalls and possible single-points-of-failure.
So we dutifully recommended we provide them with a “Network Assessment” that would allow us to spend the time and identify these critical points, which we would then, make recommendations and propose resolutions, such as software updates, system monitoring and regular backup procedures. Of course, the cost was too much and they’d rather just call us when they needed us and they pay time & materials. This was fine for about six months….
Then it happened, they called us Thursday late afternoon with a “problem.” Since we don’t have a contract, we weren’t able to prioritize them, and get an engineer out until Friday.
Their IT person did “something” that took down the server and their entire operation and they were desperate. They wanted someone to come on Saturday, so our engineer came in, but could not resolve the issues because the vendor’s support wasn’t available on Saturday. We couldn’t send someone on Sunday (yes they are usually open on Sunday).
By Monday they were down for 4 days. They dumped us and brought in someone else, whom I’m sure would be starting from scratch.
What a grim and oft repeated tale of woe. Had they paid for the assessment and followed the recommendations, they would have spent less then half of what they ended spending on overtime emergency calls, and likely experienced zero down-time – no telling how much revenue and customer good will was lost.
What’s the point? When was the last time your business had a network assessment?
- Did you follow through on the recommendations?
- Have you eliminated all single-points-of-failure?
- Is your server software up-to-date?
- Back up processes running regularly and tested?
- Could your business keep running if your network was down?
If you answered NO to any of these questions….Get that Network Assessment…now!