Technology Checklist For The New Year: Review Your IT Infrastructure
As the new year begins, it is a great time to review your IT infrastructure and make sure everything is in good shape. Most businesses will wait until something goes wrong before they address any problems, by then it may just be too late. An IT Infrastructure checklist will help you manage your IT systems more effectively and drive employee efficiency. read further to review some of the key items that should be on your technology checklist for the new year.
Review Your Current IT Infrastructure and Identify Any Areas That Need Improvement.
This includes hardware and software systems, network security, cloud storage, and backup solutions. Take a look at the performance of each system as well as any potential areas where upgrades may be in order. You or your IT Department should already have an idea of all the components of your IT infrastructure, but writing down all of your technology assets will help you get started.
Create or Update an Inventory List of All Your IT Systems
Something as simple as creating a Microsoft Office spreadsheet and adding all of your IT Infrastructure items to the list. You should include the server or network device name, serial numbers, operating systems, implementation date and warranty expiration. Additionally, include a contact list of the people who are responsible for each system.
Identify Systems That are Due for Replacement
With a proper IT inventory in hand, you can now identify what systems are out of warranty. If any systems are out of warranty that should tell you that they need to either be replaced or warranty should be renewed. This list will also help you to identify systems that have been in production for many years and are due for replacement. We typically recommend a server or network device to be replaced every five years to prevent downtime and keep up with modern technology.
Review Operating System and Other End of Life Software
Windows OS versions need to be updated on a regular basis. For example, Microsoft has given Server 2012 R2 an extended end date of Oct 10 2023. This means that you should start planning to replace any Windows Server 2012 R2 systems now to ensure you meet this deadline. Other software in your environment may be due for replacement, so it would be a great idea to get ahead of it and ensure there are no surprises going into the new year.
Create or Review Your Patch Management Procedure
Having a patch management procedure in place is essential to maintaining the security of your environment. A good patching process should include identifying what patches need to be applied and when, testing prior to deployment, and rolling out patches in an orderly manner.
Additionally, you should have a review process in place for any new patches that are released. Online forums and tech news sites will help to ensure you are keeping up with the latest news on patches. Reviewing the patches as they be come available and applicable to your IT Infrastructure will help you quickly identify and remediate any potential issues before they become a problem.
Re-Assess Your Patch Management System
What software or systems are you using today for patching your small business servers? Is it a manual and time consuming process? Or do you have it automated for the most part but maybe there are a few manual steps left over?
Look into automating this procedure as much as possible, which will make your life a bit easier as well as ensure security patches are deployed successfully. Keeping your systems up to date in a manageable way will provide you with peace of mind that your systems are protected from the latest bugs and exploits.
Install a Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution in Case of an Emergency
Having a backup and disaster recovery solution in place is essential for any one, no matter if you are a small business or large. Having the ability to recover from an outage quickly will prevent downtime and enable you to keep operations running smoothly.
Investing in a reliable backup and disaster recovery solution can save your business time and money, as well as ensure that all of your data is secure. Do some research on what solutions best fit your needs and budget, and ensure the system is set up properly to back up all of your information technology.
Test Your Backups to Make Sure They Are Working Properly
Testing your backups regularly is an essential part of maintaining the backup and disaster recovery solution for your business. It’s important to make sure that the data you are backing up is actually being backed up correctly, and that when you restore it, it still works as expected. You should also test to make sure that any new information technology systems or files that have been added to the company network are also being backed up correctly.
Backing up to one server or other devices in your office is great, but cloud storage is one of the best solutions you can have to prevent a complete disaster. Regularly testing your backups will make sure that when an emergency occurs, you can recover quickly and without any data loss.
Train Employees on How to Use New Technology Tools Effectively
As new technologies become available, it’s important to train your employees on how to use these tools effectively. This is especially true if you are introducing a new system or software into the environment. Make sure that everyone understands how the technology works, and the best practices for using it. Investing in training now will save you time and money in the future, as your employees will be more comfortable and productive when using the new tools.
Training Program Suggestions
Do you have an HR system today, or maybe a training department in your organization? Teaming up with them may help provide you a structured delivery system to train the entire business. Also simply talking with HR or Training may help guide you to the proper path for training all of the end users at your company in a more meaningful way. This could include a combination of web-based tutorials, hands-on demonstrations and in-person training. It’s important to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to using any new tools or technology being introduced.
Create a Plan For Dealing With Unexpected Outages or Emergencies For Your Small Business
No matter how well-prepared you are, there is always the possibility of an unexpected outage or emergency. You should have a plan in place that outlines who to contact and what steps should be taken in order to resolve any problems as quickly as possible. With this sort of plan, this will help to reduce panic and confusion during the disaster, allowing your team to focus on bringing your systems back up as quickly as possible.
New Year IT Checklist Conclusion
Making sure your IT environment is up to date and in working order is essential for any business. Taking the time necessary to review and update your existing processes can help ensure that your company is prepared for anything. Implementing a patch management process, investing in a backup/disaster recovery solution, training users on new technologies, and creating a plan for dealing with unexpected outages are all important steps to help keep your IT systems running smoothly.
Of course all of these items take time, and most IT departments these days simply don’t have the time for proactive management of their IT environment. By investing in some outside help such as an MSP, companies like ours can help take some of that responsibility off your plate, or just provide another set of eyes. If you need some help reviewing this checklist or have any questions for us, please feel free to reach out at 888-475-7277 or through our contact page.
Either way, following this checklist ensures that your business is prepared and secure throughout 2023 and beyond.