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Preventitive Maintenance

Posted by Charles on 07-13-2004 @ 05:27 AM in • Opinion

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The trend in Corporate America today is to downsize in-house support staff. First, it is costly to maintain in-house support staff, and second, it is hard, except in larger corporations, to attract, keep, and maintain dynamic support teams.

The focus becomes development and integration and putting out fires in the interim. As a result, things fall through the cracks ...

What would happen without monitoring the level of oil in your car? Probably, the engine would run out of oil, overheat, throw a rod ... resulting in destruction of costly engine parts, longer repair times, and far more expense. We monitor our cars, we monitor our temperature, traffic, the weather ... when something goes wrong, warning signals are issued and we are given the opportunity to correct the problem before it becomes a disaster.

It’s called ‘preventive maintenance’, often abbreviated “PM”. It’s a proactive activity that gives us the ability to make a timely decision, put together a plan, and efficiently use our time and money. This is contrasted to diagnostic or corrective maintenance, which is performed to correct an already-existing problem.

Preventive maintenance is one of the most ignored aspects of computer ownership. Most people just use it until it breaks - and then they need to have it up and running again as soon as possible. We’ve been called to work on systems that are down - critical that we get them running again - and when we get there, we find the box covered in an inch of dust.

How critical is it? How much do you value your information?

Sure, we can go out and buy a new computer - cheap these days - off the shelf ready to go. But what about all of that information? You have a backup? Great! How often do you test it? In fact - where is it?

I went to work for a company once who had a complete documented backup policy, offsite storage in a bank vault, the whole shebang ... they were proud of that policy and confident that it was the best that it could be.

The database went down on Friday at 5:00 pm - before the latest backup ran. Not even the bank president could get into the vault until 8:00 am on Monday morning. Needless to say, we spent the entire weekend on site, trying everything that we could to get into that database; it was still down at 8:00 Monday morning when the bank opened - eight hours after the company had opened for business. At 8:20 am, we had the database up and running again.

So now we need to consider time. If you can’t get into your information system for eight hours - or sixteen - or twenty; what does that cost? Just who uses this information anyway? Are those people adequately trained?

You might have a system administrator onsite who is very good with Microsoft applications - an MCSE - but he knows absolutely nothing about your Business Management System.

At 2:32 pm on Tuesday, he needs to perform some quick (5 minute) maintenance task on one of your Windows boxes. He goes over, doesn’t see anything running, and shuts the system down. OOOPS !! The entire company loses what they were working on. The computers are down. Trucks are lining up on the docks. You go find out what happened ... try to restart the database ... and it’s toast. You can restore from last night’s backup; but you’ve lost all of the days activity.

Add the threat of viruses, parasites, and hackers, and what do you have? Our mothers told us to never open the door to a stranger; but with the advent of personal computers, most of us have ALL of the doors open.

In short, preventive maintenance:

Saves Money
Saves Time
Helps to safeguard your information
improves performance
Call us today. We can help you to setup a Preventive Maintenance
Schedule with automated administrative tasks to fit your budget.

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