While the level of information technology infrastructure present in any one business or organization can vary greatly depending on size, budgetary restrictions and other factors, administrators should always be aware of the warning signs that their IT systems could soon fail, no matter how large or small.
Perhaps your business’ operating systems’ daily update prompts have been routinely denied over the past year, or a server room has become overheated and cluttered with tangled coaxial and fiber-optic cables. Both of these are signs of an impending IT system failure.
In order to prevent the costly IT downtime associated with failures (among other downsides) that can result in the loss of revenue, a reduction in employee productivity and other issues, those in charge should have a clear plan in place to both identify the warning signs signaling an impending system failure and what should be done in the event that one occurs.
Here are five warning signs that the very IT infrastructure upon which your employees rely could soon fail:
Regular instances of downtime
One of the most obvious signs that an organization’s information technology infrastructure is on a course for eventual failure is the persistence of what is known as downtime, in which an IT system has gone offline or has been rendered temporarily inaccessible to users.
IT downtime can be caused by factors both preventable and unavoidable (as well as a result of some of the IT failure warning signs listed below), so those responsible for overseeing IT infrastructure must take care to have concrete plans in place to ensure that little time is wasted to return normal operations, no matter how complicated the cause. Downtime can be minimized by practicing proper network hygiene, such as limiting certain user permissions, regularly backing up and securing data and other precautions (some of which are listed below). A 21st-century IT infrastructure can benefit from the use of programming and automation in solving IT downtime issues, for example, instead of a reliance on outdated graphical user interfaces, according to PluralSight.
Decline in infrastructure usership in favor of “shadow” IT
Everyone likes to feel comfortable with the technology they are using, particularly when it has to do with their everyday work. As such, a business’ IT infrastructure, programs and compatible devices should be as accessible and easy-to-use as possible for employees. In the event that employees or others granted permission to an IT network take steps to avoid using it in favor of their own devices, an administrator should deduce that something is wrong – whether it be a slow internet speed or an outdated computer system.
Examples of shadow IT include the use of smartphones and external Wi-Fi hotspots that are not necessarily intended to operate within an organization’s internal IT infrastructure, according to Information Week.
Increasing IT support calls and service requests
While requests for IT-related help are commonplace in certain situations – especially among those using an IT infrastructure for the first time – regular requests for support over short or extended periods of time are an indicator that one or several aspects of the system is on the verge of collapse, per Information Week.
Quick, short-term fixes to a bigger problem are never recommended for any business, as they will continue to hamper an organization’s IT infrastructure and its users over time by needlessly expending IT resources for issues that could be solved by addressing the root cause.
Obvious physical warning signs and limitations
When it comes to ensuring that an entire IT system is able to operate correctly, the regular maintenance of the physical IT infrastructure upon which they are able to operate is paramount. One physical IT infrastructure failure warning sign includes hardware that is overheating or noisier than is considered to be normal, which signifies that the issue is not software-related. Furthermore, hardware that has reached its “end-of-life” is highly vulnerable because it is not vendor-supported, typically after five to six years, according to GreenHouseData.
Those responsible for IT-related device and infrastructure materials procurement can avoid this by purchasing the newest products (such smartphones or server equipment) available, whenever financially feasible for a technology budget. What is known as legacy (old) infrastructure is particularly vulnerable for failure, and should be overhauled for safety and reliability in accordance with modern user needs, GreenHouseData advises.
Outdated software and compatibility Issues
If once-reliable devices used on a particular IT infrastructure suddenly begin experiencing connectivity issues or noticeable slowdowns, this is a signal that an IT infrastructure has software-related issues contributing to its decline. Administrators can prevent this by ensuring that all devices connected to an IT network are updated regularly for increased security and inter-device compatibility.
For both hardware and software alike, PluralSight advises that those responsible for overseeing IT infrastructure avoid brand loyalty and consider all the options available on the market to not only build the best system possible, but also to reduce IT downtime associated with learning how to use new devices or programs in the event of an organization-wide switch to a new product brand.
No matter how large or small your organization may be, Faronics’ Deep Freeze technologies can help you optimize your desktop support activities and take full advantage of cloud computing. To find out more, browse through our product pages or sign up for a free trial today.