The top 5 IT mistakes you’re probably making

 In SAM/IT Asset Management, Solutions

Everyone makes mistakes. Not everyone knows when they’re making them.

This is especially true in the world of IT, where teams are often swamped just keeping their environment up and running. In that rush, details sometimes go overlooked, and opportunities sometimes get ignored. The consequences are everything from wasted money to lost time to a system outage.

Fortunately, the fixes are often easy and can save you a lot of trouble down the road. You just have to know where to look. Here are five mistakes you may not know you’re making, and the simple fixes you could consider.

1. Taking the wrong approach to ransomware

Ransomware attacks hit nearly 50 percent of businesses within the last year, locking up an enormous amount of valuable data. Yet many companies still don’t have ransomware defenses in place, thinking they need complex systems to deflect the threat.

Luckily, you might already have the tools you need. Most storage technologies, from software-defined storage options or physical storage arrays, have data protection built into them. The operating system attached to it may own the file system on that volume, but the storage array owns the volume, which ransomware doesn’t have access to. Using storage snapshots allows you to roll back to a point in time before ransomware hit.

2.  Neglecting documentation

Nothing wastes time like re-learning a recovery technique you’ve already used once. But we get it: Documentation can be tedious.

Try the program SnagIt, which captures screenshots or video through a hot key on your computer as you troubleshoot, and automatically saves them to an archive. After you fix a problem, pull the relevant screenshots and video clips into a document with a brief explanation. It doesn’t slow you down, and will save you and your coworkers a lot of time if the problem strikes twice.

3. Wrong-sizing hardware

If you’ve never analyzed what hardware you’re using, you’re probably overspending on racks, electricity, cooling, and other hardware components, or you’re slowing up your system with inadequate resources.

When you’ve had certain hardware for so long, it’s easy to assume that’s what you need moving forward. But especially if you’re virtualizing your system, you may not need all of the storage and CPU you originally invested in. Newer technologies have created better efficiencies in all hardware aspects. A simple and oftentimes free analysis should reveal what components you actually use.

During a recent analysis, a company found its hardware sizing was so off that it could consolidate its twenty servers down to two—freeing up budget for two replication servers it didn’t even originally have on its wish list.

4. Accidentally overloading battery backups

If you’ve ever had a power outage shut down your system, you know how swiftly it ruins your entire day, not to mention the potential damage to your organization’s bottom line.

You likely have battery backups to prevent that, but when’s the last time you checked what’s actually plugged into them? Chances are it’s been a while.

Make sure your batteries can properly handle your system by measuring the power your servers demand at 10, 50, or 100 percent capacity. If possible, set up a cushion between what your servers normally run at and what your batteries can handle. If servers run at 10 percent, set up your batteries to handle 50 percent so they won’t be overwhelmed if extra power is needed.

Keeping an eye on battery backups is easy. You can often assign them an IP address so they can automatically notify you about upkeep and potential problems so you’re always ready. You can even tie those battery backups into a monitoring software for real-time information.

5. Maintaining over upgrading

Maintenance on old equipment seems like a no-brainer. You know the systems in and out, you have legacy applications that users can’t live without, and you might tell yourself you just can’t afford new equipment.

But while maintenance may technically cheaper on paper, there are other costs to consider.

First, the older the equipment, the more expensive it becomes to maintain the needed components, not to mention the lack of efficiency. Newer systems are often more compact, hold more data, and require less power.

And there are affordable ways to update your system. Financing is available, as well as leasing, which typically lasts three to five years—allowing you to once again upgrade your system to the latest and greatest.

Even if you have legacy applications that aren’t compatible with newer systems, you can almost always find an alternative—sometimes a better one—that does essentially the same thing.

Know your IT mistakes

Most of these common IT mistakes have simple fixes—but first you have to know what’s wrong. A quick chat with a professional can often help you find the solutions you need, and keep your IT running smoothly.

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