When computers or networks go down, a company is out of business. This is a simple fact of life in the current business environment. For most small businesses, being out of business for a day can work havoc on the bottom line. Most small businesses operate on tight budgets and need every sale. Being out of business for several days can mean the difference between business survival and complete disaster.
Preventing down time is, therefore, a vital consideration in daily operations. There are, to be sure, causes of computer down-time that cannot be anticipated or prevented. There are, however, things a small business can do to protect itself from some of the leading causes of computer outages and reduced functionality. Many of the leading causes of computer or system outages can be avoided with preventative service maintenance.
Few small business owners would ignore preventative dental treatments or automobile maintenance. Yet many people either do not understand or do not give the same attention to preventative service maintenance of their computers, networks, applications, and other systems. The simple truth is this: regular preventative maintenance can prevent hard drive crashes, damaged power supplies, overheating, lockups, freezes, intermittent interruptions, and more.
Many people also believe that once an IT system is created and programmed, it will need no further attention unless something goes wrong. They do not understand that programs must be updated and that other changes are necessary to keep a system functioning at peak efficiency. Computers, programs and systems integration must be updated, patches must be created, and drivers and links must be downloaded and integrated into the system. This is part of preventative service maintenance.
So what is preventative maintenance?
1. Dust removal. The first step in preventative maintenance of a computer is regular removal of the dust that accumulates in a computer. Dust buildup causes overheating and can cause various components in your computer to fail. In fact, studies have shown that 84% of computer and system problems result from overheating caused by dust and dirt in the computer. Your computers should be cleaned every six to nine months to remove dust, clean drives, adjust internal cables to facilitate air flow, and ensure that the number one cause of system failure will not shut down your business.
2. Registry maintenance. Preventative maintenance examines the start-up section of your registry. This step includes checking system resources and maximizing storage, drives and registry settings. This maintenance step prevents shut-downs and allows your computers or your system to operate faster.
3. Software maintenance. The third step in preventative maintenance is to review all critical software settings for the most efficient operation. This may include removal of unnecessary temporary files, defrag, and root directory optimization. It will also include cleaning up directories, task bar settings, lost registry files, and video settings. This step will make your system or your computer more efficient and prevent slow-down caused by extraneous files.
4. Software update. All programs need to be updated in any of a number of ways to keep you fully operational. In this step of preventative maintenance, all manufacturer updates to programs will be integrated, patches will be made to prevent errors, and the latest drivers will be downloaded. This step ensures that your programs are working together at maximum efficiency, you are using the latest versions of all programs, and bugs in programs are identified and repaired.
5. Virus and spyware protection. This critical step in routine preventative maintenance includes a check of computers and systems for viruses and spyware. It also checks the effectiveness of your fire wall. Protecting your system from viruses and spyware can be as important in maintaining your system and the security of your information as is dust removal.
How will preventative maintenance save your business? Regular preventative maintenance will keep you in business. In today’s business environment, data and systems efficiency are the most critical elements of business effectiveness. Without access to data and without your systems to streamline processes, you could find yourself dealing with system problems instead of selling products or services. Without routine preventative maintenance, you will be spending far too much of your capital on new computers and system updates.
A preventative maintenance plan will identify problems waiting to happen, keep your systems in the best possible operating condition, and ensure a healthy business environment for your company. Preventative maintenance will enable the small business to remain focused on core competencies, knowing that the systems, hardware and software will keep you operational.
Copyright (c) 2007 Thomas Burns