The REAL Warning Signs of an IT Outage

OK, so here’s the scenario: A virus infiltrates your office, starting with the computer of one of your employees, someone who either assumes their antivirus software will take care of the issue, or doesn’t even realize there’s a virus at all. The virus spreads. It infects multiple PCs, next your server, and by the time the employee responsible for maintaining and supporting your technology (your IT employee) becomes aware, the situation is already out of control.

Whether this results from a lack of resources to handle a virus infiltration of this magnitude, level of skill required to remove the virus, or fear of repercussions that keeps your IT employee from revealing the depth of the situation – the crisis is growing and getting worse. The costs are spiraling. It’s already time to call for reinforcements, and you still may not even be aware it’s happening.

Having an IT issue that is outside the training and experience of your IT employee can be a dangerous and slippery slope. The first real threat to your company is not recognizing the issue while it can still be easily managed and resolved; before it gets out of control.

To help get you a step ahead of the curve, we’ve outlined a number of signs that you might be on the brink of one of these business damaging catastrophic outage situations. Recognizing just one of these simple indicators can save you time and money down the road.

  1. IT issues are taking longer than expected to be resolved.
    The nature of IT is that technical problems can occur quite frequently. That’s why there is, or should be, someone designated within all companies to address them. But if issues start occurring more frequently, start taking longer to resolve, or start affecting more critical business processes, that’s sign number one that there’s a problem.
  2. Your IT employee doesn’t take command during an active IT probelm.
    Wishy-washy behavior, skirting the subject, using passive language, and tense mannerisms when confronted with an IT issue are another clear signal that your IT needs may be beyond their training and experience.
  3. Increasing frustrations when IT issues are being reported.
    When your other employees start noticing their interaction with your IT support person are becoming more frustrating, it can be an early sign that the system complexity is outpacing your IT staff’s knowledge and skills. The person you’ve bestowed responsibility for your IT systems must be able to quickly comprehend and identify the core issue when an IT situation is being relayed to them.
  4. Little to no clarity when explaining how an IT issue will be resolved.
    When asked, your IT employee also needs to be able to clearly explain to you 1) what is happening, 2) what steps will be taken to resolve it, and 3) how long it will be before the systems are restored to normal operations. If they can’t do this, it is a sign they themselves don’t have a good grasp on the problem or the resolution.
  5. The probelm isn’t actually fixed when your IT employee says it is.
    Experiencing a recurring IT issue is another sign that the problem is bigger than your IT employee’s training and experience. For an IT professional, they may not want to divulge their need for outside resources to solve the problem, for fear of losing their job. Pride can also become a factor. Or if it’s a person within your organization who has taken on IT as a secondary duty, they may not want the headache of fixing the core problem, and instead might opt for the Band-Aid solution.

Recognizing and properly addressing each problem before it becomes a crisis is a critical step in avoiding costly IT downtime and business interruptions. If any of the red flags listed above ring true for you, it may be time to take a deeper look at how your IT is being maintained and supported within your organization.