Sink or Swim: Surviving an IT Outage

One of the biggest IT threats your company faces is not being prepared to efficiently survive an IT outage. Whenever an outage occurs, it can be quite stressful and prevent clear thinking. A business owner can feel overwhelmed with the need to get the company back up and running as quickly as possible, making speed, instead of the quality of repair, their first priority. An IT employee can get overwhelmed with a lack of resources, knowledge, or support, and end up failing to recognize the severity of the issue until it’s too late.

By the time the situation is accurately addressed, a small problem can become a major disaster. Internet outages, email outages, productivity downtime and data corruption are only the beginning of the repercussions your company can face. An IT crisis that goes unaddressed properly, impacts the entire business. Clients and customers may look elsewhere, company morale can take a huge hit, frustrations can mount, and questions will begin to swirl about why the issue got so bad in the first place.

Sounds pretty scary.

We recently published an article on how to recognize when an IT issue is beyond your IT employee’s training and experience (your first step in avoiding the above-mentioned scenario). We’ve taken it even farther and put together a list of solutions to avoid facing an IT situation that is beyond your existing capabilities and suggestions for when you find yourself in such a scenario.

  1. Hire someone to do the job.
    It might be as simple as that. Whether it’s adding an IT employee with the right set of skills to a team, or hiring your first IT employee, you need someone who can meet your IT needs.
  2. Recognize when your IT employee needs help.
    Pride, stress, or fear can all keep your IT employees from asking for outside assistance when the problem is beyond their training and experience. Keep a good read on the situation and propose additional resources when needed.
  3. Engage in more transparent communication with your IT employee.
    Talk it out. Don’t assume things are being managed properly. Ask questions and get involved in the process of maintaining the security and health of your IT.
  4. Prepare a Disaster Recovery Plan.
    These can be time consuming to produce, but business-saving in the event of an actual crisis.
  5. Step back and reassess.
    There’s no harm done in taking a good hard look at how your IT infrastructure is working. Identify strengths and weaknesses, and then implement changes to address any problems discovered.
  6. Have support contacts available for your important technology.
    Boom. Easy. But when critical software or hardware goes down, knowing who to call can be half the battle.
  7. Identify a back-up IT partner to help resolve a major IT disruption.
    Some issues are so extensive that they often require outside support. Having that partnership pre-established can cut your downtime dramatically.
  8. Engage an IT partner to help monitor your IT health on a regular basis.
    You don’t have to wait for a crisis to engage an IT partner. Having a team of qualified, expert individuals on hand to monitor your software, hardware, and other technological applications can help you spot a vulnerability before it becomes a problem.
  9. Hire a strong IT partner that can manage all situations because they have a solid team of fully trained individuals with different levels of expertise.
    Enlisting the support of a great managed services provider (MSP) can help you with all of the above. They will communicate with you on all your IT needs, prepare a DRP, monitor your systems, conduct regular updates, and know how to fix a problem with timeliness and efficiency – all just a phone call away.

You hold all the power to prepare for and survive a major IT outage. They happen to the best of us, even to MSPs! Luckily, help is right around the corner, literally. Knowing how to recognize when your IT employee is in need of assistance, and taking the right steps to ensure your IT health, can save your company countless hours, dollars, and headaches down the road.