If only there were a way to create more hours in a day for your in-house IT staff. It seems they’re always bogged down with miscellaneous issues in the office and playing Help Desk. While Help Desk is a critical element of the in-house technology needs, it seems that far too often we’re hearing from bogged down IT Directors and their executive managers that there just isn’t enough time to execute some of the proactive IT measures. Not only is this causing companies to fall behind, but it’s sometimes costing them in IT security. Here are just a few really important things that your in-house IT staff doesn’t have time for:
- Windows updates.
Windows updates are released weekly. These updates patch holes in the security of the operating system. Hackers can take advantage of these weaknesses and use them to access your network. If your IT staff isn’t constantly applying these updates, your network is at risk. But oftentimes in-house staff is so busy putting out fires, updates that have to be done manually get pushed to the wayside. Well, unless you’re a big enough company to pay for automatic update software, but the majority of small to medium sized businesses don’t have that luxury and are at risk as a result.
- Antivirus oversight.
Those updates that happen with your operating system are also happening with your antivirus software. The difference here is that these programs are blocking actual viruses and worms, not just patching holes. Despite knowing that, this maintenance item still isn’t completed as often as it should be. Updates on antivirus definitions come as often as every 15 minute. If you don’t have Managed Antivirus, you’re not updating your antivirus software as often as you should be.
- Server maintenance.
What needs to happen on your servers? Many things that in-house IT staff don’t always have time for. Checking the event logs, looking for application updates and ensuring those updates have been applied or auto-applied. It seems small, but it’s critical to the long term health and security of your network.
I talk to prospects every day that don’t have documentation when it comes to their network credentials. You should have administrative credentials for your network, each workstation and your applications. If you don’t have this and all of this information is locked into the brain of your in-house IT staff, what happens when that person goes on vacation? Or worse, what happens if they leave without notice or something awful happens? You need to have documentation for your network, applications and services so that you’re never stuck without them. This is one thing that your staff must absolutely make time for.
- Research and innovation.
Where I see those with bogged down in-house IT staff suffer the most is technology innovation. The cost of hiring an in-house technician is significant. That means more often than not, that technician is stretched thin doing help desk, back ups, maintenance and updates. They’re barely making it to those maintenance items, let alone thinking long term about upgrading workstations, creating budget, and exploring emerging technologies.
There’s a lot that your in-house IT staff doesn’t have time for. But resoundingly what all these things scream is that your in-house IT doesn’t have time to make your existing technology work better for you. If you’re still writing off a Managed Services Provider or external IT consultant as unnecessary or too expensive, it might be time to reconsider. Perform an audit of your existing technology, discover where the gaps can be filled - and consider a hybrid option that integrates Managed Services to handle some of the things that your Help Desk cannot. Being proactive about your technology will allow you to operate more efficiently and get more from your in-house IT staff.