The 5 Minute Business IT Health Check
We all know just how important tech is to our business. Maybe it’s even more important that we would like to admit!
Most of us have at least considered the scary thought of what happens if it goes down. Just as importantly, we should all consider the cost of it not running well. Sometimes it is difficult as a business leader to even know what “running well” means. We often have the narrow perspective of our own business or a place we worked in the past. If the pain is not too great, all must be good. Or, maybe the pain is pretty bad, but this is all we know, and we believe that this is just how technology is. It is my firm belief that consistently following IT best practices will move your IT reality from pain to productivity. More than just a belief, I have seen it happen, IT moving from a major source of frustration to a smooth running productivity generator.
So how do we know if our technology is on track, or falling short? Score yourself on these 12 key health factors and see where you fall. Grade yourself 1-5 with 1 being absolutely and 5 being not at all.
1. I have a strategy in place to insure that all computers, servers, and other security points are updated on a weekly or at least monthly basis. I can review a report that tells me the current status of these devices.
2. I have set cycle times for equipment and review our equipment inventory for replacement each year. I am certain that no team member is using outdated equipment that might slow them down or cause lost time due to age related failure.
3. I place a priority on my team members and their productivity. They have a means of getting help with IT issues that does not mean waiting for extended periods of time and attempting to resolve themselves.
4. My IT resource, whether on staff, or outsourced, is more than a fire fighter. They provide valuable planning, documenting, and advising to our organization.
5. I have reviewed our backup and disaster recovery plans in the last year. I am comfortable that the measures in place to back up our systems and preserve our information will meet our needs and expectations should we need to use them.
6. I have assigned someone the responsibility of overseeing backups, insuring that testing does occur, and data goes offsite as required.
7. I am sure that our data security and encryption policy, methods, and software meet the needs of any compliance requirements that may exist in my industry.
8. I have a yearly budget for IT that is accurate, consistent, and known based on at least annual planning meetings.
9. Critical systems in our organization are being monitored to prevent a failure that could impact productivity and interrupt business. This includes parameters like disk space, services failure, backup failure, Internet connectivity and other critical factors.
10. Critical security points like Wi-Fi, Firewalls, Antivirus, web portals, and others are evaluated at least annually to insure security.
11. My team regularly evaluates our systems and looks for ways to use technology to leverage productivity. Automating manual tasks with technology is a continuous process in our organization.
12. I have considered our key software systems and have efficient line of business software that tracks our workflow from order to billing. We have software that capably handles customer and prospect management, as well as an efficient means of managing the flow of information through our organization and eliminating paper.
Now, total your answers for each question. If you end up with a total between 12-24, you should congratulate yourself! You have a solid IT strategy in place. If your total is 25-36, you have some shoring up and confirming to do. If your total is 37+, you will want to take some action to correct some of the failing marks.
This simple survey certainly doesn’t hit every critical factor, but it will provide some insight into just where you are with technology and where you might have a problem. Technology shouldn’t be a fire drill, or even the opposite, like plumbing, always there, working, unnoticed. When properly applied and managed, it is a mechanism and leverage point to propel a growing company forward. I welcome your feedback, discussion, or questions as you consider your IT Health Score.
Scott Hirschfeld is the President of CTaccess, an Elm Grove IT support company that has been helping small businesses stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business since 1990. Under his leadership CTaccess provides the business minded approach of larger IT companies with the personalized touch of the smaller ones. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.