I’m Gonna Drive It Til the Wheels Fall Off

Just before Christmas, I broke down and bought a new minivan. After enjoying a year and a half without a car note, I swore I would drive our old van until the wheels fell off. Well, I came close, but I realized driving it into the ground wasn’t practical or safe after putting nearly 160,000 miles on the car. With every passing mile, the van became increasingly more unreliable.

Does “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” apply to your business?

The same holds true with the computer systems in your business. Much like a car, computers not only require regular maintenance but can degrade in performance and reliability over time. The inside of your computer contains moving parts that spin at thousands of revolutions per minute and produce heat up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it’s important to recognize and plan for the inevitable case that one day your computer will go belly up, usually at the time you need it the most.

How can you avoid the frustration of arriving to your desk with your Monday morning coffee to find your computer has croaked over the weekend? Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Let your computer breath. Computers run best in cool, well ventilated areas. If you have a computer desk with computer compartment, leave the door open so that air can flow freely. Avoid placing heaters next to or piling papers and other objects on top of your computer. If you constantly hear the cooling fans in your computer roaring loudly, it’s probably overheating.
  2. Avoid the dust bunnies. If your computer looks like its growing hair, it’s probably time to clean out the dust. Do not use a vacuum on the computer. A can of pressurized air will do the trick, or we would be glad to assist you.
  3. Don’t fry the computer. Plugging your computer directly into an electrical socket is like slowly cooking it for years. Even if you don’t get struck by lightning, numerous power surges and other voltage fluctuations can shorten the life of a computer. Purchase a high quality surge suppressing power strip or a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply). This will help protect the computer from harmful electrical events.
  4. Change the oil. No, your computer doesn’t use oil but it must be maintained the same way you would maintain your car. Regularly check for and apply software updates and security patches. If you feel comfortable taking a deep dive, review startup items and disk fragmentation.
  5. Have a technology plan. Put a plan in place for how long you will keep your systems running before they are replaced. Some companies cycle through their mission critical systems every 3 to 4 years. Others wait until longer, but the key is having a plan other than “wait until it dies.” Identify mission critical systems such as your servers or highly productive team members that your business relies on. Then, build a plan around ensuring that the systems that support your business are there when you need them the most.

Above all, don’t wait until the wheels fall off. We can help you develop a plan to avoid catastrophe, monitor the health of your existing systems and streamline the process of maintaining them. Give us a call today to find out how.

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