As well as annual audits, quarterly IT reviews are important milestones to keep your IT performance, security, and health on track.
IT performance and the overall health of your IT environment can have a major impact on your overall business performance.
You should speak to your IT company about running quarterly reviews to keep everything running well. If your current IT provider can’t offer quarterly reviews it might be time to consider why.
Your IT company should be proactive in setting up quarterly reviews to discuss your needs and manage your current setup. Here are a few of the items that should be on your list to check every quarter.
The status of your IT security systems
All of your software and hardware needs regular maintenance to keep on top of the latest security threats and prevent breaches. This includes servers, laptops, and desktop machines plus mobile devices. Proactive installation of OS, software, and app security patches and updates should be applied as they are released by developers.
This process fixes new vulnerabilities that prevent hackers access your network and access business-critical data.
Ask your IT partner for a report that makes it easy to understand the number of PCs, mobiles, and servers that are up to date with all the security releases.
Computer, networking, and server technology advances all the time, as does the software that runs on them.
Are you aware of all the IT capabilities of modern tech and are you sure that your business is getting the most possible value from your IT budget? The best way to establish this is to regularly review what is available on the market vs your current IT infrastructure. Quarterly IT reviews are a great place to do this.
Perhaps some of the data is changed less often, so it can be backed up at a lower frequency to a different solution.
Again a good IT support company can be proactive here and look for opportunities to provide better tech and save costs.
One example is using cloud servers to reduce the cost of buying physical servers, reducing maintenance costs and cutting the physical space required to host them onsite.
Unlike buying your own servers the cloud also offers advantages in scaling up or down as required making it much more cost-effective.
Another example could be your data backup systems. Perhaps a large percentage of your data is static, rarely changing, and you are paying to back it up continuously when you could instead, back up just the data the moves constantly and back up the static data periodically.
This kind of review will help maximise the potential of your IT budget.
One of the main points of investing in IT is to increase the performance and productivity of your team.
When looking at performance and productivity your IT support team should provide recommendations on optimising current IT processes that waste time. Examples of this could be searching for files that are spread out across servers or using software that runs slowly because the hardware is outdated and not able to support it optimally.
The quarterly review should help you understand the tech you’re currently using and where technology fails to deliver maximum efficiency for your employees.
What else needs to be looked at?
Software becomes outdated, including things that are often overlooked like firewalls. Older firewalls may not work well with new modern internet usage and can just let some kinds of traffic pass through without the correct security screening.
All hardware and software have a lifespan and an end of life date where it is no longer viable. This means after a certain date they are no longer supported by the manufacturer as they have moved on to newer systems. A good example of this is Windows 7 which has recently reached its end of life for support from Microsoft. This means Microsoft will no longer release security updates and patches for Windows 7, making it vulnerable.
Your IT team should proactively make you aware of anything approaching the end of life.
Beyond this, your IT support team should be willing to listen and discuss any other concerns or ideas you have, from cybersecurity, staff training, to hardware or efficiency. It could also be worthwhile to ask them about compliance and about initiatives such as GDPR and the Cyber essentials scheme.
Reviewing your IT support
While your IT support team can review your setup, you can also review them and ensure you are getting the most out of your partnership.
Here are some things to think about and questions to ask yourself.
Do they offer Rapid response times?
Does your IT support team respond within minutes and update you with progress reports? Do they solve issues quickly and minimising downtime?
Do they provide 24/7 support?
Do they offer 24/7 support and patch your systems in the background to reduce security risks? Are on-site visits included in your support package?
Do they have expertise and certification?
Are their IT engineers industry certified? Do they undergo regular training to keep up with industry standards? Are they ISO 27001 certified so you know your sensitive information will be safe? Are they Cyber Essentials certified, and are they in line with the GDPR?
What technology consulting do they offer?
Do they offer a high-level of technology consulting to make sure your IT supports your business goals?
Your IT partner should be comfortable talking about any business-related issue and if not it may be time to start looking for an alternative provider.
About EC-MSP, your Cyber Essentials partner
EC-MSP are one of the most trusted IT support providers in London. If you would like more help advice and support with technology for your business, contact us today to see how we can help.