Like your car and most other equipment, your computer network requires maintenance and attention to run smoothly. An ounce of prevention can prevent business disaster.
Most small businesses can’t afford to hire a qualified network engineer proficient in all aspects of network administration. It’s also unlikely they are going to replace a desktop computer every 3 years if it’s still working. Similarly, they don’t need database administrators or three levels of help desk personnel.
Your ‘little’ network of 5 or 15 users has thousands of moving parts. All of the pieces that have to work together to keep the network operating. There is operating system coding, switch ports, routers, security components for intrusion and malware/spyware/virus protection, cables, backup software and media, productivity tools like Office, plus all notebooks, desktops and printers have software applications that have to fit together for a smooth running network. Servers have even more sophisticated operating systems and hardware components.
This can be a foreign world. You want to concentrate on their business and not worry about their technology needs. The usual scenario is that you find a technology company you can trust, allow them to make recommendations and then call when something isn’t working. The small-to-medium business may not know why something is wrong – just that it isn’t working the way it was. Sometimes the user themselves may find a workaround. This could save money in the short run because of a saved time-and-material service call. Other times this do-it-yourself method could create unseen problems in other areas costing more time and money later to fix the issue correctly.
Why is this important? All computer equipment and software is in a constant state of degradation. From the moment something is installed it begins to work less efficiently. A common example is the disk drive. A disk drive generates errors from the moment it is installed and powered up. Dozens of errors are generated daily. Many of these are corrected automatically by the operating system – but over time the amount of these errors increase. A disk drive doesn’t suddenly fail. It degrades to the point that it eventually becomes inoperable and crashes. You want that failing drive replaced before it fails- avoiding business interruption.