My View on Making Technology Simple (and thus usable)Posted on October 9th, 2011 No comments
I was referred to a new client last week. A retail business with two stores about 5 miles apart from each other. Their problem, at least from my point of view, was that the technology was not simple. As I have found and will always stand firmly on the statement that no one is to blame and yet everyone is.
Especially now, in a time when budgets are ‘tight’ and the need to squeeze more productivity out of each dollar spent on our employees. Technology was created to help businesses get more done. It was not created to do this without maintenance, upgrading and training.
My case in point today is that the new client’s server was taken over by a hacker who is using it as a file repository when people can be directed to down illicit content from. The hacker setup some very nasty protections to keep the business owner’s technical consultant from easily removing the unwanted processes. The server was configured in such a way as to put up barriers to resolving this problem. Why? It usually points to a client with a small or unrealistic budget. (which is not their fault)
This all started out with a custom made server being used for the business owner. I for one have a lot of respect for anyone that can build a server for use at a business. My problem arises when the licenses become invalid, because the company did not keep up with his volume licensing agreements. Then take into consideration why the custom built server was used in the beginning… it was cheaper than one from DELL, Fujitsu, IBM or HP. The reason why it was cheaper is because the custom built server did not use the same quality parts that were used by the corporation built ones. Nothing inside the computer is standard, where the corporate built ones, everything is. You can easily get additional memory for a DELL whether from DELL or Crucial.com 5 years after you originally purchased the computer, where it is very unlikely that you will be able to purchase parts for the custom made server due to the fact that the manufacturer of the parts either went out of business, was bought out by someone else, or just didn’t have sufficient parts made or kept in stock to be available when you needed it 5 years later.
So now they have to purchase a new server, or stick with the problems that you are operating under. So now, did the IT provider drop the ball when it came to setting up this network? I never judge anyone on the work they have done. I never point fingers at anyone because it never resolves the immediate problem at hand which is getting the business back in business.
I, like most IT Professionals, will 9 out of 10 times create proposals that include only new equipment from corporate manufacturers. I use best practices during the creation of these proposals and continue to use them thru the purchase, implementation and follow-up maintenance of their computer networks.
What are ‘Best Practices’?
Simply said, quality computers, servers and network equipment; sufficient UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supplies) for all computer equipment, internet security/anti-virus solutions for all computers and servers, a backup solution that includes sufficient number of tapes, that are taken off-site, and stored safely, and that said backups are restored from time to time to ensure that the backups are good and not corrupt; security measures that meet their needs; and instructing the user-base in how to use everything correctly.
Lastly but most importantly, talking with the users, managers and owners at length to find out what they really want and need their networks to do and to be able to do in the future. Planning, Planning, Planning!
Please post your comments, concerns and questions.
Make My Technology Simple
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