If you’re reading this, there is a pretty good chance you’re concerned about your businesses IT network.
We wish we could assure you that your network is fine, but we talk to business owners every day who are dealing with network issues. Sometime these issues are minor, but other times they bring business to a dead stop.
Either way, these network issues cause some downtime, which can put a huge hole in business productivity.
The truth about downtime.
Downtime causes a whole slue of problems in an organization. When your technology is offline, your staff can’t work. Your customers can’t get the support or service they need. You may not even have phone or email service. The end conclusion? Downtime is bad.
In an article by CNN, they reported that the average cost for IT network downtime for small businesses dealing with ransomware attacks exceeds $100,000. This form of cyber attacks is also just one of the ways a network can go down.
Basic hardware and software maintenance is extremely critical. For the most part, technology gives you ample warning that your IT network is in trouble. The trick is knowing what warning signs to look for and understand how important it is to heed those warnings.
6 IT Network Warning Signs
The trick to understanding network signs is knowing what to look for. Once you know what to look for, IT network warning signs are not hard to identify. In fact, they tend to stand out.
If you’re dealing with any of the following red flags, its probably time to take a closer look at your IT network- or call on the help of a reliable IT consultant to get your network back up to speed.
1. Things Are Moving Slower Than Normal
Let’s say the employees at your office use a shared drive for big files—something like image files. Normally, you can access the shared drive in a matter of a few seconds. Downloading even a large file rarely takes much longer.
And then one day, it takes four times as long.
Changes in IT network speed are often indications of some kind of problem. The server may have an issue, or you may need to tend to your network cabling. It could even be your Wi-Fi connectivity. The one thing you shouldn’t do is just suffer through it. Slow network speeds are typically a symptom of some other issue.
2. Temperamental Wi-Fi
Speaking of Wi-Fi, if you find your connection dropping on a regular basis, there is likely an issue behind it. Wi-Fi technology is well past the testing phase. Once your wireless IT network is set up and configured, it should be reasonably stable.
If you’re in doubt, ask around. When others in your office are experiencing the same kind of wireless drops, that’s not a coincidence. It means something’s wrong.
3. Reboot. . .Then Reboot Again..
One of the most common troubleshooting techniques is pretty simple, and we have all done it before, the reboot.
But rebooting a computer (or server) can fix a lot of problems. Similarly, if you’re having issues with a specific application, closing it and reopening it often clears things up. When you restart (your computer, server or an application) the code can start from square one and hopefully it won’t encounter the same problem again.
But you shouldn’t have to restart constantly. If you do, that’s a sign of an ongoing problem, not a one-time issue.
4. Bringing on the Heat
A common hardware failure warning sign has to do with the temperature.
Most IT network hardware produces heat. That’s why computers have fans—to help disperse that heat and keep the delicate inner workings at a comfortable temperature. If there’s too much heat, it can damage hardware.
Here’s what to look (and listen) for. If your computer’s fan is running on high all day, that’s a bad sign. If your laptop or desktop is physically hot to the touch, that, too, is not a good sign. And if any piece of hardware shuts down due to heat, pay attention.
It’s much more convenient to replace hardware before it fails than to scramble for a replacement after it had a meltdown.
5. Too Many Workarounds
Something about the IT network isn’t working properly. Maybe there’s an ongoing error message or the printer fails every other time someone tries to print something or one of the applications everyone relies on is clearly outdated.
But instead of addressing the issue, the staff just work around it.
If your office has some kind of elaborate plan B to deal with an IT network issue, it’s time to stop accommodating the inconvenience. Rather than changing how you do your job, take care of the underlying issue with your IT network—whether that’s a needed upgrade, routine maintenance or some other fix.
6. The Warning Sign You Do NOT Want to See
If you’ve already experienced data loss, hardware failure or a cybersecurity breach, then it’s well past time to assess the health of your IT network.
Any of these three issues means you’ve already suffered through real impact to your business. You’ve likely incurred downtime, lost opportunity, and maybe even a hit to your reputation. Don’t assume lightning won’t strike twice. You’re not in the clear until the underlying problem has been addressed.
Reevaluate the state of your hardware, ramp up your cyber security, and be sure your business is protected and prepared for the future.
Prepare, prepare, prepare!
There are times when IT network trouble happens out of the clear blue. But the vast majority of the time you can see it coming—if you know where to look.
One of the best ways to proactively maintain your IT network is to keep an eye out for these warning signs. If there’s a potential issue, address it before it has the chance to slow your business down.
For information on how to protect your IT environment, contact Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, at 330-750-1428. Our goal at ECMSI is to focus on your IT, so you can stay focused on growing your business.