Many people wait until that fateful day when their computer crashes and
then they suffer the consequences. However, it is possible to reduce
the likelihood of some common problems occurring, or address minor
errors before they turn into major outages or data loss. Many great
options exist for ensuring that your computer is maintained, protected
and monitored. But why would you pay for that? How reliant are you on
The real test would be to remove a computer or unplug your internet
connection for a few hours on a busy day, and see the impact that this
has. Not that we are suggesting you actually do this, but most people
underestimate the impact of a technology outage. Then, they need their
computer guy to turn up immediately and fix everything as soon as
possible. Here are a few questions to help you assess your need for
pro-active computer support and maintenance:
1. A fire consumes your premises and your computer too. How
concerned are you about your important files (e.g. customer information,
financial records or irreplaceable family digital photos)?
A. Not concerned at all. They are regularly backed up and sent offsite
and the restoration process was tested successfully last week. At the
most you will have a day or two’s worth of records to re-enter.
B. Slightly concerned. Someone in your business is responsible for
changing the tape, CD or USB key for your backups and taking it home …
but you’re not sure if it is actually being done or when it was last
C. Completely panicked. You either didn’t have a backup process in
place, or your tapes, CDs or USB keys were stored next to your computer
in a drawer, which was also consumed by the fire.
2. A hardware failure
has meant that you may be without one computer for up to 3 days while it
is being repaired. This will mean:
A. Some lost productivity for one staff member, however you have other
computers and all of the files are on your main, shared server. Or,
your teenagers will have to find alternative entertainment to the
B. Reverting to a paper-based system for invoicing, ordering etc, and
relying on faxes. Data entry will be needed when the computer is
C. A complete halt to your business. That computer held your customer
ordering system or other critical program, or it was the only computer
that your business has. Or, you will need to find another computer to
finish your university thesis on, with your deadline in two days
(assuming you can get a copy of the Word document to work on).
3. Your internet access is down and there is no guarantee
when it will be restored. The impact is:
A. Minimal. You don’t do a lot on the internet anyway.
B. Moderate. You will have to find alternatives to the way you normally
work (like now visiting the bank in person and phoning your contacts).
Most tasks that you perform on the internet can be done another way or
can wait for a while (leaving you with a backlog to catch up on).
C. Severe. This means that your website is down and your staff are
without email. You face lost orders and grumpy customers as your
business cannot function without the internet.
You may be able to cope with some technology problems, but you could
still benefit from preventing ‘downtime’. Mostly Bs: There are
areas that can be addressed now to lessen the impact of technology
problems. Mostly Cs: Your business is too important to gamble
that your computers will work day after day.
Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about the real impact of