Is your IT team understaffed, underequipped, and expected to handle an outdated network environment using outdated tools? Welcome to the world of small business system administration. Very few small businesses have the budget to hire an on-call system administrator or managed service provider, let alone a full IT team.
Oftentimes, the huge responsibility of maintaining essential data and software falls on the shoulders of a few computer-savvy employees. What can an informal IT team do to streamline those everyday system administration tasks that seem to eat up so much valuable time? This quick guide will help you build up an essential small IT team toolkit.
Troubleshooting and Maintenance
How much time do you spend walking employees through basic troubleshooting tasks, tech questions, crashes, and bugs? Do you often struggle with “urgent” requests that aren’t really so urgent? A ticket management system allows your employees to send questions, complaints, and error reports to the dedicated workspace of a chosen IT team member, allowing for better prioritization and scheduling of IT tasks.
Get the most out of your ticket management solution by investing in remote support capabilities. This will give your tech support employees the ability to remotely view and interact with the screen of the person who submitted the ticket. This allows the system administrator to make quick fixes and answer questions without having to travel to the workstation in question.
Note: all of these solutions are capable of working remotely and wirelessly, allowing system administrators to cut down on travel time. If you are a one-person IT team as is common with small businesses, this means that you can get some of those daily maintenance tasks done over the weekend, even from home.
Everyday Automation Essentials
Automation is the secret weapon of small business system administrators. Automated data backups should be the first automated process you enact: backups are the only place to turn if the worst happens. Anything from an unexpected hardware failure to simple software bugs and even accidental deletions can lead to the loss of crucial, irreplaceable data like business contacts or shipment records.
Software and firmware updates help to prevent crashes, downtime, and risk of infiltration. Software developers release updates every time they detect a new bug or security vulnerability – timely installation is crucial. Do not put this responsibility on the employees at each workstation, and instead look for a fully featured patch management solution to detect and deploy those updates automatically. If you still need a simple update manager, click here now for Batch Patch.
Building a Simpler System: Software
Adequate software often ends up carrying a large price tag, but this investment will pay off once you no longer have a reason to pump money into those one-off tech support or data recovery services. Investing in the right software the first time will help your business save money and labor over the long haul.
No two businesses have the same software needs. On the other hand, small businesses have a few very specific requirements: the software needs to be current (in other words, the developers are still releasing updates and addressing customer enquiries) and it needs to be business-grade (consumer software is never as secure or flexible, nor does it compare it terms of developer support).
In fact, more and more small businesses are skipping those full software suites in favor of cloud solutions – cloud services come with constant customer support, the updates roll out automatically, and most of the configuration takes place behind the scenes.
Taking the Next Steps
Are you ready to give your small business system administrators the tools they need to keep your system rolling smoothly? The time and energy you invest in rolling out these upgrades will provide a worthwhile return, especially compared to the cost of obtaining the same level of network functionality and security through a third party provider.
Investing in ticket management and remote tool, configuring automated backups and updates, and streamlining your software selection are all great first steps toward establishing a more manageable network policy. The tools in this guide will ensure that your business will be in a better position to gain tech independence going forward.
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