Planning for Routine IT Maintenance: Best Practices to Follow
When it comes to keeping your firm’s IT infrastructure running smoothly, it’s critical to perform routine maintenance. Whether you manage your own technology or rely on an outsourced service provider, maintenance plays an important role in keeping your IT running at full speed. Setting priorities and expectations ahead of time will ensure your maintenance is performed successfully and does not negatively impact your firm.
Following are four areas to focus on as you plan your scheduled maintenance with your in-house or outsourced IT staff.
Be clear on who is responsible for what when it comes to the entirety of the maintenance schedule. By planning ahead, you can greatly reduce the time it takes to complete your firm’s maintenance and the resources you will need to complete all tasks.
Speaking of planning ahead, preparation may be the most important step in the maintenance process. Start by identifying the scope of work and developing a maintenance plan. Ask and answer the following questions as part of your preparation:
Who will be affected by the maintenance process?
Will any services be affected or disrupted?
How many resources (internal and/or external) will you require?
How much time will it take the complete all maintenance?
How will you test the success or failure of the maintenance?
3. Review, Resources & Notifications
Review expectations and the schedule of events with your IT team or provider prior to maintenance. Will maintenance take place during business hours or after? Conducting a site survey prior to maintenance will often help the process run smoother. Be sure to download software and order equipment early to reduce the need to make last minute adjustments and orders.
Don’t wait until the last minute to allocate resources. It’s better to have more than less – adding resources at the last minute can present challenges. In situations like this, it’s critical to have 24x7x365 support available on call via a Help Desk in case any issues arise.
Don’t forget to notify all affected users of the maintenance a few days before it is scheduled to take place. Communicate your plan to any third-party vendors that may support the application of the server or systems you are working on.
4. Execution, Testing & Communication
Once the maintenance has been completed, the testing phase can begin. Be sure to test all aspects of the systems being worked on and account for all items that integrate together. If you have a Help Desk monitoring your environment, ask them to verify that all systems are working properly.
Communicate maintenance and testing results to applicable staff and ensure onsite or on-call engineers are aware of any potential effects from the maintenance.
Editors Note: This article has been updated and was origianlly published in 2014.