Computer systems play a crucial role in your company’s daily operations. Problems with those systems can disrupt your operations—and those disruptions can lead to lost productivity, lost customers, and lost business opportunities, all of which hurts your bottom line. Consequently, keeping your computer systems secure and operating at peak efficiency needs to be a top priority.
How to Keep Your IT Running Smoothly
To help ensure safe, efficient computer systems, you need to monitor and manage all facets of your IT environment regularly. This means you need to:
Applying software updates is a task that sometimes gets postponed or ignored, but it is crucial that you apply updates promptly. Proper patch management helps to fix any bugs discovered in your applications as well as provide enhancements. Most important, though, updates close known security vulnerabilities, which helps protect your computer systems from cyberattacks.
Another important but often ignored task is regularly inventorying IT assets, recording such information as serial numbers, licensing details, and location. For computing devices, it is also important to keep track of information about the installed applications, including their version numbers. Tracking IT assets lets you know much more than simply how many devices you have and where they are located. You will know other pertinent information, such as how old your equipment is, when a license is nearing its expiration date, and whether applications are receiving the necessary patches and updates.
Monitoring your servers, desktop computers, and other devices for known security issues is one of the most important parts of your overall computer security strategy. While monitoring your computers for missing software updates is a good first step, more needs to be done. For instance, you should monitor a computer’s event logs to see if there have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to remotely access it. This provides insight into attack is taking place rather than finding out days or weeks later when a hacker manages to gain entry and steal data or implant malware.
The time to think about the performance of your computer systems is not when they grind to a halt. You need to continually monitor the performance of your servers, desktop computers, and other devices. For example, you should regularly track memory and processor utilization as well as check the amount of free disk space available. Collecting performance data about your computer systems over time lets you identify detrimental long-term trends, even before issues reach levels that would trigger an alert.
Employees are increasingly using laptops, tablets, and smartphones for work when they are both in and out of the office. When you provide employees with mobile devices, you need to monitor and manage them just like desktop computers. If employees are allowed to use their own mobile devices for work, you should provide secure mechanisms (e.g., virtual private networks) for the devices to connect to your computer systems and then manage those mechanisms.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many other tasks on a monitoring and management “To Do” list.