Give your computer network a quick risk assessment with these 10 questions!

This ‘self check’  test will provide you with 10 questions which will help you quickly identify any potential risks to your business computer systems.

  1. Server Warranty
    • Question: Is your server covered by a manufacturers warranty (or 3rd party post manufacturers warranty) which includes the replacement of parts, with on-site labour provided by the manufacturer, and a response to any support request in 4 hours or less?
    • Reason: If your server is out of warranty, or the warranty doesn’t include on-site parts & labour, or there is no guaranteed response time, you may be sitting on a cost time bomb just waiting to happen.
  2. Server Monitoring
    • Question: Is someone constantly observing the health of your server, looking for possible hardware faults like failing hard drive devices?; ensuring that the server resources are not being stretched and causing network slow downs due to lack of memory, processing power or storage?; looking for errors in the system log files which may indicate problematic software or even hackers trying to get into your systems from the internet?
    • Reason: Unless someone is keeping a watchful eye on your server, you really have no way of knowing how well it is performing, when it is slowing your business down, or when it needs some TLC.
  3. Data Backup
    • Question: If you came into your office today and found it had been broken in to, do you have an offsite backup of all the data you absolutely could not continue your business without, from yesterday (or at least the day before)?
    • Reason: Most people backup but not everyone performs a daily backup on to a different / rotated piece of media (tape, external hard drive, cloud backup solution, etc) which they store off site. If your office was robbed, burnt to the ground, flooded or suffered any other catastrophe, are you confident that you have an up to date copy of all your data stored off-site that you could confidently use to get your business back up and running quickly?
  4. Backup Test
    • Question: Do you or your current IT provider perform a monthly backup test, restoring a random set of files or folders from a randomly selected backup set, and ensuring that the restored data is not corrupt?
    • Reason: Just because your daily backup ran and told you it was successful doesn’t mean it is. Unless you are testing your backups regularly you have absolutely no way of knowing whether you will be able to rely on that backup in the event of an emergency.
  5. Disaster Recovery Strategy
    • Question: Do you have a disaster recovery solution in place which takes a full backup (snapshot) of your server (not just your data) and will allow you to restore the server to the same hardware, or other hardware, and have the system running again in less than one day?
    • Reason: Even though your backup software may be configured to backup your entire server to tape or external hard drive, the process of actually restoring your server from that backup is often more complicated than you realise. A proper disaster recovery solution will allow you to take a ‘snapshot’ of your server and restore it to the same system, or even another server or virtual machine, in a few hours, and be a painless and smooth process.
  6. Battery Backup / Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
    • Question: Is your server, network equipment (network switches, modems, routers, firewalls) and backup devices (external hard drives, tape devices, etc) connected to a UPS (battery backup) device which can provide these systems with at least 10 minutes ‘run time’ in the event of a power outage and is your server configured to gracefully shut down if power does not resume after this time?
    • Reason: Unless your server and your backup devices are connected to a UPS you risk data corruption in the event of a power outage. Additionally we find that devices like switches and modems can cause network connectivity problems if they are not connected to a UPS to help filter and regulate the power. Further, if the UPS is not connected to your server via USB and the UPS software is not configured to gracefully shut down your server, your data could be corrupt by an ‘unclean’ shutdown.
  7. Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Test
    • Question: How old is your UPS? Have you replaced the batteries in the last 18 months? Have you performed a UPS battery test in the last 6 months?
    • Reason: The batteries in your UPS are no different to the batteries in your television remote or wireless mouse. Over time they degrade. If your UPS is not regularly tested you have no way of knowing whether the batteries work.
  8. Anti Virus
    • Question: Is the anti virus product your company uses listed on the latest AV Comparatives report with an ‘Advanced’ rating or higher?  Is it installed on every server, laptop and desktop computer? Is the version installed the latest version and are the virus definitions up to date (should be no more than 1-2 days old)?
    • Reason: There’s a lot of anti virus products out there and many people base their selection on their experience with the product versus those of others, but we can all have bad experiences with a good product and vice versa. If your anti virus software isn’t being independently tested by a trusted advisory, or it’s not scoring well in these tests, is your business really safe from viruses and malware?
  9. Internet Security
    • Question: Does your business have a proper firewall (not just a modem or router that has a ‘firewall’) which scans all internet traffic, both inbound and outbound, for viruses, malware and known threats?
    • Reason: Most ADSL modems and routers have a built in firewall, however they are relatively ‘simple’ and do nothing more than blocking traffic from the Internet based on a set of “allow” rules. A proper firewall with deep packet inspection can scan all internet traffic for threats and remove them before they even reach your computers, adding an extra layer of protection to your computers.
  10. Site Documentation
    • Question: Do you or your IT provider keep up to date site documentation on all your computer systems, which is stored at your business so it can be accessed by either yourself or a computer technician quickly in the event of an emergency? Does the documentation include a full list of all your computer hardware, their configuration, warranties, software and software licenses? Does the documentation include step by step instructions for your backup and disaster recovery strategies that you or one of your staff can understand and follow in the event of an emergency, without needing a geek-to-english translator?
    • Reason: If all the knowledge of your computer systems is stored in the head of one person, or even if the information is documented, but only your IT provider has direct access to it, what will happen to your business in an emergency? What happens if that provider goes out of business? Your site documentation should be kept up to date and cover everything that you may need to help explain your IT systems to anyone else, or to get your business up and running fast after a catastrophe.

How did you go? Did you answer YES to every test?

If you struggled to answer any of the questions in this test, chances are your site documentation is either non-existent or insufficiently detailed.

If you could answer these questions, however weren’t able to answer YES confidently to all of them, your current IT provider may be making money out of  you by ‘fixing problems’ rather than recommending and implementing solutions and strategies which will significantly reduce the risk of computer problems.

Get Peace Of Mind With Our 47-Point Problem Prevention Network Assessment

This 10 point risk assessment is a small part of our 47-Point Problem Prevention Network Audit.

Our FREE network assessment will

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  • Diagnose any ongoing problems or concerns you are currently experiencing with your network.
  • Verify the integrity of your data backups. (Note: Tape backups fail at the rate of 78% of the time; don’t wait for a crisis to hit before you discover yours weren’t working!)
  • Look for hidden viruses, spyware, and loopholes in your network security that could allow hackers and viruses to compromise your network and confidential information.
  • Review your server logs to uncover developing problems and conflicts that will turn into unexpected downtime.
  • Answer your questions about upgrades, adding new equipment, remote access, or any other project you have in mind.

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Simply fill in the form below and we will arrange to perform our 47-point assessment on your computer systems and help you identify any other potential issues before they cost you money!

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