Preventative maintenance is one area some small and even medium-sized businesses fail to adequately budget for. Some see it as spending their already-limited funds on things they don’t need at the moment. Others mistakenly believe that preventative maintenance is too costly and involves spending more money than they would on standard repairs. Still other business owners simply don’t know enough about the concept to fully understand why it’s important and why it should be done. Even those who do set aside some money for preventative maintenance may not do enough of it.
If you’re looking for ways to save money and reduce the amount you spend on IT repairs and replacements, preventative maintenance is the key. Here are some of the ways it will save you money.
What Is Preventative Maintenance?
Before looking at how preventative maintenance can benefit you, it’s important to know what it means. While the term is nearly identical in all industries, in the IT support world, preventative maintenance typically looks at hard drives, servers, and other pieces of hardware and software. The goal is to track the age and efficiency of those items and schedule a replacement time before they fail or become outdated. This way, you can control when the items are taken offline, minimizing the disruption to your network.
Preventative maintenance needs to be carefully scheduled. Some things may need to be done monthly, while other types of maintenance may be annual or done as needed. You’ll need to work with your internal team and your managed IT services team to create and fine-tune a preventative maintenance schedule.
Preventative Maintenance Reduces Downtime
One of the biggest benefits of doing preventative maintenance is that it allows you to reduce your IT downtime. When your network goes down unexpectedly because something fails, the downtime can be costly. If your customers can’t make purchases or your employees can’t schedule service requests or appointments, you’re going to lose money. When hardware fails, it can also damage other equipment, forcing you to replace more than would if you replaced the failing component earlier.
The keystone of preventative maintenance is scheduling. You can determine when to take certain servers offline to upgrade and maintain them. A hard drive can fail at any time, and if it does so during a peak period, it’s going to hurt. By scheduling downtime, you can ensure that doesn’t happen. You can take that hard drive offline late at night or on the weekend. It gets replaced without any major service interruptions.
For a website or other system that needs to always be online, you can prepare a temporary backup to take over the main load. You can seamlessly transfer your customers over to this other server while the main server is taken offline. While your backup server may automatically kick in if your primary one goes down unexpectedly, it may not be able to handle the sudden influx of users. Carefully transferring the load over to this server or splitting the load to multiple servers will help prevent this type of domino effect.
Another benefit to scheduling downtime is that you can have all of the equipment and tools needed prepared. You can purchase additional hard drives, memory, and other items and wait until you receive them. You won’t need to pay for expedited shipping or purchase the first replacement part you come across simply because you can get it immediately. You can take the time to research your options and compare prices. Preventing failures instead of reacting to them can save you a surprising amount of money.
Maintaining Your IT Security Protects Your Data
Cyber security is a concern many business owners have. They realize that if their network is breached and data were stolen, especially sensitive data like social security numbers or credit card numbers, their business reputation will be greatly damaged. This damage could be so bad that the company eventually has to close. Even if it’s not that bad, the business is going to see customers leave and will likely have to scale back any plans on growing or expanding for the foreseeable future.
If you don’t perform preventative maintenance on your system, you do run the risk of inadvertently opening up holes in your security. During the failure of a server, hard drive, or another part of your system, it could be possible for someone to slip in and steal data. Your backup servers may not be fully protected, or there could be an issue with software and your firewall that occurs because you’re using old software. Regardless of what causes it, failing to maintain your equipment and software can lead to cyber security issues.
Your Technology Runs More Efficiently
One part of preventative maintenance focuses on replacing older items. As your memory, processors, hard drives, and other parts of your servers get older, they’re no longer going to represent the best possible options. They may still work, but they may be holding you back. You may not be able to upgrade to new software because this older hardware can’t handle it. You may find that as you grow, your internal portals are running slower than they did because there are more people logged in at once.
By replacing parts that are starting to show their age, you can keep your system running more smoothly and at peak efficiency. This saves you money in a few different ways. First, your employees are able to work more quickly, and time is money. Second, customers won’t become frustrated with slow load times on their end, which can help with retention.
This form of preventative maintenance also helps reduce downtime. By replacing old hardware before it fails, you won’t have to worry as much about system crashes and the loss of money and time those bring with them. Newer hardware is also more likely to be more energy efficient, so you may see your utility costs drop as well.
Get More Out of Your Technology
Another reason why preventative maintenance is important is that it can extend the lifespan of your hardware. When you replace older hardware, you’re often eliminating potential conflicts and other issues that could affect other pieces of hardware. New hardware may draw less power and have less of a risk of overheating as well. You won’t need to replace the entire server like you might have to do if there’s a major system crash. Instead, your on-site support can simply regularly replace older hardware, allowing you to continue using some of the more expensive hardware for longer.
Even if you do eventually replace every single piece of a server, you spread those expenses out. You’re not going to have to drop thousands of dollars for a new server. Instead, you’ll pay a few hundred here and there to upgrade older parts. This can greatly help if you have a very limited IT budget.
How Do You Create a Preventative Maintenance Schedule?
One question many people have after learning about the benefits of preventative maintenance is how to implement it. It may seem overwhelming at first. Trying to figure out what hardware you should perform maintenance on, when to replace it, and how to budget for this can be difficult at first. There are tools out there that can help, of course, but tools can only help you so much. You need someone who has experience in preventative maintenance to help you get off on the right foot.
Working with a managed IT service is one way of ensuring you have experts on hand to help create your preventative maintenance schedule. Whether you need an on-site team or remote IT support, Wooden Spoon IT has the professionals you need to build a preventative maintenance schedule and implement it.
What Wooden Spoon IT Can Do for You
Wooden Spoon IT offers a wide range of managed IT services and support. We aim to make IT simple, taking over many of the daily tasks so you and your internal IT team can focus on things only you can do. We also have a diverse staff that has experience in many different areas of IT, including a number of cyber security experts. You get all of this experience and skill in one package, so you don’t have to worry about hiring all of these experts individually.
Partnering with Wooden Spoon provides small businesses with the IT resources they need but may not necessarily be able to afford. We will assist with your IT planning and strategy, preventative maintenance, security, remote support, and more. Whether you need us to help you form an IT plan from the ground up or simply want a partner who can take on some of the daily tasks so you don’t have to, we’re here for you.
By outsourcing, you’ll be able to better control your IT budget while reducing downtime and improving your technology’s efficiency. If you’re ready to take that step, reach out to us today to discuss how Wooden Spoon IT can help you with your IT services. Call us at 707-523-2222.