Simple ways to reduce the chance and duration of downtime that don’t require expert IT knowledge.
Downtime is one of the biggest areas of concern for many of our clients and for good reason; it hinders productivity, frustrates clients and negatively impacts the image of your organisation if left unattended for too long. Fortunately, there are many simple solutions available that don’t necessarily require an in-house IT specialist to execute.
In this post we will be discussing some of the solutions that are currently available including:
- Backup and Cloud Storage
- Secure Server Hosting
- Content Distribution Networks
- Vulnerability Notification via RSS Feeds
We have chosen these techniques as they are all relatively simple to implement and manage.
Backup and Cloud Storage:
We’ve talked about the benefits of cloud storage before in a previous blog, but we’ll stress our point again: Cloud storage is a clear-cut solution to minimise downtime and keep your data secure. Cloud technology keeps your data backed up automatically and allows for select access to specific users, minimising the potential for internal data leaks from humans. If cloud solutions don’t seem like a good fit for your enterprise, the importance of regular manual backups cannot be stressed enough.
Secure Server Hosting:
This one might seem obvious, however it’s always worth considering whether your current server hosting team is up to the task of preventing attacks and system failures on their end. In a small not-for-profit environment, it can be enticing to go for a faceless server hosting company if it’s the cheapest available. The problem is that cheaper server hosting companies often cut corners by not having measures in place to prevent against deliberate attacks, system failures and human errors that all contribute to downtime.
Things to consider:
- Does your current provider have 24/7 support? Are they on-site?
- How old are their systems?
- Have you visited their data centre? Does it look professional?
- Are they effective network managers? Are you alerted of downtime and data breaches?
It always pays to ask other not-for-profit agencies and commercial businesses to see who they’ve had good experiences with.
Content Distribution Networks (CDNs):
You might have already noticed the widespread adoption of CDNs over the last half decade. CDNs re-distribute chunks of your data in select server locations around the world. In addition to obviously making load times shorter for any employees, clients or beneficiaries around the world, this has the added benefit of integrated redundancy when configured properly. If someone deliberately attacks one server, your web address will automatically re-direct traffic to another server.
Taking down websites and online systems equipped with CDN technology now requires much more co-ordination and computing power. Often, larger CDN companies have a whole suite of security solutions available to prevent against data breaches, bot usage and malicious attacks as well, which can also prove handy in minimising downtime.
Stay Up to Date with Exploit News:
Keeping on top of all the latest news for any external security, network and IT management products you use could prevent data breaches and other unwanted technology issues. Usually, most mainstream software providers have a news or blog feed that keeps their users up to date with the latest information, and using an RSS feed reader is a simple way to combine all of their feeds into one place. Taking a quick moment at the start of each day to scan the headlines is a fast way to make sure you’re on top of any potential data breaches, service outages or other issues.
Evaluate Your Weaknesses:
There are many solutions available to minimise the chance and duration of downtime, however each can make managing your network slightly more complicated. It is worth taking an arms-length evaluation of your enterprise to identify any potential weaknesses before integrating solutions you may not need. There is no way to completely guarantee zero downtime, and it’s important to look at the costs and benefits of each proactive solution you implement.
Human IT manage IT solutions for not-for-profit organisations all over Australia. If you’d like us to evaluate your security weaknesses and potential for downtime, get in touch with us to see what solutions would best serve your organisation in the future.