One of the challenges of building and maintaining a high speed network, is knowing when to take it off line and when not to interrupting the least amount of people as possible without pulling all-nighters or paying an IT company approximately $190 to do it for you.
1: Perform a Comprehensive Back and then do a complete restore from that Back up
During your holiday break look into doing a comprehensive back up for the year, but then recover from that back up. Many organizations invest thousands in back up services but have never done a run through of recovering from their back up ensuring it works. Your back up unlike your insurance policy can be tested before you have to file a claim then find out you aren’t covered.
2: Schedule Server Consolidation, Server Replacement or any major maintenance
This can be a time of year to look into consolidating any servers that you may be ready to take out of service or installing a new server. Other things to review are hard drive space being used and if they need to be upgraded to take on expected growth for the upcoming year. If you have been getting complaints the server is running slow, this would be a good time to upgrade the RAM. Remove any past users who may no longer be with the company whose managers may still be accessing their files and emails.
3: Evaluate new products
As a busy business owner this can be a time of year to test new products that you have wanted to explore. Setting up a test environment would be the best way to achieve this. I would suggest having the people who are impacted most test it then give some feedback. In addition, you and your Network Administrator can verify your current set up has enough horsepower to handle whatever the product is you chose to test.
4: Review your security and usage policies
In today’s world of “Bring Your Own Device”, it is important to ensure that when your employees are using these devices your security policies are protecting that data and protecting your proprietary information. Equally important, they should be protecting your customer’s information. The rules governing PCI Compliance and HIPAA are forever changing, so this is a good time to update these policies.
5: Plan and Budget your Life Cycle for the year.
Take a look at your inventory of switches, firewalls, servers, computers, software and devices that run on your network. This is a good time to budget for the replacement of any of these devices or software so that there are no surprises throughout the year. In addition, take a look at what devices and software have had reoccurring issues that are costing you more in repairs than it would to replace that product.