Following the COVID-19 pandemic escalation in the UK, IT and technology hardware has been working harder than ever. Whether it’s upholding essential infrastructure for our heroic NHS and lifeblood delivery services or enabling small businesses to push through with online sales, it’s safe to say that we’re depending on IT not letting us down right now. Which means that keeping on top of hardware housekeeping has never been more important.
However, with most IT Managers now off-site and remote working hardware experiencing significantly heavier use, it’s likely that many businesses will be hit by an outage. Although concrete statistics aren’t yet in concerning remote working upsurges as a result of COVID-19, mobile networks including Vodafone and TalkTalk have reported a 30% rise in internet use since the UK’s lockdown began.
As a result of additional strain and the element of surprise, several networks have faced mass connectivity issues, leaving customers without access to essential calls and data. Networks have since stressed just how critically important engineers, spare components and unobstructed maintenance will continue to be as our country recovers.
Increased pressure on connectivity equals increased pressure on the hardware that’s powering remote working and ecommerce infrastructure. A myriad of physical technology and engineering – data centres, servers, cabling, computers, firewalls and many more peripherals – make home working and online sales happen. The backbone of many a British business at present.
With specific hardware under heavier strain, the potential for outages (leading to downtime) skyrockets. And in these times of complete dependency on network access for colleagues to deliver services (and for most, the only opportunity to make money being online) trust in your hardware’s performance is paramount.
But unlike software, remote fixes for hardware are not as simple. An engineer usually needs to be physically on-site – often quickly to avoid business continuity threats – something that’s not as straightforward as it once was. Therefore, hardware housekeeping and maintenance must safely continue in two key forms:
- Monitoring with manufacturer’s or third-party support
Hardware maintenance is essential to ensuring your business can continue servicing customers and processing sales. If you’re in a key industry supply chain, it’s especially important that you won’t be impacted by hardware failure and that systems remain highly available.
Although larger projects are inevitably on hold at present, extending manufacturer’s support or purchasing third party support (such as our hardware support managed service) will help maximise a hardware asset’s lifespan until we’ve passed the COVID-19 crisis, and you understand your new IT budget better. This is especially important for critical hardware involved in remote working infrastructure and order processing.
Hardware maintenance support will monitor performance and error alerts on some hardware, flagging for your provider to undertaken preventive maintenance on. This means you can mitigate a disruptive emergency later down the line and give you peace of mind that hardware will be there when it is needed, without any large investments.
Support will identify a particular component failure or faulty part that’s causing an outage or performance lag but not a complete hardware failure. For example, a hard drive failure in a laptop or a component in a SAN where there are redundant systems.
Maintenance replaces or remotely fixes faulty parts or rebuilds the software, rather than providing an entirely new piece of equipment – helping your hardware stay available for longer during these uncertain times.
- Emergency break/fix support
If you’re able to do business during this time, (and we wholeheartedly hope you are), you’ll know that hardware simply must work so that you can seamlessly market, sell, process orders and deliver goods.
But streamlined operations and a portion of staff working from home have given little room for maneuver. If there’s an outage that can’t be fixed remotely or resolved with maintenance, you really can’t afford to haemorrhage overhead costs or cause a delay in the supply chain while you wait for a fix.
K3 is still providing 24/7 hardware break/fix support 365 days a year and will endeavor to reach your site as quickly as possible if a remote fix is not viable. Following UK Government guidelines, we have established a safe way to attend sites and ensure that social distancing is in place.
COVID-19 has put IT’s role in business continuity in the spotlight, and we hope that the information we’ve shared will help answer questions and ease some concerns. On a more personal note, we sincerely wish that you and those close to you remain safe. And a huge thank you to our key workers who are helping in so many fundamental ways.