24x7 IT support and proactive IT management are becoming more necessary as the industry becomes reliant on technology. This is because when technology issues occur, businesses need to be able to respond efficiently, effectively, and timely to minimize supply chain disruptions – better yet, detect the problems before they happen.
In this blog, we will discuss how 24x7 IT support and proactive IT management can reduce supply chain disruptions, so your business remains productive and efficient around the clock. Read more below.
1. Providing Effective 24x7 IT Support
Effective, around-the-clock IT support is crucial for your supply chain, since disruptions can cost your business profits and customers. The following elements of effective 24x7 IT support let technology providers resolve unplanned disruptions on time.
a. 24x7 IT Support
Around-the-clock IT support is your first line of response when unplanned technological incidents occur. This ensures that you have access to a team of IT professionals that can resolve issues at any time so your business can quickly recover from IT incidents. Although this is obvious and logical, most companies cannot count on their IT support companies or their own IT department with reliable 24x7 IT support. So, make sure that your IT provider or department can provide you service around the clock.
b. Industry Specialization
Industry specialization is another element of effective 24x7 IT support that your company should have to address unplanned technological disruptions. Suppose your IT support provider thoroughly understands your industry's technology devices, such as barcode scanners, label printers, parcel or pallet dimensioners, they can address and correct problems quicker than an IT support company that is not specialized in your industry.
Specialized IT support companies understand the time-sensitive nature of the supply chain, so they have a greater sense of urgency to address the issues on hand in a timely manner.
c. Technology Specialization
In addition to industry specialization, having specialized technology personnel (Desktop, Server, Network Engineers) ready to provide 24x7 IT support can significantly reduce the time it takes to resolve technological incidents and bring your operations back online. These specialized engineers and technicians can do this very effectively because they thoroughly understand their discipline's ins and outs and have accumulated enough experience to troubleshoot a wide range of issues.
d. Service Level Agreements (SLA)
Lastly, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) must be defined with your 24x7 IT support provider or internal IT department to address unexpected technical issues in a timely fashion. This is because an SLA outlines and enforces the expected response, resolution, and escalation times that lead to problems being addressed promptly and in order of importance (high, medium, and low incidents).
2. Implementing Proactive IT Management
Another aspect of minimizing supply chain disruptions is proactive IT management. This aims to detect and address issues before they happen, so no disruption occurs. Here are some aspects of proactive IT management that companies should implement to reduce supply chain disruptions caused by technology incidents.
a. 24x7 Infrastructure Monitoring
24x7 monitoring allows IT support companies or departments to understand the standard behavior of their technology's infrastructure and health around the clock. Having this implemented allows them to detect and receive alerts when there is a deviation from the systems' standard performance (systems becoming unhealthy). By detecting these deviations, the IT support company or department can take corrective actions before the system fails, and as a result, minimize or prevent business and supply chain disruption.
b. System Maintenance
Another critical component of proactive IT management is system maintenance. Companies must consider implementing the following three basic strategies to minimize business and supply chain disruptions.
i. Security Management
Information security management refers to the controls and practices that a company puts in place and follows to ensure its systems are not compromised. When not properly implemented, systems are exposed to downtimes, and data can be destroyed or stolen. Some of the basic and common best practices that any company should implement include: strong access controls (i.e., strong passwords), network security, security policies, anti-malware software, software updates, user training, and systems' logs review.
ii. Patch Management
Patch management, which is often an ignored and under-recognized critical element of system uptime and security, is a must-have for any business that aims to minimize potential disruptions in their IT operations and supply chains. Patch management is the process of detecting, acquiring, and deploying software updates that address system problems (i.e., bugs and/or security exploits) that could cause a system to fail or be exploited by hackers.
iii. Logs Review
Logs review is probably the most ignored element of a proactive IT management strategy. Systems logs capture all the events (critical, warning, error, information) in a system. Reviewing these logs can provide excellent insight into your system's health. As a result, major problems can be detected and corrected before they disrupt your IT operations, the business, and the supply chain.
c. User Training
Last but not least, user training is one of the most overlooked but equally important component of a proactive IT management framework. Without this, users may not understand the threats that can bring down a system and unknowingly inflict damage to the system and data.
Recently, we have seen email phishing attacks that trigger viruses and ransomware like crypto locker that highjacks company data. To avoid these, users must be continuously trained on the best ways to prevent these kind of attacks. This makes user training a critical line of defense to ensure data protection, systems availability, and business continuity.
To conclude, 24x7 IT support and proactive management are necessary strategies that your IT provider or department must have to minimize business and supply chain disruptions. Especially now that supply chain operations are heavily reliant on technology, issues need to be detected and prevented. But if unplanned technological disruptions occur, you must have 24x7 IT support as a last line of defense to effectively address them on time.
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