Needy Networks

By Kate Supino

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A corporate network is the virtual lifeblood of any company--through it, data and valuable information (hopefully?!) flow from the far reaches of the Internet down through the company’s system(s) and into the appendages of employees' PCs. As a result, when your network goes down, it can feel as though your company has been paralyzed by a stroke.

What to Do When Your Corporate Network Goes Down

Step 1: Don't panic. Networks sometimes go down in phases, so your employees may be able to salvage their most recent work.

Step 2: Shut down. Stop typing; stop working; stop saving!

Loss Prevention in the Event of a Network Failure

"The quality of your backup system determines how long you'll be down for” wouldn’t be a fair assessment:

If you are smart enough to invest in a solid backup system, you might only be down for an hour, with no data lost.

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Solid backup systems include mirror drives and redundant servers, where you simply unplug the downed drive, and plug in the redundant server.

Some things to do once you have a solid backup system are:

Write down the procedure for getting the network back up and running. Make the instructions detailed, and keep several copies around the office. One copy should reside in the server room.

Have a mock run. Choose a weekend and hire a tech person to come in and orchestrate a mock network failure. Run through every step just like it was a fire drill.

Remember, your network won't go down when you don't need it. It will always go down when you most need it, because network problems are most often related to traffic issues.

Preventing Network Failure in the Future

Properly shut down all computers at the end of the day. When you get too many connections, things can come in that overpower your server.

Even screensavers take up network space and having computers constantly trying to get email can unnecessarily use up resources.

Keep up with the automated updates.

These updates are designed to bugs, install important security updates and install patches. You can't let those get behind because then things start happening, like viruses and firewall breaches. When your computers are running different versions of updates, problems can arise.

The best solution is to have a dedicated IT person on staff or on retainer who can help you to ensure that your network is in the best possible health.


About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.

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