Information Technology professionals frequently talk about the dangers of having a single point of failure. If your data isn’t backed up (and if those backups aren’t tested), you will eventually lose some of it, and there’s a good chance that some of it will be important. If you rely on a single internet provider at your office, you will likely experience downtime at some point during the year. The same goes for servers – if all of your applications are on a single server, there’s a danger that your entire technology infrastructure will fail due to one failing piece of hardware (especially if the server is getting up there in age).
This same thinking also applies to your technology team. If your company has an in-house team, how familiar is each member of that team with other members’ tasks? If you use a Managed Service Provider, is knowledge about your company’s technology being shared across the team so that multiple technicians are familiar with your network?
Here are a few things that can help to ensure that your company isn’t one departure away from disaster.
On any company team, it’s common for one person to be more knowledgeable about specific tasks than anyone else. They’re also likely to be the person most commonly assigned to fix those problems, because they’ll be most efficient at completing them.
No single person should retain all of the knowledge for any critical task at a company, however, including technical tasks. The members of your IT team should actively cross-train on important tasks each month so a sudden departure doesn’t turn into a knowledge chasm. If you’re using an internal IT team, consider implementing a monthly cross-training requirement to keep everyone up-to-speed on important tasks. If you use a Managed Service Provider, make sure that at least two technicians are familiar with your network’s infrastructure, the biggest risks you face, and the most common problems. This is the best way to avoid a single point of failure among those who manage your technology.
The benefits of documentation were recently covered by this blog. One of the biggest benefits is that new (or existing) IT team members can quickly get up to speed on any gaps left by sudden departures. This includes the departures of current employees as well as a transition to a new Managed Service Provider.
An Unplugged Vacation
If it’s very difficult for your company to complete tasks or solve problems when a specific technician leaves for vacation, that’s a bad sign that you don’t have adequate knowledge sharing throughout the team. As team members prepare to be out of the office, take stock of what tasks “have to” be completed ahead of time, and what tasks “can’t be done” because they’re out of the office. When they get back, make sure there’s a trained backup staff member for all of those tasks. In addition to helping your company better manage risk and avoid a single point of failure, this will help you to ensure that your employees can truly rest and recover without panicking about technical meltdowns when they’re on vacation!
To learn more about how WingSwept can help you to accomplish more while managing the risks posed by your technology, call us at 919.779.0954 or email us at Team_WingSwept@WingSwept.com.