Jamie Claret on Channel 4 News discussing Windows 7

Monday, 19 April 2010

What are your support company ACTUALLY doing for you?

I had a meeting today with an account manager of a large IT Support company. We were discussing the good things and bad things that her employer did and how good or badly they support their clients.

One matter which got raised was to do with backup monitoring and how badly her existing employers did this. I was shocked but not at all surprised. Many companies offer a full range of what are termed as 'managed services'. A Managed Service is a concept where the provider takes over the control of the monitoring of your IT systems and fixes the problems before you even know about it.

This is great and a worthwhile service to have, we offer it ourselves. The problem arises when the company providing the service have a 'set and forget' attitude to the monitoring. There are lots of areas I could talk about here but the most important one, and the one that often gets overlooked is the backups.

The backup, which is never appreciated or taken seriously unless something goes wrong, is THE most critical element of your system. It is only when something goes horribly wrong and there is NO backup that it seems to focus the mind!

many managed service providers claim to be monitoring your backup, but to what extent? and more importantly , how do you KNOW they are?

Many companies still use tape backups but I cannot tell you how many I have walked into and they could not tell me the last time someone tried to extract some data from the tape, its scary!

At The PC Surgery we have a daily backup routine which is checked against all of our clients every single day. If we do not receive a successful notification or if there is an error we have an internal SLA(Service Level Agreement) to ensure that the problem is resolved AND tested. Yes this is time consuming and yes this is a cost to us BUT if we get the phone call that all support companies hate - "Hello, our server is dead" we can relax knowing that the backups were completed and successful.

1 comment:

  1. Justin Leaderman25 April 2010 at 15:34

    Ahh the good old tape backup, don't you just love it :) As you said to be fully covered it is vitally important to have a restore test as part of your testing schedule. We still use the trusted tape backup, the amount of companies trying to sell me online backup now has increased dramatically, both to the cloud and also to server farms in co-hosted sites/data centres. This is probably the future, bit too soon for me to trust my data down one single pipe though at the moment. DR is the interesting topic at the moment, it has come on leaps and bounds since the bums on seats scenario. It's amazing the amount of companies that still don't have a proper backup or DR scheme in place.