Hard questions.

Hard questions are what we face whenever we have a consultation with a new client. Over the years, we’ve discovered there is a simple explanation: their IT guy was someone they had on staff already–a cousin, friend, or their 18-year-old intern. They’re decent enough with computers that they can, most of the time, fiddle around and eventually resolve the problem. But the reason we get the call is because, inevitably, something intrinsic crashed and they needed more than what their IT guy could handle. So, they come to our door with a handful of worst-case scenario questions ready to see how we can remedy what went wrong.

We thought we would take a moment and share with you five questions you should ask your IT guy to make sure the relationship will work for you and your business.

Five Questions for Your IT Guy:

1. When was your last successful backup?

This is the root of the problem. Most of the time, their IT guy uses a tape backup. It makes sense as it’s the easiest backup method, but the problem is it just-so-happens that tapes fail 75% of the time when a recovery is attempted. It’s important to follow this question up by seeing verifiable evidence of a successful backup (don’t worry about hurting their feelings).

At Preemo, we have built a superb backup system that includes both an on-site server dedicated to backups and a remote system for secure backups on the cloud.

2. How is your network secured?

An incorrectly secured network is like chronically leaving the front door to your home open; it’s just begging for something bad to happen. It is absolutely essential to have a proper firewall installed as well as the correct method to protect your network¬†while doing repairs to the firewall. It’s also critical to have an internal IT policy about how to store passwords safely (just letting your computer remember them isn’t a good idea) and a properly set-up wireless security system.

3. What is your server warranty status?

While extended warranties can be a scam in other industries, when it comes to servers it’s an absolute necessity. Servers can become overworked as they never get a break. They should be put into retirement every five or six years as the max warranty with any server is five years. And as server parts are so hard to come by, it’s best to always have yours under warranty.

4. How many dedicated technicians do you have?

Having one guy as your entire IT department is a recipe for disaster. Eventually, something is going to go wrong when he (or she) has pneumonia or jury duty. Without backup staff, and technicians that are dedicated to specific trades, their reliability becomes a significant issue. That’s why we have an Apple certified tech and a dedicated network engineer on staff. We back up the backups.

5. What is your disaster recovery plan?

This is what it comes down to. In the event of an emergency like theft or irreplaceable damage, your IT guy should have a process in place to bring the company back up. They should know how many hours/days/weeks it will take and whether anything will be lost in the process. If they don’t, well, you should realize the risks you’re taking.

Want to find out what our disaster recovery plan is?