Maintenance Visits – Version 2
Everything you ever wanted to know about maintenance visits, but were too afraid to ask.*
*OK, it’s probably not a thought that has ever crossed your mind but, have a read anyway as you will hopefully see the benefits that adding maintenance visits to your contract can bring to your business. Failing that, at least you’ll be five minutes closer to going home and can actually say you were doing some legitimate “research” rather than “accidentally” being on Facebook or the BBC website or whatever.
WHAT ARE MAINTENANCE VISITS?
Maintenance visits are time set-aside for our engineers to visit your site and perform ‘maintenance’ tasks upon your physical and virtual servers as well as your network.
WHAT DO MAINTENANCE VISITS INCLUDE?
Deep breath, here we go: maintenance visits can include:
- Physical check of server(s), including check for warning lights. (If warning lights exist, fixes will be implemented. If fix attempt fails, black tape will be administered.)
- Removal of dust collection around intake fans. (Ooh, ask nicely and the engineer may let you have a go with the air duster cans. It is extremely satisfying!)
- Disk space report on all physical and virtual servers. (Please be advised that this does not at any point involve any of your disks going into space. Apologies again to previous customers for the misunderstanding. I have been reliably informed that the affected disks are due to re-orbit any day now.)
- Disk health checks. (Sadly, no tiny thermometers or stethoscopes are involved.)
- Event viewer checks - errors reporting. (I went onto Wikipedia in order to try to explain this, ended up reading about otters. Fascinating creatures.)
- Windows Updates checks - ensure servers and workstations are up to date and receiving Windows Updates. (Ah, the ‘Cuprinol’ explanation.)
- Microsoft Active Directory (AD) processes checks. (Erm, quite technical sounding stuff to make sure AD is functioning as it should? I’m lost here if I’m honest, but the people doing it will know. Hopefully?!)
We check to ensure the backup process is completing successfully, without issue and in a timely manner. Checks are made to ensure the backup capacity is within tolerance and any issues are reported. We will also restore a file to prove that the backup system is working as expected. (Should any of this not work, our engineer may need to pop and get something from his car. Do not be alarmed if you then hear the screeching of tyres, this will merely be a coincidence. 😳)
We check to see that your existing AV product is running correctly and is suitably protecting your network. We ensure the FSRM service is running. FSRM stands for File Server Resource Manager and some clever people here have created a solution using FSRM to automatically lock out a user account when ransomware activities are detected. (Reward yourself 5 points for knowing what FSRM stood for- my guess of: ‘Firewall Socket Relay Mechanism’ wasn’t even close!). We will apply firmware updates to your servers and firewalls etc. ensuring they are protected against emerging issues. Where applicable, we will create a list of the open ports on your Firewall.
Device Configuration Backup:
Date of last backup for switches and router. (I hardly…– no, maybe not.)
AD Users and Computers:
We check the user list to see if any users need to have their accounts disabled or taking out completely. (Relax, we don’t mean in a Soprano’s way).
We record the date of the last admin password change. (Usually in a secure document; rarely in a music studio under the masterful watch of Mr Simon Cowell.) If the password hasn’t been changed for more than 6 months, we will advise you that it requires updating. (To something secure not, for example, just the next number in a sequence. We’re looking at you, ‘password124’ users!).
Check the condition of the Comms Cabinet. (The porridge test: too hot, too cold or just right.) Check switches for fan noise and dust collection. (Air dusters at the ready again!) Check the cabling is colour coded and tidy. (We will want to make changes if it looks like someone threw random paint at Spaghetti Junction.) We will ensure the cab door is closed and that the cab is easily accessible. (Following our taxi ride, we will then make sure the Cab door in your Comms Room is closed and that the Cab is easily accessible.)
We check that the site documentation we hold on you is up-to-date. (Depending on which of our engineers visits your site, this will be a very simple or a painstaking process for us. We’re not going to mention any names though, despite how tempted we may be!)
Should we manage to get everything done, we will check for any outstanding support calls as well as any proactive alerts, and work on those in the remaining time we have onsite. (If we complete all of the support calls and alerts, some of the guys make an excellent cup of tea, are perfectly capable with a vacuum cleaner and love nothing more than washing cars.)
HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE HAVE MAINTENANCE VISITS?
Now that’s a bit more of a tricky question. Technically for us, the more visits you have, the more you will have to pay us. However, in spite of this, we’ll be realistic and say it really does depend on what you are looking to get out of them. We have some businesses that are perfectly happy with having quarterly visits, whereas others feel far more comfortable seeing us monthly. The absolute minimum we would suggest would be half-yearly visits. That way we can ensure we are tackling at least some of the issues that are likely to have arisen between visits. (Another benefit of having regular visits is that we can keep some of our guys out of the office. Parking can be a ruddy nightmare here at times!).
DO YOU OFFER A REMOTE MAINTENANCE OPTION?
Yes. We can perform a number of the steps above without having to visit your site. (But, then you wouldn’t get to spend some quality time with one of our lovely engineers. Seriously, parking here really can be a massive pain, please take them off our hands!).
WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?
If you would like to add maintenance visits to your IT support contract, or if you would like to talk to one of the team to learn a little more, then please call us on 01905 758 900 or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org and one of us will be happy to help.
THANK YOU! All that is left is for me to say is thank you for taking the time to read the information, if you made it all the way through, well done! Hopefully, despite the obvious tongue in cheek bits, you have understood why we are keen for our clients to add maintenance visits to their IT strategy. We assure you, it’s not just so we can make more money!