How To Minimise System Downtime Over The Weekend

By Alan Conduct|9 November 2018

It’s Friday and while many of your colleagues will be looking forward to a couple of days off, if you’re responsible for your organisation’s IT systems you’ll be hoping that you won’t get a call to say there’s an IT outage!

Increasingly companies can’t afford to have any downtime over the weekend. Although the office may be closed, work still goes on. Your customers and clients may still want access to IT systems, whether it’s simply browsing your website or accessing a client portal. Employees may also need access, for example if they’re putting in a few extra hours over the weekend at home. Any downtime could affect productivity, reputation and revenue generation. Also read 'How to Handle Out of hours IT Support' for further information.

On Call IT Support Out of Hours

If your business is ‘always up’, such as those operating in the hospitality sector where IT systems are used day and night, you’ve probably already got weekend IT support covered. However, in-house IT professionals are expensive and they like to earn more at the weekend!

Whether you currently have no out-of-hours support, operate an on call system, or have an IT support team onsite round the clock, you may be interested in some ways to reduce costs and run a more efficient out of hours service.

Minimise disruption and IT downtime over the weekend

Keep systems and applications up-to-date (however don’t update them on Friday!) – incidents can often occur when there’s a conflict between different applications, and versions of those applications. This is a common problem when employees use out-of-date versions of software on different devices; such as a corporate laptop used remotely vs. their office desktop computer. Conflicts like this often happen at the weekend when someone uses a device that’s not been updated.

By keeping everything up-to-date you can minimise the risk of this happening, but don’t run updates on a Friday! There’s always a risk that an update might go wrong, and you don’t want to be resolving that issue when everyone else has gone home.

Introduce self-serve options – downtime is not just caused by IT outages, it’s also a problem when users ‘get stuck’. Many minor issues can be resolved by the user if they have the information they need to hand. Therefore introduce self-serve options like knowledge banks, troubleshooting guides and AI chat bots, so they can sort themselves out. This will help prevent minor issues being escalated to your expensive IT team.

Migrate to the cloud – using cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure and Office 365 will reduce the risk of IT failures and provide a consistent experience for users whatever device they’re using over the weekend.

System monitoring and backups – a preventative approach to downtime (especially as a result of IT outages) is to use a proactive monitoring solution. This will identify threats and, depending on the nature of the threat or incident, take preventative action or escalate the issue to a human operator. Of course, regular backups also reduce downtime because they allow you to get up and running quicker if you do suffer an outage.  

IT service desk – if you’re noticing an increase in demand for IT support over the weekend, or want to cut the costs of running an in-house team out of hours, consider outsourcing your IT service desk. Using an IT service provider is a scalable solution, typically base pricing on ticket volumes – so you only pay for what you need. This can be a more affordable solution than staffing an internal service desk out-of-hours.

I hope the above points provide you with a few ways to minimise weekend disruption and save money. Have a great weekend!

You may also like to download our whitepaper on driving IT service desk efficiencies:

Further Information

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