What to do When Your IT Doesn't Work

These days it is increasingly the case that when your IT doesn't work, neither does your business. Clearly, the best way to deal with IT problems is prevention, which means doing regular backups, proper systems maintenance, keeping anti-virus protection up to date, having good security procedures and ensuring that you have the right contracts in hand to start with but what should you do if you have a serious IT failure?

The first priority is to get your business functioning properly again as soon as possible. The very first step is to identify the actual cause of the problem. Is it a software fault, a conflict problem, a hardware fault or something else? Until you know why the breakdown has occurred, it may be inadvisable to restore from your most recent backup.

If you do not know the cause of the breakdown (and the chances are that each supplier will blame someone else), you'll need to call in an expert firm to rescue the system fast, so make sure you know who the firms in this field are and which of those can help you. It is essential to have a carefully thought-out disaster recovery plan, as breakdowns are almost inevitable. Being prepared for them is just common sense.

Once the system is restored, your thoughts will turn to apportioning the blame and getting compensated. One little-known problem is that the actions you take in the "rescue" phase may impair your ability to get compensation later. You must also keep the cooperation of your suppliers on a day-to-day basis! We can assist you in negotiating a satisfactory resolution with your suppliers and make sure your rights are fully protected.

What rights you do have will depend on what you have agreed in your contract. One of the big problems with IT contracts is that the suppliers are usually experienced in negotiating these contracts whereas the purchasers are not. The time to get it right is at the beginning; so, making us part of that negotiation process may well mean you avoid head aches later!

A byte of IT prevention is worth many megabytes of cure!