Five IT Problems Guaranteed to spoil your Christmas

Ben Taylor

Everyone hopes for a little rest and recuperation during the festive season. However, most long-term IT professionals will have one or two tales to tell about when the machines have turned against them and interrupted their valuable family time.

Spoil-ChristmasIn this article, we discuss five of the things that could cause your cellphone to ring just at the point you’re beginning to unwind. Hopefully, by making yourself aware of them, you can make some advance effort to maximize your chances of an uninterrupted break.

1. Hard drive failures

Hard drives can fail at any time. That’s why things like RAID arrays and “hot spares” were invented!

Unfortunately, you can count on Murphy’s Law to ensure that drive failures always happen at the most inconvenient time. However, there are things you can do to lessen the chances of these failures ruining your day:

Make sure you have systems in place to alert you to an impending drive failure, and encourage your clients to include hot spares in their server specs if budget allows. At the very least, ensure you have spare drives available on each client site, so a call out means a simple drive swap, and not having to deal with manufacturers and suppliers during the Christmas period.

2. Poor communication of your operating hours

You can’t blame clients for disturbing you if you’ve failed to manage their expectations.

Within the next couple of weeks, you should be sending an email round informing clients of your planned operating hours over the holiday season. You should also remind them of these nearer the time. If a client calls on Christmas Eve and you haven’t told them you plan to close, the fault lies with you and not with them.

3. Power problems

It may be down to unique consumer power demands at Christmas, or it may simply be another example of Murphy’s Law at work, but power interruptions always seem to happen during the festive season.

For this reason, it’s essential to make sure UPS devices are well configured and tested. A server that comes crashing down and fails to boot back up could land you on a client site for days over Christmas, so you must make sure the risk of this is as small as possible.

4. Security breaches

Criminals don’t take Christmas off. In fact, the festive season is often seen as an opportunity. In this context, we mean cyber criminals as well as traditional opportunist thieves.

Take some time to make sure your defenses are all in place while offices are closed. This means everything from alarms and access control systems to firewalls and Internet security products.

5. Backup issues

You’d have to be a very irresponsible IT professional to notice a backup failing and not respond to the problem. So do yourself a favour and make sure all your client backups are working consistently long before Christmas. In particular, make sure there is an offsite copy of everything essential before offices close for the holidays.

How do you prepare for the Festive season? Share your advice in a comment below!