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How to ensure effective maintenance of your systems and websites

Have you ever wondered why it’s important to be on top of the maintenance of your current IT systems and solutions? If so, you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we will outline the importance of having control of the operation and maintenance of your systems and solutions as well as the major challenges it presents if you do not have control.

Is it sometimes a challenge for you and your company to keep up to date on the latest technological systems within IT?

The technological world is changing at a rapid pace. The new technological versions within various IT-systems contain improvements, and if you don’t remember to keep up to date with these, you may end up in a situation where you don’t know exactly how to use the systems anymore. Therefore, it’s crucial to stay up to date and be prepared if you want to gain a competitive advantage in the market.

There are countless IT-systems in both public and private companies, and it can seem huge and unmanageable to maintain these – particularly because many of these companies are constantly updating and improving their existing IT-systems, and some companies are even developing new systems that are even better than the current ones. Maintenance of systems and solutions help extend the lifespan of your internal processes.

Many of our customers spend a fair amount of money on a good web system or website – but, unfortunately, many often forget the importance of maintenance once the site is fully developed. This increases the risk that their website could potentially be hacked or completely shut down.

So, why is it that the maintenance of IT-systems is so important?

The importance of maintenance can be outlined in the following points:

  • Maintaining your systems is important, in order for your website to be updated on the latest technological updates, to keep up with developments in IT.
  • In terms of maintaining the speed of the solution, maintenance is also important.
  • If you maintain your systems, it’ll eliminate the risk of outdated solutions. Typically, solutions that are not updated will crash more often than usual, have unexpected downtime, errors, and be slow.
  • A maintenance agreement with Twentyfour entails that we become an IT partner that ensures that all business-critical and non-critical needs are met. 

What are the benefits of having a maintenance agreement?

At Twentyfour, we believe that optimizing and maintaining your digital systems and websites are important to achieve a good business result.

Andrius Bendikas, who is our Head of Account Management at Twentyfour, describes in the following sections what the benefits of a maintenance agreement are and what exactly it entails.

What does it mean to maintain one’s systems and a website?

Maintaining a system (website, webshop, integration, or other software programs) means that the system is up to date when it comes to versions (dependencies) of any libraries, plugins, core system (e.g. WordPress’ CMS core), and other technology related services used in the system. In addition, one must host in the right place, be up to date in relation to the security and monitoring standards, the system must be well documented, and be well supported by a team that manages the systems (typically DevOps).

Which elements are important to maintain, to ensure effective maintenance of one’s systems?

Of course, there are many factors that come into play when it comes to maintenance. However, there are still 5 elements that are more important than others in terms of ensuring maintenance and upkeep of one’s systems – and we will get into them here.

1.     The system must be up to date

IF the system isn’t updated, it will typically lead to unexpected crashes, which will take longer and cost more money to repair due to the age of the system, than if (an otherwise “old”) system had been updated. And a website with downtime ultimately also means lost sales.

In addition, it will give a bad impression of the company to customers or other visitors who use the system, if it does not work. Fortunately, many major crashes can be avoided with proper updates of the system, website, webshop, integration(s), and other software programs.

2. It’s important to host in the right place

This is extremely critical as the issues are sometimes system related (see previous section) or server related. When there are server problems, it’s important to know where the system is hosted at, so the problem can be found and narrowed down. If hosting is done with a cheap provider without a support team (or a slow support team), it may be necessary to move a solution to a new server, and this is a lengthy and expensive process.

The time it takes to find and solve the problem can be extremely difficult to predict. If hosting takes place in a place that does not allow much customization when it comes to the server, the problem may not be resolved.

All of the above can create a long process in terms of correcting any errors/crashes, high costs, and many dissatisfied users.

3.     You must be up to date with the latest security and surveillance standards

Many systems have security holes that are constantly exploited. This means that insecure passwords make the systems easily hackable. If the login to the admin panel is easy, this can be used brutally to hack the system – it’s e.g. not a good idea if a login ends along the lines ofof www.yourdomain.com/admin.

In addition, lack of monitoring can make it impossible to prevent the problems that could otherwise be avoided and will also result in a lack of backup(s).

Lack of monitoring naturally leads to lots of data loss, hacked data, webshop, and websites that are down as well as a long wait to get the site up and running again while we get rid of hackers. Therefore, it’s important to keep up to date with the latest security and surveillance standards.

4. It’s important to be well supported by the team that manages the systems (typically DevOps)

This becomes very important when the system becomes more complex and has many users. Having the right team to update, secure, and document the system is key to the system’s long-term stability and success – from a technical point of view. This is where systems maintained by an in-house IT-person or a freelancer begin to crumble. And when a person quits or the freelancer is busy, questions and tasks can easily start to pile up. At Twentyfour, we have our own DevOps team who are eager to help our customers maintain the solutions as best they can and avoid a lot of potential problems. It’s important to have a good team in order to achieve common goals and results.

5. The system must be well documented

Whether the system is developed internally with a freelancer or through an agency, you come a long way with good documentation (i.e. that the system is supported by factual and reliable documentation). Good documentation can help solve problems faster and move the system faster from one server to another.

On another note, it’ll also help to avoid wasted time and high costs, as it will require less time to familiarize the system. It’s even important to understand why the system was built to begin with, what the purpose was behind it, what it was meant to do, and what it was not meant to do.

As an example, at Twentyfour we use Design Document to document the “Design” behind the system, its purpose, requirements, technical specifications, and why certain solutions in the system have been implemented. This helps us internally, it helps our client, and in case we collaborate with another agency that needs a bit of information, we are able to deliver it quickly.

Let’s quickly summarize…

There are clearly many benefits to maintaining one’s systems and solutions – internally as well as externally. Let’s summarize the benefits below:

  • Maintenance helps extend the life of your current systems
  • Maintenance will help keep hackers away and prevent the system from shutting down
  • You give your customers the best impression by being fully updated on all your systems
  • If a company wishes to position themselves favorably in the market, it’s essential that they stay up to date on the latest technological versions.

If you’d like the security in knowing that your systems run optimally, then you are more than welcome to contact us for a non-committal talk, and we will take it from there. Our operation and hosting agreements ensure that your digital systems and websites run 24/7, which means that you will always be able to give your customers the best experience. 

At Twentyfour, we really want to help you with the maintenance of your systems

At Twentyfour, we want to have control over our clients’ maintenance, so that we can help them in the best possible way in all aspects of the maintenance agreement itself. A maintenance agreement in Twentyfour entails that we become an IT partner that ensures that all business-critical and non-critical needs are met. That is, if something should go wrong, it is our job to fix it. We make sure to warn our clients when passwords are not secure and when to change administrator panel links to custom links that a web robot cannot find. We monitor the systems around the clock and make constant backups to avoid potential problems. Our team is always ready – and we believe that responsibility is shared, and that individual success equals team success.