Protect Your Business with Regular Maintenance
Here’s a fact: Regular maintenance efforts – including software updates – is crucial when it comes to protecting your business. If you have not been properly “caring” for the “health” of your company’s equipment through preventative maintenance, you may actually be surprised by the benefits a preventative maintenance tactic could bring to your overall operations.
Essentially, proactive maintenance performed regularly at predetermined intervals achieves a number of things, including prevention of asset failure, optimal performance of equipment, reduction of equipment costs over time and more. If your business has been relying on “reactive” measures with regard to equipment maintenance – that is, you normally wait until your hardware begins to show signs of damage before performing repairs – this post is going to make the argument for the flip side of that coin, covering such topics as:
- Microsoft’s update process and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)
- Security exploits that have been identified and corrected by Microsoft, such as BlueKeep
- Maintenance window concepts, best practices and some insight with regard to bank/government shutdowns
Why it’s Important That You Consider Regular Maintenance
The way we see it here at DMS iTech, there are five major reasons you should consider implementing a regular maintenance plan for your business.
- Significant Repair Prevention – Routine maintenance schedules will yield fewer major repairs vis software programs, because the fact remains that issues get worse over time – the longer your issues go un-addressed, the more damage they can cause.
- Extension of Asset Life – One of the most important reasons to invest in proactive maintenance is that it can help extend the usable life of your assets; we can tell you from firsthand experience that when equipment is neglected and not properly maintained, its lifespan is drastically reduced.
- Maintenance Cost Reduction – Preventative maintenance has been proven to lower physical equipment maintenance costs by enabling operators of the business to nip small problems in the bud before they turn into major ones.
- Delay Prevention – While creating and implementing a maintenance strategy may seem like an unnecessary expense at first, it should actually be viewed as a cost-saving investment in your company’s stability.
- Productivity Increase – A lack of regular maintenance can cause your equipment to slow down over time, rendering them less efficient and reliable. However, much of this deterioration can be avoided by investing in a maintenance plan and scheduling work orders at a right time.
Understanding Microsoft’s Update Process and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)
If you’re running Microsoft software platforms anywhere in your operation architecture, it’s vital to understand how the update process works, as this is a crucial step with regard to maintenance efforts. During the updating process, the Windows Update Orchestrator operates in the background to scan, download and install updates, and implements these actions automatically according to your settings (and in a silent fashion as to not interrupt your computer usage).
Once the Windows Update Orchestrator determines which updates apply to your system, it will begin downloading them if you have selected the option to automatically have updates downloaded; again, this is accomplished in the background, devoid of interrupting your normal system use.
Windows Server Update Services enable your company’s IT administrators to deploy the latest Microsoft product updates. You can use WSUS to fully manage the distribution of updates released through Microsoft Update to computers on your network, with practical applications encompassing the maintenance and stability of your production environment, centralized update management and update management automation.
Examples of Security Exploits Identified and Fixed by Microsoft
One of the major elements that regular maintenance of your systems addresses has to do with security exploits, and Microsoft has done a good job patching serious vulnerabilities that could enable a malicious party to remotely take control of Windows computers. Here’s what is essential to know: In more modern times, four remote code execution flaws have affected all in-support versions of Windows and concern the Windows Remote Desktop Services (RDS) component, enabling attackers to take over a computer and even propagate malware to other computers without any user intervention.
All in all, Microsoft has patched some 93 vulnerabilities as of late, with 29 of them marked as “critical” and 64 rated “important” in severity. Of these, the so-called BlueKeep vulnerability is the one we regularly keep customers abreast of, as it’s a “wormable” variant that allows for remote code execution. In the BlueKeep attack, an authorized party connects to a target system using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and sends specially-crafted requests; an attacker who successfully exploits this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code on the target system and then install programs; view, change or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.
DMS iTech can provide you a heap of further information concerning these security issues and what to do about them.
Maintenance Window Concepts, Best Practices and More
In the IT and systems management world, a “maintenance window” refers to a period of time designated in advance by the technical staff during which preventative maintenance may be performed. Businesses often automate their management computer systems, with IT staff being able to use software to automatically install software updates during “non-peak” hours of usage when a company is closed or at low activity.
Such scheduled updates can be considered best practices, and include:
- Operating system package updates
- Antivirus software definition updates
- Software version upgrades for installed programs
Now, when large institutions such as banks or even governments shut down due to IT issues, it can be irksome at best and deeply alarming at worst; worries about accessing money, paying bills on time and avoiding overdraft fees abound in conversations we’ve had with our own clients when they tell us about their bank shutting down, whether it’s during a minor glitch or widespread outage. The reasons these things happen vary, of course, running the gamut from planned maintenance updates at a bank or government department hitting a snag to an outage occurring because of something more extreme, and it seems no financial institution or other large entity is immune to these problems.
DMS iTech: Taking the Worry Out of Your Maintenance
Whether it’s a workstation or server of yours in need of regular maintenance, DMS iTech has you covered, leaving you with one less thing to worry about. We proactively maintain your workstations and servers while giving you the peace of mind to focus on more important work at hand, offering a host of plans and services to fit every budget and situation – from operating system patching and software updates to disk space optimization, software redundancy elimination and much more.