Fourth quarter, the holiday rush and Black Friday, there are myriad reasons why this time of the year is the most lucrative and—thereby important—season for businesses everywhere. Yet, as companies scramble to keep up with increased demand, they may also close off anything that could jeopardize their ability to earn as much revenue as possible. This is known as the “IT Freeze”.
Many companies engage in a practice of locking down their IT departments, preventing system upgrades or changes during the busy holiday season. They do this because they fear such updates could shut down the company’s operation at a time when it is needed most. And in the process of abandoning these updates, needed patches and firewall changes could also be left unattended.
Four Things You Should be Doing Leading up to the IT Freeze
While many IT departments are forced into dormancy during the fourth quarter, there are real, strategic advantages for companies willing to continue IT improvements—and not all of them are tied to up-to-date security, though that is certainly important.
Utilizing a company’s IT department during and before this time allows the business to get a head start on competitors standing still and start 2018 with a lead. It’s a time for innovation, not complacency and here are four practices that should never be included in the IT freeze.
* Backing up the database. A company’s data is in constant flux. New data is added, old data becomes obsolete and discerning the two requires the most up-to-date record. IT departments should have a database backup plan—preferably one that includes at least daily backups—and use the fourth quarter to review not only the plan itself but where that data is being stored to see if changes are needed to start 2018.
* Execute the maintenance plan. Even if the fourth quarter proves too busy and too risky for new implementations, regular maintenance should never be ignored. Indexes need to be maintained and fragments in the database should be identified and corrected. This is also the perfect time to review database checkpoints on a daily or weekly basis.
* Size up the infrastructure. Many companies hire additional staff during the fourth quarter to meet the increased demand of the holiday rush. But as new employees are added, has IT made the proper infrastructure updates to respond? This is the perfect time to review current infrastructure against staffing needs and change/plan accordingly.
* Apply the patches. Cyber-criminals don’t abstain during the IT freeze—they may even get more active. This means the regular patch and security updates followed the rest of the year are even more important during the holiday season. Quarterly patches should be up to date now to ensure the season finishes breach free.
Professional help at any time
Shifting from frozen to active status during the holiday season is more than just a shift in process, it’s a shift in mindset and many companies are understandably hesitant about making the change. They needn’t be.
Calabrio offers a professional services team that can help companies transform their current technology process in a way that preserves their security and remains on-time and under budget. It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored.
The IT freeze may slow things down for the IT department, but this is a great chance to review plans for the coming year. One of those changes might be migrating your contact center to the cloud. Check out our white paper, Stepping Up to the Secure Cloud to learn more.