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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Preparing for IT Emergencies

You can ready yourself for IT emergencies by having checklists, online resources, telephone support lines and tool kits on-hand at all times.

When IT emergencies strike, start by comparing your abilities to the client’s basic needs. What kind of hardware, operating system and applications are involved, and what aspects of the business is the problem affecting? If you don’t weigh the situation before you arrive on-site, you may find out you are in over your head.


You need to make sure you are capable of either fixing the situation or creating a workaround before you arrive on the scene. If the client in the midst of an IT emergency has a major problem with Linux and you don’t have experience with Linux, you don’t want to use it as a learning experience for yourself. However, if you are prepared, a serious problem that is crippling the company can be a great opportunity to build a new long-term client relationship. That being said, you should not charge emergency fees to a client if you see the potential long-term possibilities, rather give them a rate that will encourage on-going non-emergency business in the future.


When you’re dealing with a new client, you might run into a strange hub, switch, router or something else you don’t recognize. If this odd item will cost you more to learn how to fix than simply replacing it with a recognizable device, you should encourage the customer to replace it. Your customer will be happier with the overall service if you provide faster service because you are working within your comfort zone. Plus, by adding items that are familiar to you, you are preparing the client to work better with you in the future.

Working with those in the midst of IT emergencies thus becomes the same as working with regular on-going clients. By streamlining the type of server, backup software program, anti-virus solution, etc., you are providing better service and do not have to keep track of a variety of upgrades, renewals and replacements for many different types of systems, procedures and products.

If you manage IT emergencies well and prioritize them with a systematic list and consistent procedures, your clients will be open to your recommendations and more likely to hire you in the future or use your services as on-going support.

Added By: Joshua Feinberg