Richard talks to Steve Petryschuk, Network Management Expert and technology advocate at Auvik Networks, about their recent survey of IT professionals and the challenges they face in managing IT networks.
And they discuss why IT managers are spending more time being reactive instead of proactive, how automation can save time, the importance of documentation and why device configuration backups are an opportunity for MSPs.
Who are Auvik?
Auvik help SMBs manage network infrastructure, by providing visibility to what’s going on with connection, configuration and performance. And they help businesses to be proactive with managing and monitoring their systems.
They also provide support for when IT managers within a company have to react to a problem by helping them accelerate time to resolution and reduce the MTTR (mean time to repair) when troubleshooting network issues.
What is the Auvik Network Field Report?
The report, conducted in 2015 and again in 2020 (published in 2021), involves surveying 350 IT professionals, including network managers and administrators and IT specialists, across North America.
Respondents were asked to describe their day-to-day work, the state of their networks, how they spend most of their time and which tasks they do and don’t enjoy doing.
If you’d like to compare the latest report with the 2015 edition, you can find it here.
The Main IT Networks Takeaway from the Report
Steve explains that the main issue they found was a disconnect in how confident IT professionals are in their network’s ability to deliver service to their end users, and the average IT professional’s knowledge of that network.
Technicians know they can solve a problem, but don’t know much about what’s actually going in the network, and Steve says it’s a blind spot professionals need to be aware of.
One reason for this may be that the network operates smoothly and techs haven’t had to fix any problems – they feel confident that all is well with they system.
However, they don’t know how things are connected and configured, and they lack the tools to help them when users DO have an issue.
Why it’s Better to be Proactive Rather than Reactive
Survey respondents said that 58% of their time was spent on reactive rather than proactive tasks, a surprisingly high figure. Steve says that once an IT professional gets into a reactive state it’s hard to get away from it. They need to pause, reset and decide to be proactive instead, although that’s not always easy.
And to get there, Steve says, “We need to understand a little bit about the tasks that we’re doing that are causing us to be reactive, where we’re spending our time and are we spending our time most efficiently?” Then, they need to look at outsourcing the reactive tasks.
How Automation Reduces Reactive Tasks so You can Manage Your IT Networks
To move from being reactive to being proactive, IT managers need to embrace automation – Steve gives the example of documentation. As tasks such as inventory, mapping and configuration management are manual tasks, it’s better to automate them.
The survey also found that technicians spent a lot of time on tasks that they don’t enjoy, and many were reactive tasks such as documentation or dealing with the same user issues over and over again. So the key, Steve says, is better network monitoring, and better product management.
Why Device Configuration Backups for SMBs are an Opportunity for MSPs
Because network device configuration is often an afterthought for SMBs, they don’t have the time to spend focusing on it. As most SMBs have a firewall and a switch, your MSP should manage and back these up. So by taking over this task, you can demonstrate how they can reduce risk for a minimal cost.
It’s important that the business understands that the more time that goes by without backing up, the more data they’ll lose. So, MSPs need to ask them what is an acceptable risk – more often than not, it’s very low.
They can then introduce an automated backup solution to their clients that can be run as often as they like for a set price per month. And this also allows internal IT managers to focus on proactive, more enjoyable tasks.
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