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IT Elves


Imagine if Santa Claus had IT Elves. They could take care of the list of children who have been naughty or nice. The gift database would be under their control. The Elf Nerds (Yes, we know what you call us!) could program an algorithm laying out Santa's flight path on Christmas Eve.

I am surprised we didn't think of this before. Santa must be using some pretty powerful technology. Otherwise, nice children would get coal in their stockings, and naughty kids would be hitting the gift jackpot. Santa must have a laptop or a program called Onsleigh to guide him through the night. His Onsleigh program probably offers collision alerts, navigation, and maybe wifi so the elves can watch a movie between stops.

An operation the size of Santa's can afford full-time IT Elves, but many small businesses cannot. Responsibility for business technology falls on the business owner's shoulders. We are in charge of backups and updates. Business owners determine if their technology is up to date.

We recently updated our NAS (Network Attached Storage). The software, drives, and equipment were all long in the tooth. During the update process, I realized one of the drives was not functioning. Luckily, the drive was a backup of one of the other drives. We also have redundant backups for our network. The failed drive still bothered me because I did not know about the failure until we updated the network. Our network synchronizes one set of drives to another. The synchronization software did not notify us of the drive failure.

The software allows for notifications and emails to announce the failure of a task. I did not think both were necessary; I see now that I was wrong. We have email notifications set up for our daily backups to external drives, and it works very well to let us know if a backup fails. I will make sure we use both from now on.

After closer inspection, it should not have been a surprise that one of our drives failed. The drive was nine years old. There is no one to blame for that but me. Luckily, we did not lose any data.

The new NAS (built by our friend Tim at BT Computers) is working smoothly. We set up email notifications and redundant backups. I added an event on my calendar to remind me to check the drives and their contents.

Each business is responsible for their business technology. Small business owners pay the price for backup failures and faulty equipment. Downtime or loss of data can be devastating to a business. So, be your own IT Elf and stay on top of backups and equipment.

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