Top tips for harmonious IT in 2017


With many people able to combine a few days of annual leave with public holidays to create an extended break, many staff still need be available online and others will want to unofficially check their emails remotely during the Christmas break.


The challenge is, many businesses operate with much lower levels of staff meaning that there are fewer people around to react to any IT issues within the business. There are still nearly one million people working on December 25th, so this represents a massive disparity compared to normal service levels.

Mike Bainbridge, Chief Digital Technologist, Rackspace UK, comments: “Christmas is seen by many as a time to down tools, but, before they do this, businesses need to minimise the risk of anything technical going wrong. Making preparations now will mean that those taking a break will be able to do so – and those who do have to work can without unnecessary interruptions.

“This isn’t just important for businesses whose own workers will be logging on. Those providing online services to customers should also make sure these have been fully tested and ready to go – and that users are confident that they know what to do if things do go wrong.”

To help businesses protect their cloud services over the festive period, Rackspace advises that the following steps are taken: 

Performance Testing

In preparing for 2017, you need to know where your website actually stands in terms of traffic, and you need to do it properly. If you have them, use analytics from big traffic days such as Black Friday. The key to success is to map accurate user journeys and conversion rates in your load tests. Human think times also play a big part in this kind of testing, which, again, can have an order-of-magnitude effect on the concurrency figures produced. So use this time wisely in order to understand your system.

Protect Yourself

Downtime can be extremely costly to businesses – not just in terms of loss of sales or traffic, but the huge reputational damage. It is important to start the year cleanly and make sure that you are poised for increased traffic volumes and amounts of data. Checking web load capacity and finding out how a site is performing throughout the technology stack is important. Looking at the scare stories from the previous year in terms of business downtime is not good enough, you must take steps to ensure you are not next. Similarly, now is also the time to check protections from cyber breaches.

 IT Housekeeping

This can be a good time of year to get all those niggling pieces of IT administration out of the way. This may include the checking of systems, migrating to a new email service or completing a disaster recovery test. While some businesses will be much quieter this shouldn’t be an excuse to pick up tasks that should have been done continually throughout the year, such as backing up.

New Year’s Resolutions 

If this Christmas time, you are once again reflecting on regrets about the year gone by, then aim to really make the change in 2017. Planning for the year ahead might include utilising the cloud to make sure business continuity is guaranteed and that staff who are working in a more flexible office culture are able to work from home, or remotely anywhere they work.