We have talked on many occasions about the negative results of companies on this platform that are simply not doing their due diligence to ensure their business systems stay current and modern.
“Why Should I Change Anything When Everything is Working Just Fine?”
I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I have heard someone on the IBM i platform make that comment. For a long time, I struggled to find the right response to that statement that would educate rather than insult. It became clear to me that trying to convince someone with that mindset was not an effective use of my time unless I could come up with a question or comment that would completely make them stop and think otherwise.
Typically, that question or comment included the words “economic risk to the business.” With security concerns in today’s world that are keeping business owners up at night, that phrase is becoming more resounding.
The cons of not keeping your systems current are outweighing any pros of maintaining the status quo. The biggest negative being the costs involved in fixing a problem that could have been avoided with proper planning and upkeep of your systems.
The goal of this article is to provide you with a solid, workable list of best practices for annual/biennial planned system maintenance.
Hardware & Software Maintenance
No brainer. Keep it current unless you want to deal with not getting support when you need it most or if you want to pay more than what it would have cost to just pay the annual maintenance fee. It more than pays for itself when you can get the assistance you need when you need it.
Firmware is invisible to the user which can allow firmware hacks to go undetected before anyone notices any wrongdoing. Compromised firmware can lead to more serious attacks involving the OS, user passwords, releasing ransomware, etc. Companies sometimes put firmware updates on the back burner because they can be disruptive and require downtime. Wouldn’t you rather plan the downtime on your own schedule rather than have your system go down unexpectedly by an unfriendly outside source? According to Gartner, “By 2022, 70% of organizations without a firmware upgrade plan will suffer a breach due to firmware vulnerability.”
The further back you are, the more time and money it will take to get current. Outdated PTFs and OS put your system at risk. They are made available to keep your system working effectively. Incompatibility issues can arise when trying to update firmware, and software applications, or use modern features in new hardware if your OS and/or PTFs are not current.
System Performance & Security Reviews
Either you will be thrilled and proud to share the results of these types of assessments with management, scared, or flat-out shell shocked. The reality is that if you are ignoring the upkeep of your system, it is just a matter of time before your system is compromised costing your business millions of dollars in lost revenue. Trust me when I say, we have seen compromised systems. Since the beginning of 2021, we have helped 20 plus companies recover from security breaches. We have also seen companies doing a respectable job of keeping on top of things.
If you have not yet implemented an HA/DR plan, what are you waiting for? The answer is a system failure that may take a while to get back up and not without major consequences to the business.
In our business, we see the value of spending a little to achieve a lot in terms of peace of mind and confidence in the system running your business. We see firsthand the cost of time and money when simple maintenance is overlooked or simply ignored. Find the time and budget for keeping your systems in tip-top shape and have a DR/HA plan to recover if something bad should happen.
Additional Considerations in Saving Money in the Long Run.
This can be a whole other article, but I want to briefly touch upon the idea that you may very well be spending more money on maintaining old systems when updating them would be more cost-effective in the long term. Examples: VTL vs. Physical Tape, external storage vs. internal storage, NVMe instead of spinning disks to name a few. Recent technologies also offer more security for your data. Be sure to visit the iTech content library and use our filter to learn more about these modern technologies and their advantages.
Make the time to figure out the Benefit-Cost Ratio when discussing the maintenance and the future growth of your IBM i. Do not say “there is still time” or “maybe next time” because there is inevitably the concept of “It’s too late.”
Interested in learning more about keeping your environment current?
Take a look at the on-demand webinar below.
More from this month:
- Reimagining Your IBM i Backup Strategy With External Storage
- Deploying Access Client Solutions Centrally with Java Included
- How Do We Fix The Great IBM i Resource Shortage?
- iTech iTip Videos
- Webinar: The Value of Staying Current
- Sips & Tricks: Coffee with iTech
- iBasics: IBM i Education for the Beginner System Administrator
- Let iTech Take You Out to the Ballgame ⚾
- Upcoming Events
- iTech Spotlight
- IBM i, FSP, and HMC release levels and PTFs (June 2022)