By Wayne Scaggs
Do I get up after a knockout event? My first, second, and third answer is “yes.” Why? It’s because it is in me to find a way over, around, under, or through the issue.
For the purpose of this article, issue refers to your call center system, the beating heart of your business. The processors in your system clock millions of cycles per second, and the software sends the data you need through wires to the screen or printer to provide the information needed.
I do not know who discovered the following proven method of troubleshooting, but I will say that I have used it and it often works. One of the first places to start to look for issues in your system is to verify what is happening between the keyboard and the monitor. This should be approached delicately, because you do not want to disrupt the balance that exists. It can be a tremendous time-saver when this intricate part of your system is at its peak form.
Here are some of the mitigating approaches to data loss you may want to consider to protect and preserve your company’s most valued resource: the data on your servers. This information is based on our experience and research in creating both the hosted and cloud systems that protect and preserve our clients’ data.
Procedures you may want to have in place and verify their readiness include Windows updates, snapshots, planned failover, checkpoints, server replication, virtual servers, SQL transaction log shipping, backups, and spares. All procedures may not be applicable to all systems; use the procedures that work best for your business.
- Windows updates can be an issue. Sometimes they won’t let you shut off your computer or allow you go to work until the update is completely installed. Updates break things, and updates rearrange your comfortable setup that you worked so long to get the way you wanted. Something to remember about Windows updates is that they help keep your computers secure, and the longer the time between updates, the longer it takes to update your computer. More importantly, you cannot operate your business without computers and computers must be updated; it’s mandatory.
- Snapshots of your server are taken at an instance in time, which you can go back to in order to restore your computer to the time the snapshot was taken. You should use snapshots before a major update or component change-out. Snapshots are performed automatically, and there is a limit to the number of snapshots before they are overwritten.
- Planned failover is used when you want to use a different server for operations and replicate back to a server. This method keeps the operating server and the replicating server in sync.
- Checkpoint is a manually created mirror of your server used to retreat to a known working point of your server.
- Server replication is a scheduled event that replicates your server—both the operating system and all the programs.
- Virtual servers can operate multiple servers in one physical computer. The physical computer has enough resources (disk drive space, processing power, and memory) to accommodate servers that require fewer resources. A virtual server can be used to house your replicated server. If a failure occurs on your operating server and you have that operating server replicating to a virtual server, you can now bring your virtual server online and continue to operate your business while the failed server is being attended to.
- Transaction log shipping is a SQL server tool to reestablish your SQL database back to a point, determined by the frequency of the transaction log shipment. To make the transaction log work, you must have a separate and complete SQL server where you can ship the transaction logs.
- Backup options include online storage, flash drives, physical hard drives, and cloud storage. Performing multiple routine backups and maintaining off-site storage is mandatory.
- Spares could include virtual servers, disk drive raid arrays, network switches, backup Internet access, and backup online servers.
We live in a software-driven world, with software controlling the data of our businesses; we are required to protect and preserve that data. This article provides a view of a variety of systems from a higher level. Know what you have in place, and then choose to incorporate other options that add resilience to your call center.
Wayne Scaggs is the president of Alston Tascom, provider of call center database information and network telephony systems.