MERIT Solutions Blog

MERIT Solutions has been serving the Chesapeake area since 1982, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Getting to the Root Cause of an IT Issue Means Seeing the Big Picture

Getting to the Root Cause of an IT Issue Means Seeing the Big Picture

When your business experiences an IT outage, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A typical response (after expressing frustration) is, “How long until operations resume?” An answer to this question isn’t always obvious, which leads to another question, “Why did my system go down in the first place?” Being able to quickly and accurately ascertain what’s behind an IT outage is a responsibility that every business should have handled, yet implementing such a procedure is often overlooked until it’s too late.

The benefit of being able to quickly diagnose IT problems is obvious; the problem will get addressed and resolved in a timely manner, and a solution to the issue can be found that will help prevent any future IT outages. In the world of IT support, getting to the bottom of an issue is known as performing a root cause analysis (RCA). Such an analysis begins by asking basic troubleshooting questions, which usually begins by looking directly at the performance of the technology in use. Although, as IT networks expand to become more complex and businesses grow to have more managers making IT-related decisions, a company’s RCA approach will naturally become that much more complicated.

Consider what it takes to perform an RCA for a small enterprise having one server and a few workstations, compared to a medium-sized enterprise taking advantage of advanced technologies like virtualization and cloud computing in addition to a robust in-house IT network. In the latter example, getting to the root of a problem involves looking at more systems and questioning more parties. Therefore, getting an accurate RCA from more complex IT systems requires a higher degree of expertise from the IT technician overseeing the troubleshooting process.

This is also where a case can be made about why it’s important to involve IT in matters where executives are making IT-related decisions. This is due to the fact that root causes of an IT outage often go beyond equipment malfunctioning and extend to poor policies being put in place by management. If the root cause of an IT outage is a poor policy, then any good IT technician will be able to spot this and inform management accordingly.

For example, let’s take a look at a hardware replacement policy. Any good IT technician understands that hardware doesn’t last forever. It must be replaced periodically to prevent catastrophic failures that can lead to data loss. Before an inevitable hardware failure, most solutions--like servers, workstations, and networking components--will start to show signs of wear and tear. Unless these solutions are being monitored properly by an IT department, these signs could fly under the radar and eventually result in much more damage than if they were addressed properly.

A good IT technician will be able to identify and resolve issues on your network before they become major problems. This type of proactive maintenance is something that is often neglected, especially amongst smaller organizations that have limited budgets and no internal IT department. In cases like this, it’s beneficial to outsource this responsibility to a trusted managed service provider like MERIT Solutions. We can monitor your network to ensure that any issues are addressed before they cause major problems, like downtime, hardware failure, and data loss. To learn more about how managed IT can help your business succeed, reach out to us at (757) 420-5150. your social media marketing partner


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