Good for business?

Over the last few weeks i’d been to meetings with a company that i had dealings with at my previous company. Recently they have been increasingly frustrated and unhappy with the service they have been receiving and since i know some of the staff there personally they got in touch with me and asked if we would be interested in taking over the contract

So earlier this week i went to check out the current state of the network so that we dont get any nasty surprises when the paperwork gets signed.

Now normally when i do these sorts of visits there are one or two things i spot that makes me think “why are they doing that?” but i guess certain configuration and management techniques are a matter of opinion right?

Anyway i was having a quick look around the newest PC and was a little disturbed at what i saw.

First lets get establish a couple of things:

1) The client in question uses McAffee Virusscan 7.1 on the desktop

2) They employ “a.n other” company as their managed IT support company (lets call them ANO* from now on)

I was just checking to see if the anti-virus definitions were all up to date but couldn’t find the “blue shield” you expect to find for McAffee. All i could find was the familiar yellow of the Symantec anti-virus offering. Turns out when installing the pc ANO* just hadn’t bothered to install the anti-virus software the client uses. The symantec anti-virus was a 30 day trial version shipped with the new pc which actually runs out next week

Am i wrong for being really pissed at this?

ANO* are effectively their IT department so why have they installed a PC and just not bothered with the anti-virus? I can’t think of a valid reason for not doing it.

When we sell a PC we charge for the installation as i’m sure the other company. Installation means making sure it’s in full working order, placed on the domain, applications that are needed are installed and configured, printers installed, windows updates applied, etc etc.

If they are missing something so basic what else is wrong?

Quite a bit apparently.

The PC had it’s default out of the name box. You know those random letters and numbers that all OEM Windows end up with? Looks like this: XXX-cc4ab20404

Since this is an SBS (2000) network i’m betting it wasn’t joined to the domain using the setup wizards either. I know this isnt’ a major thing but it doesn’t look too professional

Highlights of some other things i found included:

None of the PCs or the server had up-to-date anti-virus definitions. Last update was sometime in September

The only laptop (taken on the road by sales staff) in the company had NO anti-virus software installed.

Two XP Pro machines didn’t have SP2 loaded

All PC’s in various states of Windows Updates. None of them were totally up-to-date

POP3 logged had been turned up to high so the event log was useless as every 15 minutes when the mail was collected it just filled the log

The RAID utility on the server had no e-mail alerting configured. How would anyone know if a drive fails?

Now maybe some of things are only minor in other peoples opinions? I think the anti-virus situation is far from minor but again my own opinion

It’s also my opinion that if this site was a department in a large organisation the person responsible for the IT would have been fired!

What annoys me is that they pay ANO* a lot of money each year to be their IT department. They had no idea about the issues until they were pointed out.

Now its good for my business if other companies aren’t doing their jobs properly as more work may be available but bad for everyone elses if they are wide open to a virus attack!

The sad thing is that companies dont always know if their suppliers are letting them down

* ANO is just a fictitious name standing for A.N Other

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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