The Check

What a glorious spring weekend! One of my passions is flying small airplanes, little 2 and 4 seaters and this weekend had some perfect flying weather. I had donated a flight with me as a raffle prize, for one of our customer’s Christmas prizes. This weekend was the day it was happening. Little did I know that the plane we were flying had an issue that could have caused the engine to fail. That would have ruined a perfect weekend.

After doing the general greetings and safety brief we headed out to the plane and got strapped in and started. A quick call to air traffic control and we were taxing towards the runway ready to do my final pre-flight checks. One of those checks is the mags. The mags also known as magnetos, are small generators that produce the power to create a spark at the spark plug. As with most things in a plane there are 2 of them and they are designed so if one fails the plane can continue to land safely.

I powered up the plane to three quarter power, brakes were holding and flipped the switch to right mags. All was good. Then I switched to left only mags and the engine …. Well lets just say it coughed and spluttered like a smoker with a chest infection. 

Fortunately I know a little trick, you increase power for a minute and then try again, this time both left and right mags were completely fine. Another minute at idle and another power check and all was good. The issue was that one or more of the spark plugs on the left of the engine was fouled and by running the engine at power for a minute allowed it to burn off.

What would have happened if I hadn’t spotted this, well potentially if the right side of the engine had developed an issue during take-off, there is a high probability we would have been crash landing in the golf course at the end of the runway.

Business Checks

I was reflecting on this last night and how it relates to business. The plane seemed to be working fine but one small check alerted me to a potential issue which I was able to resolve before getting airborne. Yet I see businesses every day that don’t check on vital stats in their business.

As a Managed Service Provider I get to see everyday how businesses fail to put basic checks in place. I have no issue with companies doing their own IT but it does surprise me how many businesses set themselves up for disaster by trying to save a few pounds. Here are just a few of the regular disasters I have been asked to help with as a result of “Do IT Yourself” IT without basic checks.

  • Server failure with backups that were not working for months – nobody was checking them.
  • Computers failing with essential files lost, nobody checked that staff were saving to the right place.
  • Email accounts hacked because staff had not turned on MFA.
  • Ransomware attack due to a router that had not been updated for years.
  • Ports left open on a phone system allowing hackers easy access.
  • Infections from computers not patched weekly.

Of course my experience is related to IT but other checks are needed for the entire business. I know I have failed to do some basic checks which in hindsight would have saved a lot of pain. The most painful was not keeping an eye on cashflow forecasts – wow, I don’t want that sort of stress again so now I check it every week.

What checks do you use?

It would be great to hear about your experience of “basic checks” that prevent disaster in business. Please share your top three by sending us an email, and maybe we can do a feature with you in a future newsletter to explore how business owners can get better at averting disaster.

Additional Resources

If you want some thought provoking material around disaster planning take a look at our website article on disaster planning which will get you started on planning for the worst case scenario in business.

How can I get help

A good IT support company will be able to assist you with planning for a disaster.  If you would like us to check through your IT disaster planning document we have engineers available.


What next?

If your business would like to talk about planning for disasters or secure data storage then fill out our contact form, phone us or click on the appointment button below and lets start a conversation to see if we are able to help you and your business.

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