Would you be ready if your network admin quit?
Get yourself ready – it can happen to you.
Imagine it – your company is doing well, you are focused on that ‘next big deal’, and you come onsite monday morning to find that your stalwart network guru has just quit. And, what’s worse – that ‘documentation’ plan that he’s talked about for the past five years – still locked up inside his head.
It’s the sort of bad-dream that many small businesses are simply not prepared to handle – could you?
If you asked this question to most company office managers, they would probably answer ‘sure, we could handle it’ without giving the matter much thought. But, based on many years of experience, we would venture that the answer usually is ‘well, maybe’.
The single biggest obstacle to successfully navigating the departure of your ‘wears all technology hats’ computer support person is lack of up-to-date, or in many cases – anything at all – documentation.
Here is a checklist for you – make sure that you have all these bases covered, or you might find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having to pay thousands of dollars to get an expert in to evaluate your system, and do basic documentation that should have been performed regularly.
Do you have a ‘run-book’ or ‘network operations manual’?
There are many moving pieces to a company network – vendor licenses, login scripts, dynamic drive mapping, replication, group policies, security, firewall rules, router access lists, and a hundred other things that most office managers never heard of. Insist that your network admin documents what you have, and what everything does. And make sure that you have both a hard copy, and electronic copy of this documentation.
Do you have a print-out of all your software licenses and their date of expirations?
Too many times companies get caught short by not knowing what they have, how many licenses they own, what support contracts they’ve paid for – get a list, in advance.
Do you have a copy of all important system passwords?
Everything on your network has a password – routers, firewalls, ups management systems, switches, servers – get a list, and check it periodically for accuracy (keep the list safe! – an encrypted, password protected file or a copy in your company safe is a good idea – dont leave it in your unlocked drawer!)
Do you have offsite backups?
If your network admin has been taking the tapes home every night, you are in trouble if they are suddenly nowhere to be found (I’ve seen resignations by email or text messages!) and some critical piece of data has to be restored. Make sure you have a way to get at your offsite backups.
Do you know where all the disks and licenses are kept?
Too many IT folks keep disks at home – bad practice. Make sure you can get to them.
Do you have a consulting company you can call for support?
It’s always a good idea to make arrangements – ahead of time – for a well-respected network consulting firm to know what’s what on your company network. Even if you only use them for 1 week per year as coverage when your tech goes on vacation, the small investment can pay big dividends later on if you are suddenly faced with a tech who can’t be found.
Do you (or someone at your office) know how to shut-off access to your tech if you need to?
Not all break-ups with former network admins are pretty. Make sure you can lock him out if you have to.
If you find that you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, then you should begin making plans on cutting your exposure to this kind of all-too-common occurrence.
The LCO Group is a premier, high-end IT outsourced consulting firm in New York City, that offers a wide array of IT consulting services from desktop and network support to business continuity/disaster recovery planning and security/risk exposure assessment.