If you have only one IT technician, that person holds the keys to your company’s “technological kingdom.”
But sooner or later, he or she will retire or leave for another position. If you haven’t planned for that day, you could find yourself paying a computer services company up to five figures to get a handle on your internal technological operations.
Managing your company’s IT needs when your technician quits can be one of the biggest challenges a business faces. We’ve got five steps you can implement today that will help you prepare for a planned or unplanned change of tech staff.
Understand Your Company’s IT Culture
Trying to decipher your business’s IT landscape only after a key staff member leaves is challenging and guaranteed to halt productivity.
Putting a little effort into educating yourself and other management team members on the tech that’s most important to your employees will prevent you from scrambling to see the big picture clearly.
Knowing the basics of your IT operational processes, such as where the bills are sent and who manages your voice and fax services, is a good place to start. Here’s a short list of key questions you should ask your IT technician to document today:
Phones: How is our phone system, voice service, and fax managed?
Internet: Who are our service providers? What’s our IP address? What are our firewalls? Which software do we run on our devices? Where do we store and backup data? How do we access the management portal?
Contracts: Which vendors do we contract with? What are the details of our warranties? Where are these important documents stored?
Costs: How are we managing and tracking maintenance costs, software and licensing renewals, and accounts used for payments?
Email: Where is our email server located? Is it owned or leased? What costs and services are associated with our email?
With this information in hand, you can manage the transition more smoothly.
Document Access to IT Systems
Access to all of the systems and accounts for managing your company’s technology is generally maintained by your IT technician. It’s important to not only have these logins readily available in the event that the employee resigns, but also that you know how to login yourself.
Sit down with your IT technician and have them show you how to access key accounts, such as your company’s website. Ask them to maintain records of all the information related to managing the various accounts your company holds to manage its IT.
Store Key Information Securely
All of this documentation would be useless if it were lost in a power surge that zapped unsecured data.
Storing a backup is easy. Here are a few ways you can secure the account login information and other legacy information needed to properly manage your IT:
- Store the information on an encrypted thumb drive that’s kept in a company safe.
- If you use Dropbox, store information in a folder only you and the IT manager can access.
- At the bare minimum, store a printed copy of the information in a safe or file cabinet.
Create Physical and Logical Diagrams of Company Technology
Along with the administrative details for accessing your technology, you’ll want to have your technician create physical and logical diagrams of how your hardware components connect and communicate.
A physical diagram should show how the hardware components plug into one another. For example, physical documentation would show your modem is plugged into your firewall on LAN port one, plugged into a switch on port 47, and so forth.
This kind of descriptive detail should be documented for your phones, printers, wireless components, security system, and any other technology-based systems you use. Make sure he or she includes information about switch connections and fiber directions. Ideally, you’d have a physical diagram for each office you have.
A logical diagram shows more of a bird’s eye view of the company’s technology. If you have three offices, each one will be represented on the diagram. And at each office, the type of technology used will be represented.
Information about the computers, servers, software, phone systems, and services for each location is shown. If an enterprise-level problem occurs, troubleshooting begins with this diagram. It’s a fast, systemic method for locating the source of hiccups that occur in the network.
Keep an Accurate Inventory of IT Assets
Make sure you know what technological components your company has by keeping a record of pertinent information related to those assets.
Your IT technician can create a spreadsheet that lists all of the computers your business uses, as well as their serial numbers, operating systems, make, model, antivirus software, list of firewall settings, list of internet service providers, and other software used. You might also consider listing when upgrades and updates are anticipated for each computer.