Times are very tough right now and the state of the economy has not been the most cheerful in a while. As you are contemplating how to keep your business afloat, a lot of offers are going to be coming at you fast, all promising to save you money and send you to I.T. nirvana. Backup a minute and take time to ask yourself these few questions:
1. Do you know what you have? Do you know your hardware and software? If the answer is no, maybe or not sure, start the documentation process now. You should know your network devices, operating systems and software programs.
2. Who’s Who? If you are already using a service provider, do you know who does what, where, when and how? Call them up and ask for a contact list of the following: telephone, data access, security, web site and email. While you are at it, ask them for copies of all your current service agreements, as well as a clear understanding of what level of service they provide—for example, how long should it take for a response after you call.
3. How’s your backup doing? Data back-ups are among the most critical tasks your technology team should be performing. Do you know the network is backed-up and how often? What hardware and software are used? Is there back-up verification and how often? Where are the back-ups stored and who can retrieve back-ups? If you have laptops, are they included? What are the plans for data restore in case there is a failure? When was the system last tested?
4. Do you know the location of the passwords of your employees, as well as those for hardware and software? Who has access to the passwords and is a record of the passwords. Do you have the San Francisco bug where only one person has access to all your passwords?
5. Are you aware of the state and location of your configuration and installation disks for both software and hardware? If not, they need to be collected, indexed and stored in one area. You also need to have the product license keys and purchase information (date and place of purchase, price paid etc.) for
every copy of software that’s running on your network.
To be continued.