Understanding your own IT

Often, IT departments don’t have enough capacity to fully document their IT environments. This means that the loss of a key member of staff may also result in the loss of business-critical information.
 
If a business does not have comprehensive documentation, any response to a disruption would likely be slower and much more expensive.

An effective set of IT system documentation should include the following:

  • Network diagrams
  • Catalogue of all hardware – servers, network devices, printers and desktops, as well as any other end-user devices which have access to the company’s network
  • Catalogue of all physical and virtual servers. This needs to include operating systems and the status of patching
  • Catalogue of all software in use, including software which is managed and installed by the IT department, as well as any third-party cloud-based SaaS software
  • Documentation including patch management and software upgrade management
  • Details on network security, including software and hardware employed, as well as security practices
  • Business continuity plans to address potential hardware failures, natural disasters, network cyber-security attacks and loss of power

If any of the above information is not up to date and fully documented, you may want to consider engaging a specialist firm to undertake this for you. If your in-house IT team has not done this already, they are not likely to have any capacity to do a good job of this documentation.

Also, with an internal IT team, there is always a danger of people making assumptions that “everybody knows what they know”, and not documenting some processes.

Complete documentation of an IT environment will be extremely useful when key IT staff members leave. When new staff are employed, this documentation will reduce the amount of time that existing team members will need to spend training and passing knowledge on to the new staff member.
It will also, of course, significantly reduce the business risk emanating from an oversight of critical systems.

This documentation is a must-have if you envisage outsourcing any aspect of your IT systems.
 

Fill out the form below to discuss more with our team about our experience working with customers on documenting their environments

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