The New Year is about moving forward. It’s about making positive changes that will leave you in a better position that you ended the previous year. That should apply to IT as well. We should always be striving to improve our operations so, here are some IT New Year’s resolutions to consider…
1: System Updates
I’m always shocked at how many times I step into a new environment and find that they are waaaaay behind on updates. I understand the hesitation…I have had more than one server crash as a result of “Patch Tuesday” but those updates bring crucial security patches, bug fixes, and new features. So our suggested 1st New Year’s Resolution is to be sure you have all updates done and working on all servers and desktops. I recommend being a month behind and trolling the forums for issues that others have encountered applying the latest and greatest.
2: Malwareand AntiVirus Protection
Make sure all machines have the necessary malware/antivirus software. No matter how diligent you are, some user machines will slip through the radar. Hardening your servers is important; you must make sure that machines touched by end users do not get ignored. Otherwise, all that work you’ve done to protect your servers could be all for naught with a simple mouse click on an unprotected laptop…make your life a little easier by switching to a managed system; it’s easier than chasing after definition updates on 50 machines.
3: User Profiles
End users come and end users go but their profiles, accounts, and data remain. Sure, the data might be passed on to the next person in that position or their email may need to be maintained for Human Resources and their nefarious needs, it’s rare that logins need be saved. So clean house. Remove those users who are no longer with the company. Touch base with HR once a month for a current list of active staff. Have a document inplace that HR can use to terminate the IT foot print of a user. When there is data to be saved, move it to a centralized repository that can be accessed by those who need it.
4: Active directory Maintenance
When Active Directory is working properly, it’s a thing of beauty. When it starts acting up, well, life sucks. It is unlikely that a rogue AD profile will hurt anything, there’s no reason to play those odds. In the coming year, resolve to back up the AD server and clean up the Active Directory database. More on that task later.
5: QuickBooks Company files
Like Active Directory or any other database, QuickBooks can be either a boon or a curse. When the company file is clean and managed, QuickBooks works like a champ. When the company file is ragged or huge, the software will start to drag and even crash. With that in mind, the start of a new year is the perfect time to clean up that QuickBooks company file.
6: External hard drive Health check
Hardware fails. Period. All those external drives you have backing up your servers, data, and other information… they will fail. Resolve to get ahead of that power curve rather than trying to play catch up. Most external drives have a tool you can download to check the health of the hardware. Go to the manufacturer’s website and download a drive-specific tool for your testing purposes. Better to find a dying drive in time to extract the data and replace the hardware without loss.
7: Bare Metal Backups
If you aren’t already virtualized, get an image of every server. Hot spares are even better and best is virtual.
8: Update or Create Documentation
This is one of the first tasks to get pushed aside. Let me put it as succinctly as possible: If you have accurate documentation for your servers, systems, and procedures, your life will run infinitely smoother. Without it, you will have a tech quit and with them will quit all the information you need to properly manage one of those servers or clients. Take the time this year to update all documentation you have and create all that you don’t.
9: Software disks and manuals
Did you ever need to install a piece of software or build a new system… but you couldn’t find the install disks or licenses? This year is a good time to locate or replace all of it.
10: Total cleanup!
The server room, storage locations, tool kits… everything can fall into disarray. So, this year, resolve to get it cleaned up and keep it under control, It’s amazing what you can find under a pile of cat5 cable. An orderly office is an efficient office.
And, with this, I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. Need help keeping these resolutions, contact us, we can help.